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Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.


Everybody has a favourite watering hole. With any job, comes a little spare money, wherein you can splurge once in a while on some good food, booze and whatever else that rocks your world. But it is that one ‘college’ watering hole which gives you that warm fuzzy feeling when you look back on your flirtations with Bacchus. No amount of hard cash, fine dining or extra-courteous service can give you the sheer idiotic thrill that you would get when you would juggle your princely pocket money rations, save and plan for days, just to get your paws on a glass of beer.

Back in RAIT, the universal refuge that we sought from the rigours of getting a Mumbai University degree in Navi Mumbai was a place called (sigh…) Satkar. To the untrained F.E. eye, it did not exactly look like a place you would die to go to (not to say blog about a good five years after graduation later). Nestled behind a petrol pump bang opposite the college gate, it was pretty much a jewel in the rough, and was usually unveiled by our seniors through either direct invites (to get ragged there of course) or when we would overhear them mooning non-stop about it. It looks every bit like a truck driver’s stop-over. (Appearances are oh not-so deceptive here, must admit. I for one really don’t know how far things have changed, and hope it still retains its shall we say… rustic charm)

We’d have to climb up 3 steps to enter its hallowed precincts, to be faced with roughly 5 tables and 10 benches, all formica topped with an inviting layer of grime. The Non-AC section would grin like a mangy, toothless old lady at you as it had a fantastic tendency to appear pitch dark even at noon. This was the spot frequented by some of the ‘Lab Assistant Sirs’, who would stop here now and then for a quick one.

On the other side of a glass panel and curtain laden door on your left on entering, was the AC section. Consisting of a solitary AC. After regally entering this pricier section, post a quick furtive recce inside to rule out any profs sitting inside, it would be a time for a bottle of Kingfisher, split across three people (or four on a bad day – An Old Monk quarter likewise…). A refreshing couple of glugs later, the magic of the place would take over when the ‘chakhna’ would start to appear. In unlimited quantities, refreshed every time the bowls of chakli, mixture, boiled chana, salted peanuts and papads would empty out. All this with the prices fixed wonderfully in deference to the lone AC. Which is why our Harbour Line Train pass and Engineering Payment Seat taxed pockets would cry out in sheer ecstasy at the mere mention of the name.

Speaking of the chakhna, the star special of this joint would be the ‘Soya Bean Manchurian’ thingie which would be dished out in generous (unlimited again) quantities, post 7 p.m. Was incentive enough to kill time post some really dreary practicals and go there just in time for this.

The freedom that this place provided was beautiful in the sense that the waiters and the manager would indulgently let us have our little ‘aalams’ (aka warbling sessions) right there in the AC section, provided there wasn’t anybody else who would mind. Time would just float by, till we’d all realize we were out of money as well as breath. (The only time we had our booze in relative silence was when we had a sten-gun toting, tough, athletic cop right on the next table, who was hell bent on enjoying his stuff, come what may. We sized him up and got a lot of subliminal messages…) Also, there was a small 14 inch TV nestled high up in a corner which would somehow make the crappiest of Rajesh Khanna/Dharmendra/Raj Babbar movies look and sound like the best thing we’d ever seen or heard. Curious really…

It was the first place we ran to…
  • after an all clear/first class to celebrate

  • after a KT to commiserate

  • after a bad day when the Lab Assistant would make you wait four blistering hours and not accept your journal work, asking you to come back the next day

  • get a little fortification before, during and after Aakarshan and Horizon (our college fests)

  • after a viva to gently nurse a thoughtful drink

  • anytime we really felt like it…

Add to that the hour to two hour commute which would take care of any alcohol-breath-and-mother issues. Leaning out of the train when it was passing over Vashi bridge with your mouth wide open or singing loudly in the bus back home with a great deal of camaraderie with the conductor and the co-passengers usually helped. The only time it failed was when we had Canon 10000. Was difficult to brush that fragrance out of my mouth even after three whole days…

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10:28 AM, April 26, 2006
Blogger Anand said...

Hehehehe :)
For a teetotaller who just accompanied the bevdas, the soya bean manchurian (more of the chilly chicken type preparation actually) was proper ambrosia. Not to miss, the chicken biryani either!    

12:15 PM, April 26, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You almost made me go back to college (mine) and do a dry-run and relive those days...    

6:29 PM, April 26, 2006
Blogger SEV said...

Ah well, Satkar was a pilgrimage. I was the guy who finished the chakna too, like Andy :) However though, I still remember one day when we decided to get ourselves a little food in the place.
'Saat half-plate curry rice'. Recommendation courtesy Guga, who was a gigantic fan.

We're still waiting :)    

1:46 PM, April 27, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one tapan,

brought back old memories of the glorious place Satkar :))    

12:08 AM, April 28, 2006
Blogger prash said...

I remember once when chetu san and i were smashed out of our brains and we met vinayak borkar and some other geek at satkar. We played sober and they played drunk. In the end no one could discern who was faffing and who wasnt. Guess it was the ambience!

3:22 AM, April 28, 2006
Blogger Lakshmi said...

Nice writing! My sister went to RAIT and so many of the names ring familiar...:-)
Will drop by more often now that I've marked this blog among my Favourites.


11:54 AM, May 06, 2006
Blogger Venkat Narayan said...

ha ha , man this is an awesome article. really well written as usual. satkar ki jai ho. should remake a sequel to Sarkar call it Satkar :)    

5:39 AM, June 05, 2006
Blogger Supremus said...

Beautiful writing - tranported me back to my college days immediately.

You are right - there is one such joint near every college; ours was called "Renuka", which had an open terrace too and in summer used to be a favorite place to umm... to celebrate, ruminate or just abt anything. And yes, they served the best peanut-masala I've tasted in life :)

Great stuff.


8:24 PM, June 05, 2006
Anonymous theLastjedi said...

'alcohol-breat-mother issues' lol
Suddenly all those 'breath purification techniques' came back to me hehe.
Great post. Made me nostalgic.


4:26 PM, June 09, 2006
Blogger GuNs said...

Hey there, bro !!

Came here on express recommendation by Suyog. Awesome writeup, I must say. Its weird how we always prove the 'grass is greener on the other side' philosophy in life. Only a year ago, I was waiting to get out of college and all the stress that builds up during exams and now its only a year I've been working and I hate it already. No freedom, a boss on your head, taking orders. Life suddenly seems shit just like it did in college. Now everything related to college seems better than it seemed back then.

Very nicely written. Do drop in on my blog when you get time too !!


12:02 PM, June 17, 2006
Blogger Tapan said...

Ab-so-lutely. :)

Thanx... but are you sure it was a 'dry' run? :)


Thank you too...

Vinayak Borkar @ Satkar? Nice.


How bout coming up with a script for that? ;)

Peanut-masala is one thing which is not that readily available here... brought back memories of the bars I've visited in Dharwad. Used to polish off plates together of that stuff...

Last Jedi,
Thanks man... those breath purification techniques can merit another post... :)

Thanks... and about the college-work place thing... just wait for some more time. Once a little cynicism creeps in, you'll suddenly find that the pain is a lot more bearable. I agree though, the first couple of years at work, are really hard. College is where you want to be. Badly.    

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