After writing about nostalgia yesterday, I became nostalgic about my life in IIT. Here is one of the stories from those days.
The summer of 1979 was very happening. First, we did the Mumbai Goa cycle trip, then I went to Nagpur for my Mama’s wedding. This was followed up by a gymnastics camp in IIT Gymkhana and finally, I did the basic mountaineering course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi. This story happened during the gymnastics camp.
IIT Mumbai had a gymnastics team. I had managed to get into the group that year. I was not a member of the team, but had shown enough promise that I was invited for the camp during summer. Milind Gokhale aka Mali, Nitin Anturkar aka Dadhi and Sudhir Bapat aka Chepat, were confirmed members of the team. They were accomplished gymnasts and I was only a newbie. But they always treated me as an equal. The camp was quite tough. We were staying in the hostels and practicing in the mornings and evenings.
During the camp, the monsoon started and it rained heavily. The rain just poured for a whole day. Next day morning, we went for practicing even as it was raining. There was huge amount of water logging in the gymkhana grounds. There were many locals moving around in the ground wading thru the water. I had no clue what they were doing, so asked Milind. Milind told me that they were catching fish!
Catching fish on the gymkhana grounds? I couldn’t believe my ears. How can there be fish on the ground? Where do they come from? I was full of questions and doubts. And Milind had all the answers.
The IIT campus is on the banks of Powai , a fresh water lake. It seems during the first rains, all fish start moving upstream through the water streams meeting the Powai lake. Some of them get trapped in the Gymkhana grounds and that’s what the guys were catching. Then he was suddenly very excited and asked me if I wanted to catch fish. He told me about another novel way of catching fish.
Near hostel 9, there was a stream that met Powai lake. The stream went under the road thru a culvert, similar to the one in the picture here. The pipe was about a foot above the stream level. If the fish had to go upstream from there, they had to jump up into the pipe and we could catch them when they jumped.
I was incredulous. I thought he was pulling my leg. But he dragged me to the culvert and we could really see that the fish were jumping into the pipe. The questions was, how do we catch them? Milind was quite ready with the answer. He came back with two umbrellas. We sat on the culvert with umbrellas upside down, very near the pipe. So some of the fish, who jumped too high fell into the inverted umbrella!
It must have been quite a scene to see two young guys sitting on the culvert in the pouring rain with there umbrellas not on there heads, but upside down, below them.
I would never forget that day.