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Memories of V.O.Chidambaram College

I am a member of the V.O.Chidambaram College group in Orkut. I have not visited the group for sometime so decided to peep in last sunday to find out whats happening there. Nothing really has changed with regard to the number of members in the group. I am a member of this group in Orkut only for the reason that I would be able to find out some information on my long last college friends. Nothing of that sort happened but the latest discussion topic on the group is the following question:

"What you like the most about VOC (thats how it is popularly called)?"

It made me ponder for sometime what I really liked about the college. It is no doubt that I completely enjoyed my three years of studying (!!??) in VOC but looking back to find out what I liked the most was an interesting thing. I really enjoyed three things in the college, the ambience, student elections and the token strikes.

VOC College has a fantastic ambience. It was a college built in 1950's, so everything was well planned and spacious. The classrooms are big and the corridors wide. On top of it, you have the buildings built in colonial style with huge stones and number of trees to give the students the most important shade to chit-chat. It has a huge library, nestled between two blocks and completed shaded by trees. Library is one of the biggest and best in south Tamilnadu. It had all the books to read but only students were missing.

The most notable feature of the college is the annual student union elections. Student elections are like a festival with lot of preparation and tamasha. The college student elections in those three years I was in, was all closely fought elections. There were door to door canvassing, electioneering going from class to class and threats and counter-threats of kidnapping. Though I would have loved to contest these student elections, I have to work from the back-ground due to the obvious reason that my father worked in the same college. The results are usually declared from the first floor verandah of the Business Adminstration block and the students would gather below waiting for the results. I remember vividly the elections during my second year in the college because it led to some kind of tension among the students after the results were declared. The underdog won the election and the supporters of the losing candidates who have gathered in strength to celebrate the possible victory had a sudden shock of losing the election. I was standing among my friends, when one of the students(!?) suddenly took a sword which was 3 feet long from behind his back and started chasing the students. Students were shocked and panicked and ran helter skelter sensing more trouble in the offing. Police had to be called in and peace was restored after some 30 minutes.

The other thing which kept motivating me to go to college is the frequent token strikes. Token strikes are, for those who haven't heard about this, is a symbolic protest for a cause by abstaining from the classes. This is different from the mass-cuts. In VOC College, token strikes were usually resorted to whenever you have a good film released. There were hundreds of reasons to go for a token strike. It ranges from Cauvery water dispute, Srilankan tamil issue to speed-breakers on the road. It is the responsibility of the Students Union Chairman to conduct the token strike. It would happen like this. The classes for the day would start as usual and the Chairman and other office bearers would enter one of the classes and addresses the students explaining the reason for the strike of the day and ask for the fellow students to come out of the class protesting against the injustice. As the momentum increases when more and more students join the strike, the decibel levels were unbelievable. The good thing about VOC College Professors are that they never interfered or objected these kind of rightful exhibition of protest!! They stood as mute witnesses as the students whistle and shout, as they exit the class. The frenzy dies down after few minutes but if that has not been experienced, I guess college life is a waste. I have to write separately about one of the token strikes and how it landed many of us into a police lathicharge.

It had exotic courses (!!??) like Geology and Business Administration, very rare for a college in a non-metro town. Every college student loves to have the freedom to do whatever he wants and it was in plenty in VOC College. There were no strict supervision and control and the guys enjoyed college as it has to be. Long Live V.O.C!!!

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