What a transformation in 22 years. Both our college – REC Surat (Now NIT Surat) and the city has transformed beyond expectations. It feels like yesterday in 1992 when the final results came and we were all overjoyed to have completed our engineering degrees. There was always the fear of what would happen in FM6 – that was one terror of a paper but the good Dr Khajuria had ensured that there was a 100% pass – even if many did not deserve to pass.
The story of our college starts with the Icchanath (Shiva) temple at the main gate. The good lord has heard the fervent prayers of most students and ensured that the elusive 36 always happened and his aura kept the draconian ATKT’s away . The temple is still there but the “thela wala’s” selling Sugarcane Juice , Bread Pakoda and Pan are all gone. When I think of the Bread Pakoda shop I think of the dimunitive Nara and how he managed 4 years of snacks at that joint without paying a penny during the crowded breaks.
As you enter the college the admin department looks the same, faced by green lawns and lovely gardens. But you see an imposing building in the left. Thats the new girls hostel – a massive structure that has replaced the small building that could house 20 girls in the midst of the staff quarters. Lucky guys – the male female ratio’s seem to be getting corrected in college finally.
Not just the girls hostels – all the other hostels are also revamped. The old ones are abandoned or demolished. Picture below is of the old Hostel 2 Sarabhai Bhaban ( I Think) – now abandoned.
Hostel 1 is now a fancy building with lifts. Rooms are 2 seaters and it looks like a fancy apartment complex. This massive structure accommodates all of the old Hostel 1,2 & 3 and more.
Shanker’s canteen no longer exists and as you walk towards Gajjar Bhavan you see the new Gajjar Bhavan – another large impressive building that stretches all along the road
Walking down the road the Physical education centre is still the same and so is the medical centre. Gandhi Bhavan is also abandoned and a new hostel with A/C rooms has come in its place. Looks like a lot of MTech / Phd students – many with family in campus.
Our Mech department – No Change and the labs still are the same – not many additions on the infrastructure side. I see the list of professors and a few names like Professor H.B.Naik still continue to be there. The college has added new departments in Chemical engineering.
The canteen was empty but still serving Cutting Chai, Poha, Mitha Toast and Omlette. Inflation has caught on and the 50 Paisa cutting is now Rs 7/-. The library is still the same building. Right behind the Library is a new hostel complex coming up. It was wonderful seeing how the college has transformed. I even spotted some peacocks in the campus.
Surat as a city has also transformed. The stretch from College to Dumas which was empty with small restaurants dotting both sides of the road has changed. This stretch and the university road stretch is full of apartments and Malls. Its a broad 4 lane road that is being concretised.
The city is full of flyovers – Athwa Gates, Textite Market, Adajan – all have their own large ones. Trafiic is busy but organised. You can see the Modi infrastructure charm in effect. The river looks clean and was flowing strong and vibrant along Chowpatty.
All is vibrant and shining in Surat. The only challenge was the airport. Surat Airport sucks. Our Spice jet flight to Mumbai was delayed by 3 hrs. The airport had no electricity for 3 hrs (This when I thought Gujarat had no power cuts even in the villages), toilets were stinking. With just 2 – 3 flights a day and AAI running the show – the Airport is a sorry sight. The only disappointment from my 1 day trip.
Its always a nostalgic trip to visit your college after many years. And the 1 hr I spent between 8 – 9 AM in the midst of a rushed 1 day business trip was well worth it.