Hyd Diaries: 2 - The Imperial Blue Days..

Life at 7D was always exciting. One of the inmates in the earlier days was a guy named 'Sulakshan', a guy born in Nigeria, brought up in London and then spat back to India when they got wind of his ways. Its funny how people choose names for their kids and how the kids live up to these names. 'Sulakshan' means 'one who is having ALL the good qualities' while a more suitable name for him would have been 'durlakshan', one with ALL the bad qualities. He did his graduation from some college in Coimbatore and had also acquired a Post Graduate Diploma in 'Hallucinogens', the harmless kinds which you directly inject into your body rather than wasting time by burning, rolling and the like.

Those days, Imperial Blue used to be the standard agent of intoxication at 7D.. affordable and available. We used to sit in the balcony, watching the planes land and take off, sipping IB from glasses made out of half-cut plastic bottles. We used to call them 'cut glasses', a name which the famous glass manufacturers also adopted later!! Sulakshan had some family issues and he used to get sentimental at the end of each of these drinking sessions. But a few times he got violent and even tried to jump off the fourth floor, that eventually we had to shift our sessions from the balcony to the safety of the rooms.

Irrespective of the occasion, IB used to be the preferred brand till we discovered 'White Mischief'. It was probably Sulakshan's departure that put an end to the IB era and I don't remember having IB any time after that. Somehow IB had become synonymous with Sulakshan, and his was an episode everyone wanted to forget as soon as he quit studies and went back home. I remember going with him to meet his regular supplier of 'Mother Jane' once. The supplier turned out to be another batch mate of ours, a guy who 'lived' in a small room above the second floor of his own house. He had 'Enigma' playing 'Age of Innocence' when we reached his room and he used to read Khalil Gibran's works and that's all I remember about the guy now. He also quit studies after a short period.

A true Harry 'Potter', Sulakshan had some interesting traits as well. He was a smooth talker and had a good sense of music. It was our common interests in Jim Reeves, Kenny Rogers and Eagles that made us friends. He was the only guy who would recite nursery rhymes with me during the boring Economics classes, sitting in the back bench. He even got first prize in Mono Act competition, where he enacted the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict. Just that nobody knew it was less of an act and more of real action. Speaking of Economics, it used to be the most dreaded subject for most of us at 7D.. this is what happens when a subject is poorly introduced to you as a student. Sulakshan had a special technique to do well in Economics exams.

He will get up early in the morning at about 2 or 3. He will then roll a few joints, enough numbers to keep him going till 8 or 9 in the morning. For the first time in that semester he will then open the Micro Economics text book and start reading. He would have already smartly prepared a list of 'most probable' questions and read those sections of the book. I am still not sure whether its the pot, or the guy's ability or a combination of the two, he could literally recite paragraphs after paragraphs from the text book. Theories of Marginal Utility and Demand-Supply used to flow out of the guy as if he is the reincarnation of Adam Smith himself. So if there are questions in the exam from topics he read that morning, he will answer them in exactly the same words used in the text book. He always managed to get reasonably good marks in the exams so as to keep the spotlight away from him. Did I tell you that he was smart? Yes he was... a lot.

When he quit studies and left after the first semester - allegedly to take care of an aunt who had the misfortune of a coconut falling on her head-, he took with him something to remember each of us - my HBS case books, some money from Arun, Srini's T Shirt, Ravi Bhayya's cap and so on...

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