Abinash Pani



Abinash Pani


The Dining Of Happiness

The Dining Of Happiness

4 mins

The plastic paint-coated walls of Room number 330 were giving me a chilling thrill. All accessories were placed in the right places. The cupboard had space for a Rugby match and the study table was waiting for some new excitements.

Sitting on the floppy mattress in that room and beholding the meandered foggy Eastern Ghat, one could easily make resemble the poetic scenes of Robert Frosts’ stopping by woods in snowy evening poetry.

The calmness of the second fortnights of July was only getting fragilized with the waft of cooling breeze and emotions were getting defrosted.

"Dinner ready man... waiting for you at the dining hall"

Madhu's words made me realise my presence in Central University's Boy's hostel's room number 330, not in a hill station hotel.

Yeah... coming... It was just evening 8:35 and a Cuttackia would never recognise it as dinner time.

Unfolding the entire body to go outside was a heavy task for me but what to do... mess will be closed at 9:30 and it's already 8:45. Coming out of the room, it feels like leaving an igloo. 10 meters far... Joy was there and was symbolically telling me to go downstairs.

Is it July or November? I asked Joy while stepping down to the ground floor. He smiled only.

Getting late man... you both are setting fire to my belly.

The line was thin and we got the plates.

What’s your mess card, the mess attendant asked Joy

It’s 51, joy said.


52 it is, Madhu said.

What’s your …. Dadhi wale, Baba?

It’s 53 Bhaina…

Ohhh ho….. these three new friends have consecutive mess card numbers.. great…

The cook was serving everyone’s plate. As it was the first day of the current academic year, the cauldron of rice or the huge bowl of dal was not there.

The cook served me rice, sambhar, a veggies fry, a mixed veggies curry, and two pieces of green chilly and salad. That’s all.

What man… what is this? Madhu exclaimed after seeing the dinner plate.

Chill…Chill… once the mess will run properly.. will get the good stuff, Joy consoled Madhu’s anger by handing him a bottle of Hyderabadi aachar. I like this person’s attitude… a genuine teacher-like spirit was in him.

We three sat at a four-seated dining table. The entire dining hall seemed like a restaurant as everyone had their base and own arena. No noise, no loud gossip.

This is what education makes … from a general human to a disciplined individual.

While Madhu was grasping the plate full of rice with the sambhar that he loves, Joy was busy discussing the aroma of Bengali cuisines with him. And on the other side, I have been enthralled by the taste of our cook’s special dish.

Hey Pandit… you never talk while eating or missing home food? Joy asked me.

I smiled. You eat this much chilly and you are saying.. you’re an Odia?...impossible…

Madhu… I cannot believe that this person belongs to the land which introduced the actual meaning of sweet, inventing Rasagolla.

We all laughed. Then I remained silent again… Don’t know why… but something was going around in my head after having every morsel of the mixed veggie.

Yes… the mess attendant had told me that if you are a vegetarian, you would definitely like our cook’s this mixed veggie curry. And here it was… having a hillside smoky aroma with the tadka of garlic, this dish was just black knight of the derby.

Bhaina… Au tike Pani Santula miliba ki… (Can I have some more of this curry…)… I asked and suddenly when I looked around… Joy was not there… Madhu was not in his seat. Where have they gone? In a fraction of seconds.. both vanished in the air.

I was sitting making my head down on a dining table in a stupefying condition and then a thin man came to me saying… Sir, your Pani Santula… some staffs of the canteen are on leave that’s why it took some time.

How is today’s dinner, Sir… you like this Pani santula? 

Yes… Mohan Bhai… for some time I forgot that I’m in your canteen not in my varsity’s hostel. 

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