MSRDC had a distinctive appearance to it , as if it was going through a metamorphosis. Tattered and tethered yet it belonged to all of us, from BDS 1st year students to all those who fitted into the office on the first floor. An integral part of the building was GANESHA, the canteen. The busiest joint in the whole campus,be it winters or springs. A joint that was primarily an adda( meeting place) for a hot cup of filter coffee, meduvada and flippant talks.
The peak hours were the breakfast and lunch times, when the pupils not only from the dental college but all sister colleges queued for the yummy dosas, variety rice and summer coolers! Every corner was so loud that one could barely hear what two closely seated mates were talking.
The Chai and rava dosas were speciality of the evening. The college monotony would end by four and then we fountained as though we were freed out of a prison to occupy the cramped up eating area and order a plate of rava dosa,coffee,Chai and sometimes the little coke bottles out of the red coca cola fridge- all was well within the budget. The beauty of Ganesha was a tremendous turnover and reasonable prices. Three years and I don’t remember a stomach upset that I could trace to the bubbling ,buzzing canteen.
Often the PGs sneaked out for some onion bhajis as their patients’ would delay their follow up visit and took a hot sip. Of course that was time to see a lot more😂😂.Whereas the juniors bunked there classes and gossiped about every thing else but dentistry. Flooded with white coats every now and then, and the Annas(chefs) working relentlessly with the hot frying oil and jumbo dosa tawa, was the Ganesha-the MSRDC canteen.
In a moment of Medical emergency like syncope or hypoglycaemia during the open flap surgery( like open heart surgery😛) we rushed to procure an extra sugar melon crush from the Ganesha . It was a life saving one too, not to miss it saved us from our hunger pangs in the tight lunch breaks,especially Gabbu’s( my orthodontics friend).
When we first joined as the first yearites we tried our best to abscond from the Ganesha after four in the evening. Our senior batches watched us like hawks and grabbed their prey once in a while to entertain them. Singing, dancing, proposing, offering to oneself to get hoaxed has been an era old way of breaking the ice in colleges in India.MSRDC seniors were little too nice to call it ragging ! This was a way to mix the shades and pick your pet. Unfortunately, I never got there. Perhaps I had an attitude problem always.
The trend passed on year after year but the coffee smelt the same.
Later,down the months it became my gang’s favourite morning catch up point. Two bikes would stop by in the parking , I would enter the entrance from the other side,a hi – five and then,”Chal DJ chai peete hai(DJ let us have a tea) .” The sun shined right up there and we four never missed a chance to belly laugh over that Chai !!
My favourite food was single idli vada and butter fruit juice, which was actually ‘an avocado milkshake’- one amazing and healthy combo to keep me going all day.
The Ganesha had an instant service and served more than just food. It served a few relaxed hours after messed up days, ganging up,probing in biographies , giggles and tears-all at the same time. A quarter of a dosa ,sizzling poories,chappati curry, curd vada, idli and chutney shared between all of us only made us grow fonder of each other and closer to each other. All of it bonded us and spiced up our lives!!