Three of us (Rishpal, Wadhwa and I) decided, during our post dinner walk, to see a movie at Ambala Cantonment. It was a Saturday night. The movie theatre happened to be about 50 kms from Patiala, where we were studying in Medical College. We were 20 years old. The movie was a Dilip Kumar starrer, called Azaad. Dilip was also known as the ‘tragedy king’, but in this film, he had played a comic role for the first time. During those times (1956), the students lived frugally, and it being the end of the month, we had all practically run through our monthly allowance. On our return to the Hostel, we pooled our resources, and could gather just enough for the movie and a cup of tea each. We decided to go on bicycles. However, none of us owned even a bicycle!!
We managed to borrow three bicycles and set our near midnight on our journey. It was a moonless, pitch dark night and the roads were not lit by lights. The setting was actually perfect for a horror film. The vehicular traffic was nearly non-existent at that time. We went by a feel of the road, and sped up in the light of any vehicle which came up from behind. Wadhwa went off the road and had to be rescued. It was our good luck that the bicycle tyres did not get punctured. We reached Ambala Cantt. in the early morning hours. We brushed our teeth with branches plucked off a Neem tree and had a wash in the canal water to make ourselves presentable. Rishpal’s sister’s husband was posted in the Cantt. We went to their home for breakfast, telling her that we were there for a Medical Conference.
The problem of lunch was taken of by my maternal Uncle, who was also posted there. Thereafter, we went to the movie theatre and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. We have enjoyed a cup of tea as much as we did that way. We began our return journey and reached back around mid-night. It was a 24 hour adventure, and we back in class on Monday morning. No wonder we never needed the gym or social media–we got both exercise and friendship for free.
Dr A S Rathee
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