Over a cup of tea
Photo: Sandeep Saxena.
College life means canteen first... .Students at Ramjas College in Delhi.
LUNCH TIME in any college canteen is jam-packed. The venue may differ but not the sight.
Students jostling for space near the counter to place orders and then the rush to get their food to the tables at this peak period is an everyday picture. In every college canteen.
So reaching Ramjas College canteen after the day's lunchtime could be termed as a tad deliberate.
To catch the genuine canteen addicts. Those who frequent it not because they just need to eat but because they want the milieu. To chat away with mates over a cup of tea that often takes hours to get over.
Not taking seriously the annoyed look of the canteen manager for sitting there so long, paying him just Rs.2.
"The best part about being in the canteen at this time is that the waiter would take interest in you. At the peak time, he won't even look at us," says a student, Sahil, smiling sheepishly even as he and his friends are served at their table. "All because of that camera of yours, what a privilege," comments Joel, another student.
"They are all nice boys. If they eat on credit today, they will settle their accounts tomorrow. Boys in earlier days were perennially on credit," states Anthony, the canteen owner. For the last so many years, he has been doing what he is doing today, and more. "I also run the Hansraj College canteen now," he adds for your information.
Opening its shutters at around 9 a.m., it downs them at 5.30 p.m. "Still, we get students who want to be your last customer at 6 p.m.," comments Anthony.
Hailing from Kerala, and most of his helping hands too, his menu includes Southern favourites like dosa, idli, vada and uttapam. Samosa, noodles, paneer pakora, rajmah chawal, matar paneer are the other popular items he sells.
"But the juice counter gets girls all through the year, and boys only during summer," he adds, before ordering around his "boys" this time to wrap up things faster. Because tomorrow is another long day.
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY
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