I must be really grateful to social media for connecting us to various people who matter to us regardless of where we live. After almost ten long years, one of my old college friends Mr. Anis Alam finally managed to trace me out on Facebook and I was literarily replete with joy when his message popped out on my timeline two days back. When I was studying BA English at PSG College of Arts and Science (PSG CAS) in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu in India from 2002-2005, Anis was studying BSC Micro Biology and he was one year junior to me. He is from Manipur, North-East India and probably due to our similar skin colour and cultural difference with Tamilians, he soon became close with Bhutanese students and we began to interact more. Eventually he became my immediate neighbour in the hostel by the time I reached my final year and he became one of my best friends. So I was really delighted to receive a long message from him after such a long gap. His message has indeed taken me more than ten years back to relive the sweet memories we had together in Coimbatore. I have copied his message below.
Message from Anis
I am overwhelmed to have you again in my friends’ list. In this brief journey of life, I have made many friends, but one who touches the heart and remained indelible for many years, I don’t think anyone can overtake you.
I fondly remember those days in PSG CAS where you used to struggle a lot to get the study materials, scribes etc. Nevertheless, you were mentally strong to keep the things at bay. Those qualities in you had given the meaning of life to scores of students of PSG CAS and I was no different.
If I see myself today I feel very lucky to have a friend like you. I still remember you used to teach me English poems and communications on a wall which was supposed to be your typical whiteboard. While reading your book and dictating I crafted my snail-pace tongue and sharpened it in the process. I learnt to change my accent in various languages. As you know I was learning Nepali from you, Tamil and Malayalam from the rest. Wow, it is doing wonders, my dear friend. During my interview I was asked whether I could speak Nepali and Tamil, I obliged by speaking a sentence or two.
After you left the College, I advised, narrated your lovely and successful life and rendered my best effort to the local students to be an all-rounder.
I still cook EMA DASHI and my family members are very fond of the food. The smell reminds me of our dinner time where we used to hide all the utensils from the warden.. hahahhah… and your typical lovely sentence “DON’T HESITATE TO FEEL SHY”. Hahhahah….Fortunately one of the wardens of our hostel had food with us.
The NEVER SAY DIE ATTITUDE you showed in the college days really yielded fruit today as I am enjoying my job of Assistant Controller of Examinations which is a Group A post (Gazetted) and controls the whole examination systems of the University and the Colleges of Manipur. I feel privileged to serve and render my service through education to my state Manipur in particular and India in general.
Well Amrith, I always pray for your future and quite happy to see your kids grown up. Make them another Amrith I know… “pool of talents”.
Last but not the least, Kudos to Bhabhi Amrita for supporting and caring for my dear friend.
May God bless you.
Thank you so much for firstly tracking me on Facebook and secondly for dropping those special words on my wall. I am also equally delighted to meet you after such a long interval and your message has brought those beautiful memories we had created together in Coimbatore back to my head. I am still grateful to you for sparing your precious time in dictating textbooks, notes and handouts to me whenever you were free and also helping me write my exams a couple of times as a scribe.
Yes, the memories of how we used to cook in the hostel-room and hide the utensils from the wardens are still funny to cherish. I think you still remember how wardens would make rounds every time they smelled some curry but I was never caught because I would leave the rice-cooker and curry-cooker on inside the room, lock it from outside and stay in other friends’ rooms until they vanished. That was really funny. And of course, I can never forget your Ngari which you had told me was a special Manipuri delicacy. But the funny thing was I had to literarily fish out your Ngari from the pool of gravy you used to put. Haha.
In general, I know we had a great time during our college days in Coimbatore. The memories of how we used to go out in the evenings to Civil Aerodrome for shopping and eating roadside snacks have not yet faded from my brain. I hope you have not yet forgotten the funniest cycling experience we had while riding a bicycle to Civil Aerodrome without its brakes. Likewise, there are so many good memories we can cherish forever. I am very thankful to have met such a good friend like you in my life. I was very sad when you told me how your father was shot dead by a group of militants on 25th May 2009. I still remember meeting him when he had come to Coimbatore to fetch you home. But I hope those militants have now been brought to task for creating such a huge dent in your life. Nevertheless, I know you are a very strong person and that you would always focus on your positive energies. I am glad to learn that you have now married and blest with two beautiful kids. God bless you and your entire family in all the times to come!