Students and alumni of Kerala Law Academy Law College, all of who are part of a Facebook community, are coming out with a book of stories inspired by campus life
This story is based on real-life incidents. Resemblance to anyone living or dead is ‘not’ coincidental.
The disclaimer would perfectly fit the book Paippum Parippuvadayum Paranjathu…, a collection of stories, all narrating incidents that took place on the campus of the Kerala Law Academy Law College.
The page turner owes its first chapter to a Facebook page that brought together students of the Academy. The Facebook group, Kerala Law Academy Internet Community (https://www.facebook.com/groups/klaig/), churned up memories, old and new, that the students and alumni shared on the page. Life on the campus, spiced up with rib-tickling incidents, fun facts, interesting titbits and photographs have been collected in the book that will be officially released on October 12.
It was on February 16 this year that four former students of the college – Aravind V., Digith Nair, Chitralal M.R. and Vipin Kumar started the page. Within six months, the membership crossed 1,800, with many people logging in from the United States, Canada, Australia and West Asia.
Vipin and Aravind studied the five-year course at the Academy, while the other two were students of the three-year course. Yet, they remained thick friends during their college days and after that too.
“When we had a get-together of my batch (1998) on February 10, it was Dijith and Chitralal who helped me with the arrangements. But I couldn’t make them part of the programme because they belonged to a separate batch. That upset me. So, within a few days, we started a Facebook community, where we posted old photographs, some of them of our favourite hangouts. Comments just poured in, and some of them were just out of the world. It was actually those comments that shaped up as stories. In fact, very soon people started posting stories, supplemented with photographs. The tales, such literary gems, set us thinking about a book. Nostalgia and fun run as a common thread in many of the stories,” says Aravind, a freelance mediaperson.
The community is open to students, past and present, of the Academy. There are former students of the 1979 batch and present students as well. The tongue-in-cheek stories are original but the team came up with strict guidelines to ensure that that content steered clear of abuse and controversy.
“Some of the members started getting so candid and outspoken about their campus life that we had to lay down a set of rules. If a particular student is a character in a story, his/her permission had to be sought before the story is posted. The teachers have been spared, because, incidentally, some of the present teachers are alumni of the college and it wouldn’t look nice if we post something about that teacher. Moreover, the community is not a forum to spite anybody or to settle scores. And tales about the lovebirds on the campus had to be retold with many of the names changed. Thankfully, there has been no untoward incident so far!” Aravind laughs.
The book has nearly 70 stories written by 20 members, along with interesting anecdotes and notes on the campus.
An interesting segment is on the “icons” of the campus. “There was this sensational pipe scam involving a former Member of Parliament and the pipes that were bought during the period still lie on the campus. The pipes were the favourite spot for us to have discussions. Some of us even used to sleep on them,” says Chitralal, now a practising lawyer.
Krishnapillai and wife Gomathi who used to run a tea stall on the campus have been fondly remembered. “A tea used to cost Rs. 2, so too a parippuvada, which meant, one could afford to have many dates!” says Aravind. Some students used to call Pillai ‘Jesus Christ’ because they claimed that he could make 25 banana fritters (pazhamporis) from a single banana! The couple have been invited for the book release.
The college bus used for ferrying girl students, the ladies’ room, a coin box at the girls’ hostel where the girls waited for that ‘important call’, a culvert that was another hangout… all have made it to the book.
“The college bus was bought in auction from the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. The girls used to depend a lot on the bus. And, obviously, the boys waited for the bus to arrive and escort the girls to their classes!” says Aravind.
Digith, a lawyer and tax practitioner, adds: “The group is excited that the concept is unique. We know there are a lot of online forums where you can post stories. But it is not often that they come out with a book.”
Above all, the book reflects upon how campus life has changed. “When I look back at my college life, I find it much richer than what I see today. But, when a senior of mine talks about his campus life, he finds our period pretty boring. That difference comes through the stories. Changing lifestyle, mobile phones, political scenario, new hangouts… the forum discusses it all,” says Chitralal.
Paippum Parippuvadayum Paranjathu…, will be released at a function in the college on October 12. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Another highlight of the event is the switch-on ceremony of a documentary on the college to be made by the Facebook community. Apart from cultural programmes, ‘Bridging of minds’, an informal get-together involving students, past and present, will also be held.