Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fergusson College: Shivajinagar's Crown Jewel

The other day, as I was leaving College to go home, I was approached by a drunken Australian tourist at the main gate of my College who wanted me to point out any touristy attractions the area might posses. Although I was unable to help him out then, I later thought, wait a minute, there's plenty to see right here! One week later, with nothing better to do and just having read (and been unduly influenced by) this nifty book, I am proud to present, The Ultimate Guide to Fergusson College!

: Fergusson College (NAAC "A" accredited) was founded by a bunch of Pune's leading patriots, scholars and luminaries in the year 1885. Strangely, however, none of these patriots, scholars or luminaries were named Fergusson. They were named variously Tilak, Agarkar, Gokhale and Namjoshi. The man who was named Fergusson was a Scots Governor of Bombay and philanthrophist named Sir James Fergusson, who would have been one of Ayrshire's best loved sons but for the fact that he gave all his money to weird places such as Pune and Cuckaboora, Australia. The land on which the College stands was donated by a local landowner, Mr. Shirole, to the great costernation of his heirs, who have spent the last 120 years trying to get it back. In its long history the College has been home to such great Indians as VD Savarkar (the freedom fighter), Indira Gandhi (the ex-PM), PVN Rao (the guy who caused the Mood-I rock show to be cancelled) and ZA Bhutto (the guy whose inclusion in such lists regularly gets our principal attacked).

How to get there: As you walk down Fergusson College Road in Pune, you will see a great edifice to your left where a constant stream of students seems to be heading. That's the local Cafe Coffee Day. FC is the big set of buildings with a strike/dharna/protest/hunger strike in progress outside a little while down the road. Fergusson College can also be reached by walking across the Fergusson College Hill from the Wadarwadi slums, a fact which many of the residents of the said district take advantage of, adding colour to our strikes, cultural festivals and Valentine's Day protests.

Attractions: One of the major attractions of Fergusson College is the Main Building. Built at around the turn of the century (the last century), this remarkable edifice has sometimes been compared to a Roman monument, in that is old, decrepit and totally overrated. Also like those relics of Roman might, it is often ranscked by passing Vandals.

Another major attraction is the Kimaya. To date, no one has succeeded in adequately explaining the function of the Kimaya. It's shape is often used by malicious Graphics teachers to fail their least favourite students. In 2003, the Kimaya was given a completely uncalled for facelift, painted a weird shade of blue and covered with concrete appendages that looked like (appropriately enough) marijuana leaves.

The Fergusson College Canteenis another one of the college's draws, and is regularly visited by management students working on their second term project, "Marketing Opportunities Squandered". In 1994, this august establishment featured in the Jetlag travel guide to Pune. In 2003, it featured in Dr. Hans Blix's report on biological warfare. The speciality of the house is the Bun Wada, which, as the name suggests is a wada in a bun. On no account should it be eaten by anyone with heart conditions, diabetes, pregnant women or people over the age of 35. People who do not fall into these categories may safely eat here, though this may result in your medical insurance being cancelled.

Useful Facts:
  • To enter Fergusson College you are required to have a valid student I-card. This rule was, however last enforced in 1899 on the orders of plague commisioner Rand. He was assasinated soon after.
  • Visitors should not in any way be afraid to tour the college during the numerous strikes/agitations/dharnas: they are in no danger. Care should, however be taken to avoid trouble spots such as the Principal's office.
  • Although it is absolutely unnecessary to don gang-neutral colours, the careful visitor would do well to avoid political party symbols or colours.
  • Any wishing to see the famous Fergusson College Amphitheater should note that the building was recently condemned as "unsafe" by the Pune Municipal Corporation and "significantly lacking in acoustic quality" by the Society of Audio Engineers. The classrooms built next to this hallowed hall have, however been praised by the International Association of Nitrate Producers as "the richest source of guano in Southern Asia".
(Author's Note: This post was written on a lark. No offence is meant to anyone, apart from those responsible for the cancellation of the Mood-I Rock Show, so please adjust. This article was in no way endorsed by the management of Fergusson College. The author would also like to take this opportunity to express his deep disgust at the events of 15th February, which are partly responsible for his writing this post. )

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Since it seems to be College Fest Season, I wanted to write about the coolest College Fest name I have ever seen: Move over Mood-Indigo, Malhar, Techstasy and Oorja, her comes NICMAR's Techni-kallah!