The above appears to me to be a rare picture of the Mini Canteen of REC NIT Calicut. The character of NIT Calicut is chiseled from this place and every single student more so the hostelites bear on their back like a insignia or trademark the general modification or change of temperament this place brings about.
The MC as it is fondly called has a history and its origins to a fued between the locals and he hostelites some where in 1977 boiling out of a dispute in Kettangal and the stand off lasting for several days and the management of REC deciding to curtail the movement of students into Kettangal by puttng up a canteen within the hostel vicinity itself and thence it came stood conquered and thrived.
This canteen used to open at 8:00 AM and extend into about 12:00 in the night with a steady inflow and ouflow of students. What is so unique about this place..its conical structure that resembles a monument from far made of thatched roof and a cement floor a specific portion of which is used by the staff who run this place in an orderly and efficient fashion with a high degree of commitment. The best part of the canteen is being there part of some cluster discussing some issue with high involvement and the time bring around 11:00 PM and the lights of the MC off and the only source of visibility being the moon light burning brightly through the trees that adore aplenty in a lush above
Our MC was not just another canteen it had a personality of its own and a character and contribution of its own and every student looked up to it with a combination of reverence and gratitude of some kind..and it was a pristine lighthouse for some one who felt lost in the hostel for some reason or the other only to be bolstered and emboldened by some idea or machination he receives from some quarter during a discussion with fellow friends or acquaintances over a cup of trea and the passing clouds of cigarette smoke. It invigorates, it propels..spells hope and inspiration all in one go and the one who felt forlorn not so long ago is enthused with a fresh bout of optimism towards a propitious ending. MC was a solace for every one ..a high ground..a think tank..a master mind and a inanimate friend in need with the power to fill life in any loosing hope. Our MC is an edifice worth being worshipped for the lethal education one receives from various sources both the well meaning and deceitful alike and I am sure there is no college anywhere in the world that houses a canteen which is much more to a student than just a place to sip a cup of tea or coffee at leisure. Education of a special kind happens here and it resembles in its height a lucullan party thrown by some Roman King resounding victory.
What does the MC look on a typical day. The time is around 8:00 PM and many have descended into its frontiers and in every nook and corner there are animated discussions of some kind ..and the discussins to some bystander are in a composite of the various languages of the country..Hindi ..Bengali..Assamese…name it and it is represented in our parliament and suddenly there is burst of laughter from some corner sending vociferous vibrations into the vicinity to be experienced to be believed and the euphoria it so created lasting for some time and the whole cycle being repeated time and again from various corners all through the hour. What a place..What a composition of people..What a discussion ranging from philosophy to politics to the most mundane…what a setting and what an involvement.
For more than a year I lived in the D hostel overlooking this magnificence and was entreated countless times into having a cup of tea by many and every single moment spent was educative and inspiring.
I hope the MC in the new location few yards yonder is a replica in every sense of its ancestor with the din. the laughter. the discussions… the parleys. the character and provides the same solace and concern for that weird student who suddenly lands up at its door for some reason of his own only to return with hope and favor as this relic if one would call has always done.