Last night I was sitting and thinking about the houses I’ve stayed in. Partly because it’s a new house I moved in and partly because of a mail from Kicha to the TechnoHut members with the thoughts of the good old days in Technohut.
My first house I don’t even remember. It was in Kottur, a small town near the famous Aliyar Dam. My parents moved to a village (officially called as Cyber Palayam in my friends circle) between Pollachi and Udumalpet when I was 8 months old. We stayed in a rented house for almost 10 years before my dad bought a house. The rented house is in a big compound. It had very good neighbors – Subramani mama, Lakshmi akka, Panju mama and others. The rent was Rs. 40/- (Yes, you read it right. It’s Rupees Forty only) our house was so big. The hall alone would be the size of a decent two bed room house in Chennai. We had a separate “room” for kitchen, which is situated away from the house, and then we had one store room and two bed rooms. My dad was using one of the bedrooms as a dark room. As a small boy, I’ll love to peep into the room. All lights would be turned off and a small red lamp will be on. Push the negative holder into the projector; keep the photo paper; focus the image and switch on the project; wait for a minute and then take the photo paper and keep into the solution. I would be waiting for this moment. Once the paper is in the solution, the image will slowly appear in the photo paper. 2 more minutes the image will completely appear in the paper. My dad will take it and hang it to dry. My dad has trained me with the rest of the work. Once it’s half-dried, I would take it out and put them on a shiny metal and use a roller to dry the rest. I’ll keep it in the sun light. The shiny metal would give it a glossy finish. Once it’s dried completely, I will correct the borders using a cutter and stack them in order. My dad would then take them and stick it in an album. My dad has promised me that once I grow up he will teach me how to use the camera and how to prepare the solutions in the dark room. Technology grew faster than me. Something called colour photographs were getting more popular and a laboratory was opened in Chennai for processing colour photographs. My dad bought a camera for taking colour photos. He would parcel the negatives and the DD to Chennai. After a week or 10 days they will parcel back the negatives and photographs. This pretty much affected me. People preferred colour photographs over black and white for occasions and black and white was restricted only for passport photos to stick in some forms. My dad’s promise of teaching me about the darkroom stuff and camera has gone in the wind. May be I’d have learnt photography quicker and better if he had taught me.
When I moved to 5th or 6th in school, my dad purchased a house. It was not so big as the rented one, although it was priced around Rs. 35k. It had only one bedroom, kitchen and a bathroom. The rest of the 10 cents was used for gardening. The darkroom was no more. When the time we moved into this house, a lab was opened in Asoka plaza, Coimbatore and they had one of their collection centers in Pollachi. If we give it today, they will take it to coimbatore in the evening, process it overnight and give it the next day. My dad has to push the photos in the album (no more sticking!) and the album will be delivered in one working day after the occasion. Now my interests turned into gardening. I tried creating a small farm in my house. From corn to bidder guard, I was planting and growing vegetables. No need to mention about flowers – I had from jasmine to table rose. I would use any small thing to grow plants. Even fused bulbs and egg shells were used to grow Table rose. This was till my +1. After that for +2 I moved to Udumalpet. Thats a small house – which compares to the size of the kitchen in my home. Was living there for a year. Then after +2, I was in my grandma’s house at Satyamangalam for an year. Nothing great to mention about these.
Then for 6 years, I lived in PSG hostels. Though they claim to be a ‘Home away from Home’ – I never felt that way. But it was really enjoying and learning lot of things both in academic and life. Before entering Bharathi Hostel in PSG CAS, I can’t speak English. Till then I was in a Tamil medium school and never had a need to speak. Now things were different. Classes were in English; neighbors in hostel speak in English; all of my friends speak English. I had no choice other than to start talking and writing in English. When I came out of PSG CAS, I changed, I learnt English more in these 3 years than the rest of the 12 years of my school life. Then PSG Tech. Though both colleges come under the same PSG umbrella, they were in different extreme. At CAS, you have the freedom to do anything you want. Walk out of the class if you don’t like it, you can kick a prof; slap the security guy, jump over the walls & peep into one of the gal’s hostel room at midnight to say ‘Happy Birthday’, and what not! Things were different in PSG Tech. Forget about kicking the prof; you can’t even raise your voice against the security. There are rules and they are meant to be followed. For at least first one month, it was so hard to get adjusted with the classrooms, where the lectures will there for one full hour. Eventually got used to it and found ways to overcome the rules by proxy attendance, chit passing in the class and copying the assignments & lab programs. Yeah! We broke the rule.
