The 7:20 am Falaknuma Express dropped me at Bhubaneswar Station by 2:30 pm on 31st May, Saturday. I had to stay there for a month, learning two softwares. My destination, CTTC, was supposedly close to Mincy’s college, KIIT. Its nearest landmark was something called ‘InfoCity’, I had found out from Google Maps.
Mincy had advised me to get an auto. None of the auto-drivers knew CTTC. But they knew KIIT. The place was quite far from the station, and they demanded a minimum of Rs. 150 (~$ 2.5) to take me there. Instead I headed towards the bus stop nearby, and asked around a bit. These people were really helpful. They knew InfoCity, and directed me to take a particular bus, which dropped me at Patia Square.
CTTC was 3-4 kilometers or so from Patia Square. As I was looking around with a huge luggage, an auto approached me. Thus I finally reached the gates of ‘Central Tool Room and Training Centre, Bhubaneswar‘.
CTTC had a pretty big campus, comprising of a Training Dept, a Production Dept and a few hostels. I was going to attend a month-long and another 15-day course in the Training Department. I had expected accommodation to be provided by them. However, my classmates who had already reached till then, had been staying as “Paying Guests” in local houses. Apparently, no more rooms were available in the CTTC hostels.
I walked up to the reception asking about accommodation, they forwarded me to the office, where they assigned me an official. That guy took me along outside the gate, made some call, and then disappeared on his bike, asking me to wait. After 20 minutes or so, I found a classmate walking by. After a little chatting, I found out about a possible place to live.
He took me to a house almost a mile outside the CTTC campus in some semi-rural area. I found 8-9 other college classmates crammed in two empty rooms, sitting on some bedsheets on the floor. A creepy landlady, probably keeping students for the first time, promised to get us some cots by night. The phone network was horrible. I wasn’t able to chat either. At first glimpse, living there was gonna be unbearable.
Around that time, our college results were out, as were Mincy’s. Brian had pulled a perfect 10-pointer, while I got a disastrous 7.82, and Mincy had bagged a decent 8.2 !!
In the evening, these people, my ‘to-be-roommates‘, planned to go out. I tagged along. While returning, we found a restaurant to have a minimal dinner. All the while we were walking, I was busy chatting with Mincy. It had been like radio silence with her ever since I landed in Bhubaneswar. She reassured me that things were gonna get better.
And she was right! The next day, the 1st of June, Sunday, things got great !!
David, my best friendin my department, was going to attend the same courses. (Basically, I pulled him into it 😉 ) And he finally arrived at CTTC !!
David had arrived a few days early to a nearby seaside city ‘Puri‘ with his parents.
On Sunday morning, he called me to ask how to get there from the railway station, and to ask the timings of the CTTC canteen. By noon, he had already reached, along with his parents.
While I was hurrying to meet them, I met a classmate Harry and his friend. They offered me to team up for renting a 4-person room. I refused, saying I’d call them if needed, and hurried towards CTTC. Harry had probably followed me suspecting something .
Anyway, once I met David, I told them about the alleged unavailability of hostel rooms. So David’s dad got the warden’s number from a security guard. The warden told us to occupy any space we could find in a ‘Hall-2’, since it was supposed to be empty. After a bit of searching, David’s dad found out a room with 3 empty beds. Other 2 guys were leaving the next day. The third guy was to stay for another 5 days.
Suddenly, Harry and his friend appeared out of thin air. Since we were from the same college, David’s dad went forward and suggested we live together. So, it was decided that the four of us would adjust in three beds for the night, and take our own beds the next day. I went back to that previous house, packed up and after almost losing my way, got back to the hostel.
The rooms were sufficiently large, well-lit, for 6 people, yet not congested at all. Each cot had a thick bedding and pillow. There was a small low-cost canteen just next to the hostel entrance, and the Training Department was a minute’s walk. Also, the rent was lesser than the previous one.
Finally, all was well. Nay, all was GREAT !!
The only thing that bugged me was the poor internet connection. I was unable to chat even then !! 😦