The year 1969..One of the most beautiful Universities of Tamizh Nadu peacefully located near a magnificient temple town .I joined engineering. I am Selvaraju alias Chinna Zamin (Younger Zamindar). I was also called Chinna Pannai (CP).Belonging to the Zamindar family on the banks of river Cauvery and 18 villages under us,of several thousand acres employing over 14000 farmers in the field during the peak harvest season.The only son,my father ,a benevolent dictator, ran the Zamin in a most effficient manner.A forward thinking man,wanted me to study so that I could incorporate the latest technology in the Zamin.
While I kept a low key profile never bringing in my background among my friends,slowly most of them started talking about the power we wielded in the district ,in a hush hush manner.Always a top ranker in the class ,Engineering fascinated me since my maths was exceptionally strong.A typical research person my professors used to comment !!In my fourth year,my friends forced me to contest an election for Mess Secretary post.Just no one contested against me and won it unanimously.
The location of the hostel was close to the railway station and bordering the campus and railway station was a no mans land,occupied by GYPSIES,popularly known as Nari Koravas .Generally nomadic in nature,they had set up tents and for reasons best known to them ,had settled down there for a few years now.The men folk carrying guns perhaps junks from First World war .Hunting around in the bushes for birds and small animals one could see them around our campus in their loin cloth and varieties of beads around their neck.Their language sounded totally alien to us.The women folk very good in making colourful bead malas used to sell them on the roads.
The hostel mess used to be one source of food for them and the left overs were generally distributed to them.
It was Hostel Day celebrations.There was competition between various hostels as to who did the function in the grandest fashion..no awards,only prestige at stake !!
One visit to my zamin ensured my fathers promise to under write the total expenses besides 100 sacks of rice,pulses etc etc,500 poultry,150 goats......This would have been sufficient just not for our hostel but several hostels put together.But I could never convince my father since he wanted his son to show his might !!
The hostel day went off with the pomp which perhaps the college had never seen ever.The food was so much in surplus and so we decided to call the representatives of the korava community and take the food .
Around 10 pm ,as the function and dinner came to a close,we opened the rear gate of the hostel mess to allow the Koravas to cart away the food.Some of them drunk were making so much noise and I got furious and went out to shout at them.As I came out,a group of 10 koravas I could spot and slightly away below the street lamp,there she was,breath takingly beautiful girl belonging to the korava group.Very tall as she was,with the head lowered,perhaps due to the behaviour of others in the group.As she gently lifted her head and locked her eyes with mine,I found myself mesmerised by the vulnerabilty of her looks,a divinity and an aloofness which made her look distinct and regal in her traditional clothes.I became numb and didnt know what took over me in the midst of the chaos there..BASANTHI,shouted one elder in the group and she rushed towards him...So she was BASANTHI,perhaps my Basanthi !!
PART 1 of 3