So how the love used to take place in 2000s in C grade Engineering colleges? First thing first: Getting her phone no. was the most difficult thing. There was no WhatsApp that time, so no chat group named as “Mechanical Rockers of Krishna College” used to exist. That was the time when Nokia had those bulky phones and you used to go to a doctor to replace your thumbs every evening due to bone crushing SMS’. That was the time when grooming for the guys was taking bath and for girls: wearing lipstick. Guys used to flaunt their mustache and girls rarely tried to hide theirs. I am as God made me, was the motto of life. Guys used to gift deodorants to girls for their own good and girls used to…naah, girls never gave gifts in the history of womankind. Recharging someone’s mobile was a religious duty. Samosa was of 5 Rs. and so was Coke. So if everything goes well, 100 Rs a date was the usual thing. Girls were as dumb as guys and people used to search Kadhi Chawal in the menus of Pizza Hut. Dates were not about going to pubs; company gardens were good enough. Trees are awesome, they provide oxygen, shade, and privacy. Hey don’t be too imaginative, fleeting contacts of hands while showing the latest Santa Banta joke in mobile, was the achievement of the day. If you touched female skin today, you were supposed to die or something with joy.
11 PM was the most crucial time of the day, as after 11, night call charges used to be applied. 9 Rs for 1-hour on Airtel. Remember chota recharge ad of Irrfan Khan? Electric current was not as vulgarly available as nowadays. You got 15 hours of current today? Some minister must be visiting the town! So in a hot summer dark night, you nervously walk on the roof, with a 1 Kilogram phone on right ear, as hot as iron, and 120 species of mosquitoes and moths have a gang bang with you, but nothing matters; she is on the other end. When you used to fall in love, your first need was to search the guys who were from Aligarh or Jaunpur. These were the people who remembered some cheesy couplets filled with words like mohabbat, aashiqi, deewangi and mehboob. You used to bribe them with gutka and khaini, note down their sher-o-shayri and send that to your mehboob. That was the time when real efforts were put in affairs. When content was not available on random Facebook pages but had to be collected from some guys who were from Avdhi or Bhojpuri belt. That was the time when even guys used to fast during Navratri and girls used to do poncha (cleaning) at their homes. When affair used to be called chakkar and people used to express their feelings on late night radio FM shows, being broadcasted in 7 states, while their crushes fall asleep with open mouth, saliva dripping away.
Do you see the guys who help girls in assignments and practically work as their handyman, perfectly knowing that the girl won’t touch them even with a 10 feet long pole? Yeah, their elder siblings were just the same. For you, these people are nothing short of those ancient eunuch guards who used to protect the queens and princesses. You very well know that they can’t do anything, but they won’t let you do anything either. How can you exhibit the usefulness of your existence to the girl, if she already has 2 guys who would run to the photocopy room with open mouths and tongues hanging out? That was the time when you used to woo two girls at the same time. One: That beautiful, out of range princess of yours and second: Her ugly, Anganbadi worker looking kind of friend. That ugly friend was quite instrumental in passing on chits to your crush in class or helping you in buying gifts for her. Anyhow, a date was never a two people phenomena those days. She would come to the ice cream parlor, but with 2 more friends accompanying her. So when you admire her dress sheepishly, you had to tolerate 4 staring eyes and suppressed giggles over your cheesy lines.
I love you meant I want to love you. For some lucky ones, a jugaad of the room had to be established. Whole friends’ community used to contribute to this as if it was some altruistic religious ceremony. Everyone knew how rare this opportunity was, and yeah, everyone was interested in hearing the story after. That was the time when co-ed hostels existed only in New York and girls hostels were built at the distant corner of college, guarded by the Scotland Yard and FBI together. Girls’ hostel for guys was an imaginative, mythological, utopian, exotic, majestic island. Where the air smells of expensive perfumes, room floors are covered with soft cotton, walls are painted pink, cute teddy bears tell the bedtime stories, and the most beautiful girls in shorts, giggle and had pillow fights all the time. Every guy, every single guy wanted to see it from inside, just once. A heaven, where angels float. Most envied job in the world that time was that of the security guard of girls’ hostel. There were villains in the story too. There were some proactive fat lady wardens of girls’ hostel who used to collect the girl’s mobile phones at night. So that the society does not get polluted by the suspended love particles floating in the air. Each girl had to switch off and submit her phone in an envelope to the warden at night. Girls used to play tricks and put soaps, small bricks in place of phones. And if the warden checked and gave punishment for it, there was a way to take revenge. Each girl used to put an alarm on her cell phone of 1 AM, 1.15 AM, 3 AM etc. The alarm rings even if the phone is off, so if they don’t sleep thinking of their guys, so won’t the fat lady; bursting her head with 200 phones ringing late at night.
That was hairy, sweaty, smelly, ugly time. Bad haircuts, worse dressings, and pathetic tastes; still people used to fall in love with each other. Some love stories concluded as marriages and some caused heartbreaks. The majority was still of the one sided lovers, starers, followers, and gawkers. That was the time when a boyfriend had to be called “Bhai” on the phone when girls used to visit their hometowns in summers. That was the time when people used to stare at faces, not at screens. That was the time before selfies and Snapchat. Those were the days when people’s identities were not managed by social media. Things were simple; you were one person; ugly, beautiful, whatever. In those days girls were not divas and men were not metrosexual. People were made of bone and flesh, not of plastic and fiber optics. People in real were liked, not their images. A guy had to look into the eyes of a girl, stammer, sweat and express his feelings; emotions were expressed by choked throats and shaking hands, instead of technical applications and downloaded emoticons. That was the time when bodies were distant but hearts were close, affairs were few but bondings were strong and kisses were rare but feelings were real…