If you want to catch hold of NIFT students on a break, you have one hour to do so, between noon and 1 p.m., Monday to Friday. There's not much time before classes resume, so chances are, all of them will be on campus or, at the most, across the road, over at Subhash's stall.

The NIFT campus at Hauz Khas is a pretty one — cool corridors, brightly-painted canteen and amphitheatre (or ‘kund' as the students call it). The ‘kund' is obviously empty, the sun infusing it with the torturous blaze of a Roman coliseum at daytime. In the foyer, some students are putting finishing touches to projects they have to submit for ‘jury' appraisal. The amphitheatre isn't usually that sparse, we are informed, with cricket matches and ‘kavi sammelans' keeping it occupied on some evenings. That's also where the students have their fashion shows.

What's not to be

The one-hour break, which also means classes are taken seriously. “Since the break is short, even if students leave the campus, you'll find them on the other side of the road,” says Radhika with friends Palki and Aditi, while a colourful hand-painted umbrella does the rounds.

Alternatives

There's another unlikely place that comes up frequently during conversations with students. “Washrooms!” grins Neeji Bansal, a first year student of leather designing, out for lunch at the canteen with friends. “We sometimes also get breaks in-between classes,” says someone from the group. “Depends on the teacher,” drawls one more. The canteen, with its menu of dal-chawal and select Chinese, remains packed, with fried-rice Manchurian ranking higher than the rest. There's a Nescafe outlet too not far away.

Close by, a bunch of hassled-looking second-year Fashion Communication students — Ishani, Harleen and Richa — are hanging out in the foyer. “We eat and we sleep,” they say about their break-time activity. “We talk in the library too,” they say about other ways of catching up.

Students get together outside campus too. There's a Café Coffee Day outlet nearby and a Nirula's not too far off.

“We also hang out at Select CityWalk because we usually have assignments in malls,” say some.