|Stretchy Hall, AMU|
I firmly believe, you can travel to whole world, book the finest exotic resorts of hill stations to hone your writing skills, but the ambience, the aura, the verve and the gusto of an academic institute is matchless to any location to contemplate your thoughts deeply, considering cost benefit analysis.
I noticed his incessant glare at me as if he wanted to say something. I broke the ice and melted his loneliness into mine transforming our common solitude into a company. Inviting him, to have a cup of tea he conveyed salaam and his pronunciation of the salaam was almost perfect “I will have a Chai not tea” he said smilingly.
I wonder Chai and creativity particularly in this part of India is a unique combination tea is English and Chai is a culture I suppose.”Tea is just not my cup of tea “oh yes he can juggle the words and the conversation, will be interesting I thought. With a little pause he reluctantly brings out the piece of the paper which was pale and ugly but the piece written on it was beautiful as the writer was just a 19 years old lad of B.A (Psychology) in Aligarh Muslim University.
Bespectacled athletic built Bengali brought up in the Northern part of India and the lines which he wrote I vividly remember ‘green and saffron are just the colours of one rainbow’. “Bengali culture is always captivating and enchanting” I furthered the conversation. I belong to the city of joy my father got posted in Lucknow than to Noida. What brought you here in Aligarh Muslim University, I prodded him. “I always wanted to study in a different environment” was the answer. “I was apprehensive initially but then I read a lot about AMU and its culture I also read one of your answer written on Quora” he added. It was herculean task to convince my parents he expressed, while sipping his Chai.
Did you get the accommodation here I worriedly asked him. He nodded in affirmation - annex. Any friends? ‘Yes- Syed Asim Chishti’ he announced his friends name and the sparkle in his eyes - the friendship. “I am a footballer; I wake up early in the morning. I listen to Azaan and make sure that all my annex mates should wake up and offer Namaz”. During our conversation Asim also joined us and asked him kuch khayega (will you eat something). He replied “kadi chawal” but “please bring one plate dono ek mein kha lengey (we will eat in one plate)”.
I was in a hurry. I took their leave. He stood up with me lifting my bag with him. Khuda Hafiz he greeted, I reciprocated the same. While walking briskly, I smiled- the one was from City of Joy, the other from the city of Khawaja Saheb. The one was Chishti and the other was Chatterjee. The one was Brahmin and the other was Syed. I was amazed, pleasantly. Two spoons and one plate. It was not only therapeutic but spiritual.
Aligarh Muslim University is the hallmark for Ganga-Jamni Tehzeeb. For any vilification of this sanctimonious university on the basis of religion there will be infinite stories like this.
About the Author: Naved Ahmed is an Aligarh based writer and an alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University