I had the privilege of joining Jamia Millia Islamia this year, 2011. My dad had “motivated” me to take up social work as a career. It was a big step. I made many rounds to “my” Jamia prior to admissions in order to enquire about the course. I had so many questions to ask.
One fine day, during my enquiring sessions, my dad and I went to the old central library (reading room). As soon as we reached the library it started raining cats and dogs. And that was the day I fell in love; in love with Jamia. That day, it never crossed my mind that I would be spending the next three years of my life here. Jamia looks gorgeous during the rain. The lush green immense grounds and huge trees drenched in rain water look magnificently beautiful.
I joined the course, made friends, and heard professors deliver their lectures.
My daily experiences at Jamia tell me to live life more, and fully. While sitting at my favorite place, in the lawn, outside my department, I get this homely and secure feeling which Jamia gives me. There are so many magical moments which tell me to introspect and meditate a little that how I wish to see myself working after my years at Jamia, away from this place; will I be able to stay away from here?! ‘cause that’s the kind of a close bond I have made with my college in only initial four months and I don’t feel like moving away from this place. And how will Jamia look like after so many years, as in, will it remain the same or will there be changes when my batch mates and I will pass out from here. How I see shaping up myself, how will my college look after I’m gone.
Jamia University is actually not only a university; it’s a hub — a hub of various cultures, religions, practices, and prayers. The other day I was talking to one of my friends, and he said Jamia gives you a feeling of “home,” unlike other institutions, you are provided spare time to go for Namaaz and come back. It simply shows that not only its students stand up for Jamia but Jamia also stands up for its students.
Now to talk about the daily schedule; I guess daily cups of coffee from early 8:30 a.m. to late evening around 6 p.m. from the Central Canteen along with two or three shero-shayari, without which conversations seem tasteless, makes up for the initial stages of my college life, and many of my fellow Jamiaites. One cannot miss out on gorging Chicken Biryani from the engineering faculty. Gradually it’s becoming a status symbol of Jamia! I have literally started flaunting my college’s biryani in front of my family members and members from my circle who are non-Jamiaites. Then I heard about the Maggi-Point from seniors. The path from geography department to the Maggi-Point gives a feeling of passing through a jungle, and the feeling is psychedelic!
There are rounds at the reading room to sit and study peacefully, and to sit in an air-conditioned area for a while. The other day I was going to the Dr. Zakir Hussain Library, and on my way I had an encounter, a ferocious one. I saw a dog and then I saw a pup who was followed by his friends, three or four more puppies, tiny in size, and my friends and I ended up sitting and playing with that pup and his friends and giving them names. And now I see them once a fortnight.
Then there is the girls’ common room, which makes half the Jamia boys wonder how it looks from inside. And how can I forget my visit to the Sports Complex. My mouth opened wide in awe when I first saw the excellent gym of our college. The seemingly endless cricket ground made me look at it for approximately three minutes continuously. The complex is equipped with all the facilities required, though I still don’t know how to join it. It’s actually one of the issues I am facing as a fresher at Jamia, how can I join the Sports Complex? After my innumerable attempts to join it, I still have no clue. Then I had this feeling of ‘independence’ and a ‘sense of achievement’ when I got my DTC bus pass made from the DTC office at the Proctor’s office myself.
One can notice that a student has been offered with so many daily needs and opportunities within the premises of the campus, there is a DTC office, an ATM machine, a bank, a stationary shop alongside it, which also has a juice wala next to it, who sells amazing leechi juice for six bucks.
I can spend hours on the beautiful lawns just gazing at the vast endless blue sky above me. And this happens to me only at Jamia!
There is something, I don’t know what, which makes me feel pure, content and peaceful each morning, each single day I come to my university. There is something which tells me to open up and express myself openly without hesitation and put forward my opinions to everyone around. There is something which tells me how everything one does at Jamia is somehow larger than life!
I eagerly look forward to my very first sunny winters at — my Jamia.
[Tanya Bhatt (2014) is an undergraduate student in the Department of Social Works. She can be reached via email at: tanyabhatt1992[at]yahoo.co.in]