After PSG Tech, I moved to Bangalore. Hughes turned down their offer letter and few including me were left jobless. Few others still had valid offer letters but the joining date was kept on postponed. We decided to rent a house, stay there and find a job. Thanks to Sakthi, we didn’t have to search a house. As he was staying in Bangalore for his project, he searched and found a house for us. It was named as the “House of PSG”. (No nothing related to the college, its because the people who were paying the rent were me, Sakthi and Ganesh). I would try out my skills in cooking there. Morning breakfast would be simple – a bun and a cup (or two cups) of tea. For lunch, we would prefer buying at Mayuri Hotel. For Rs. 50/-, the parcel meal would serve for 3-4 guys. I also cook occasionally. Dinner is where I would take in charge completely. Will try out some kind of variety rice. Dosa and chappathi are also not so uncommon. Although it was the darkest days in our lifes, fun was always guarenteed. Its where we learnt how to face a real world problem with confidence and with a little bit of sense of humors. Whenever I had some free time (which means 24 hrs a day) and right mood, I would start writing some inspirational quote and draw a related picture in a chart paper and stick it in the wall. I bought a Guitar and started to go to guitar classes. Well before the walls were filled with posters and well before I started learning the basics of guitar, I got a job in Chennai. Infact most of us got jobs in Chennai. So a big full stop to the posters and guitar learning.
Chennai. Now TCS guys and Jaiku took onus and did the searching. I joined them a week after they moved into the house (This time it was tough to find a name for the house with the initials of its 6 members. So we named it as ‘TechnoHut’). As all of us have joined a week back, we had a little work, if not no work. So we would go early by 9 AM and come by 5 PM. After that we would play cards. On weekends we will be trying out different items for cooking. Santy would call his mom and get the recipe over the phone, while is he cooking. Viv would buy fruits everyday and cook chappathies. Although now Technohut is equipped with a 600 Watts Onkyo home theatre, in the original days all we had was a walkman with a pair of PC speakers. Las Ketchup, Kadhal Virus and another cassette with a collection of Golti songs were the only proud possessions. Whenever we hear “aserej” or “hey hey enna aachu unaku”, we would be reminded of those days. Now we all are geographically distributed across the globe. I’m in Bangalore, Kicha in UK, Santy & Jaiku in US, Ravi & Sree in Chennai, Golti in Japan, Harikiran in Hyderabad and Viv in Canada! Kicha heard the Las Ketchup song and sent the aforementioned mail with the sweet memories of those days.
Two years later, when the house owner raised the rent and 3 of the 6 members has gone onsite, we have to search for a new house. When Jaiku was surfing in his intranet, he found a “To Let” one. It in an apartment, very near to Velachery bus stand. The apartment had facilities like kids play area, wonderful gardening, 24 hrs water, good security, gym, etc, Jaiku was very interested in moving to the apartment. It was surprise that the description is about our own apartment, where we staying for the past 2 years. Poor Jaiku. He is so occupied with work that he has never thought about the facilities available in our apartment. So we shifted ‘TechnoHut’ two floors down in the same apartment. From here Jaiku, Kicha, Ravi and Viv (for the second time) went to onsite. I think this is the place where I’d consumed lots and lots of whisky and vodka. After all veggies left the house, here is where I learnt non-veg cooking. Poor Vens and Lekshmi. They were my fist victims. I was told that Lekshmi stopped eating non-veg after that. May be because she cudn’t find such a tasty chicken briyani anywhere else!
Then came the all-of-the-sudden-marriage. I need to search for a house to stay with her. Then TechnoHut had only three members – me, Ravi and Sree. Good to me, that Ravi’s bro shifted his house from Salem to Chennai that time and so Ravi would move there and Sree rented a new house as he is also getting married soon. So now also, I dont have to search for a house! The one where I was already staying is mine. A month later, its been decided to join a company in Bangalore. Leaving her in Chennai, I stayed in Sakthi’s house for 2 weeks and started searching for a house. The very first house I saw was a perfect fit for me. Its an independent house and the house owner stays in the ground floor. The house owner had lots of interest in gardening and the result is a small orchid around the house (maa, vazlai, nellikkai, sappotta, theaku, koyya etc). No need to say it had lot of flowers too (You can even find pepper too!) I’ve lot of interest in gardening so I liked the house very much. Above all, there is lot of space so my gal can bring her dog or get one here. All thru her life, she has been living in her farm house and she didn’t like the apartment life. This house would give her the same ambience. But Sakthi was not so interested in this house, as the last one km road is so bad. Commuting will be a problem. We tried to see other 2 houses scheduled that evening in the same area. But we cudn’t find one and the other one was locked. I didn’t continue my search. Two days later, I fixed the house and gave the token advance. (hmmmm, yet to name it. Someone suggest me a good name). After my description about the reachability of the house, she was little afraid. But she started liking it once she saw the house – I knew she would!. As Sakthi said “ivan intha veedu parthathu rendu reason ikku. onnu veetula oru naai valathalam, innonu velia irunthu entha naayum varathu” 🙂
Each one of the places where I’ve stayed taught me their own things. Now whats this new house is going to teach me? Lets see…