The nights are warm - I am being polite to the weather here without telling people how the weather is really treating me or calling it names! A night owl in the best of times, I twist and turn (jump, sit up and turn more appropriate) for quite a while. I turn on the air conditioner unwillingly - too much electricity and not exactly eco friendly - in the hope of getting some sleep. But sleep is a tough customer. Promise her the wrath of hell's fires, she won't come. Give her the luxury of chill air, she still will not come. I keep awake desperately trying to call out to Nidra Rani. It is almost 4 am. In that time, some images of college days come back. It starts from the words 'never say never' popping up in my mind. I think of getting up and hammering away on my keyboard before I forget what it was I wanted to write. So I run the topic a few more times in my mind before the said evasive Nidra whatever comes knocking at my eyelids. So here it is. I had written a long time ago, so long ago that the search function does not throw up the title in IL (or on Google). I had described there Many decades ago, when I was doing my Std. X, I wanted to appear for the NCERT Scholarship Examination. The application forms had to be submitted at a local college, not far from my house. I went straight from my school in school uniform to the college . Not surprisingly, I was the centre of unwanted attraction on the campus. I wished I could sink into the ground and vanish. It was so upsetting, I vowed I would never study in that college. I spent the next 7 years there. Coming to my memories of this college. Those were the days of very strict segregation between young people of a 'certain impressionable age' by gender. Our classes were clearly divided - one half for the girls, the other half for the boys. Of course, our's was a more conservative college compared to some of the well-renowned colleges in the city. Let us say it was a 'kakoo-bai' college. That was the term used to describe people of a very traditional, conservative mindset. Girls talking to boys or vice versa was not a very common thing - rather it was frowned upon. The general scene would be of the girl on one side of the corridor and the boy on the other, the width of the corridor separating them. The students named this the 'cool winds distance'. (The name of the college has been literally translated Those knowing Marathi may guess which college this was .... ). I was told by a neighbour who had gone to this college 20 years before me that in her days if a boy was seen talking to a girl, the peon would descend on them like a ton of bricks on a trolley with a stick in hand. Of course, the 'winds' of change swept through our college even during those 7 years and once we entered B.Sc to study Microbiology (which was a very coveted subject then and was only taught at this college), it was a much smaller group (compared to 120 or so in 'Junior' college) and fraternization was more accepted. One such pair has turned into a fairly high profile couple in the political arena today. Why did I come up with this topic? Search me? I have forgotten between last night and this morning. But I know I wanted to write about this. So I did. P.S. Oh yes, now I remember. In its own peculiar way my thoughts run into a knotty mess and I unraveled this one. I was remembering the days when I used to bike home after classes at around 8.30/9 pm and the roads were not very highly populated. Mom would always be anxious. One of my classmates lived near our house and he used to attend these classes too. We used to bike back together (purusha tonai ). Later on another classmate developed a crush on him and he was named pal-in-law. Even upto the time mom was aware of her surroundings, she would get hyper if I stayed out late. She would tell me 'kaalam kattu kaduku' (times are bad). I was wondering whether those times were bad or these. Now we travel alone late into the night in cabs. Then it would be scary coming back home on a bike late in the evenings. I don't think anything has changed except the population and technology, despite which there are no guarantees. Thoughts of late evenings on the road then and now, the 'purusha tonai', pals in law etc. brought back the 'cool winds' distance back to mind.