Canteen Honours!

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spandanIs it just the revisiting of Nostalgia or perhaps reviewing sophistication! Students come and go but the edibles and the ambience remains the same for years. How far the modern renovations have modified the age old feeling! Joint Editor of Campus, Spandan Banerjee, tries to walk down memory lane and find an answer to the question.

Stepping in 2015, the college canteens are no more a dark room which is infested with smoke and the flavor of nicotine. It has come out of the shabbiness and made its way to the generation who makes sure that the selfies in the canteen are clicked with a perfect backdrop. It’s not so easy to find broken tables, which doubled as tabla, the rejuvenating ‘matir bhanrer cha’ after a boring class, ‘ghugni and pauruti, lanka diye’ and the ever uprising innovative slangs. College Canteens are now a happening place for quality time. An air of sophistication and an aura of fresh coated gloss that shines in the eyelids of bookworms grip the traditional canteens of the college-Universities. Flipping the pages of a Donne or a Marvell, a geek is sure to plunge into the stream of politeness mixed with the overflow of adrenalin at times.

It’s not so easy to find broken tables, which doubled as tabla, the rejuvenating ‘matir bhanrer cha’ after a boring class, ‘ghugni and pauruti, lanka diye’ and the ever uprising innovative slangs. College Canteens are now a happening place for quality time.

The spot is as symbolic as its location. Situated just opposite to the famous World View staircase in JU, Milan Da’s Canteen named ‘Alapan’ is a one-storied complex facing the Subarna Jayanti Bhavan in he Campus. Infact it will not be incorrect to say that, entire Jadavpur owes Milan Da for his, if not world famous, but definitely Kolkata famous ‘Dhops’. The fried edibles wrapped in Besan and covered with Love, ‘dhops’ are the favourite partners of evening tea which comes with slices of ginger or perhaps the ‘Neo-Colonised’ Iced Tea which also adds to the USP of the canteen. Jadavpur University may have countless canteens, but Milan Da’s one will forever remain the most celebrated of the lot. In essence, the true flavours of Jadavpur University find their way out of Milan Da’s kitchen. Lost in the cacophony and the intoxication of the twilight, the subtle romances in the half smudged kohl of the students get a new signature in the rising smoke from dhops after dhops in the evening. Not getting into the fat or the cholesterol content of the edibles and just by mere celebrating the taste buds of the generation, Milan Da’s ‘dhop’ remains as one of the famous snacks of the campalapanus which makes almost everyone in the campus salivate. The dhops come in both veg and non-veg delicacies. Hence, it serves to the traditional as well as the contemporaries of the Times. It would not be wrong to say that Milan Da’s ‘Alapan’could very well give any established snack bar a run for its money – and perhaps even win the bet.

Presidency University’s famous Promod Da’s canteen with signature ‘Sunmica’ tops on old wooden tables and a gleaming orange menu board and a glass partition dividing the students and canteen-owner is almost a look back in the past with renewed as well as reviewed sentiment. Few years ago, it would be difficult to find an inch of space at the Presidency canteen. Even the space behind Promod da’s counter was not spared. It could be the cafes and other choices outside; it could be the students. One reason behind adda losing ground is the preponderance of Cupid on campus, implying more self-absorbedness. Though prem was one of the ‘P’s that spelt Presidency College (politics, porashona and Promodda were the others), the accent on it is stronger. “There are more couples now. They prefer being with each other than mixing around,” says an ex student of Presidency.

The fried edibles wrapped in Besan and covered with Love, ‘dhops’ are the favourite partners of evening tea which comes with slices of ginger or perhaps the ‘Neo-Colonised’ Iced Tea which  adds to the USP of the JU canteen

Adda was never so popular at St. Xavier’s, at least in Arun da’s canteen. But the college has its green bench. “Though we are stopped from sitting on the green bench before 3 pm, we still do it,” says Stuti Agarwal, who prefers hanging out at the college. “But if we have free time, we go to watch movies at Forum or go to 22 Camac Street near by. There is also CCD (Cafe Coffee Day). For food we head out of colpresidencylege,” she adds.

To wrap up if we travel through the corridors of Calcutta University, we could only sense a particular joy and oneness that the students used to associate themselves in the famous Rakhal Da’s canteen. From chops to tea, Rakhal Da remained as one of the best buddies of the students in their post graduation phase of life. However, with the fleeting of time, Rakhal Da has passed away and the canteen is now being run by someone else. The students claim that even though the traditional taste is missed, the aura of the canteen is still very much present in the campus premise. Avijit Das, a student of the University says that they would prefer sipping the tea from Triveni Da’s tea stall just outside CU main gate rather than going all the way to their campus canteen. However, the concept of preference remains a relative concept, to some, the old traditional canteen of CU is still a super-hit ‘addar thek’.