The Nigerian Encounter

Some phenomenal teachers helped students grow and learn through their powerful lessons.
The Nigerian Encounter

Kamal Baruah


Some phenomenal teachers helped students grow and learn through their powerful lessons. As memory decays over time, students don’t recollect most of what their precise all about that they learned at classroom, but remember all those lifelong connections and memories with friends at hostel. This is another memoir of their amusing encounter with a Nigerian over the national capital during late 1990s. The DTC buses runs through the heart of Delhi in Red, Green, Blue and Orange colours, where No. 507 goes inside to JNU Campus. Now 507-A connects to HauzKhas Metro Station. Inside the campus, most of the students had depended on DTC those days. The beautiful campus was in full bloom and one can see the names of buildings, hostels, roads, and facilities on the campus are drawn from Indian heritage.

What makes students happy at India’s prestigious campus about its multi-disciplinary approach to education that allows a student from any background to choose another course of his/her choice, which made JNU unique in the country? The towering above all academic complexes, the JNU Central Library strive for excellence by opening up to 12 midnight and added a further boost by its Library Canteen. Students don’t go away without tasting a delicious tea and its tasty chicken curry, masala dosa and vada as most of the students used library as their study instead of their hostel room. Hostel food is nothing more than raw vegetables and dhabas come to their rescue.

Anything academic tends to holds its value. Piled up novels of Sunday Book Market at Daryaganj are a steal and nominal price of secondhand textbook and its photocopies at JNU campus helps afford education for many. All works and no play aren’t ideal. Despite all serious learning, students await for new academic session, where a thousand of students join every year with a few hundreds of international students too. It’s a huge complex of more than 6,000 residents from 25+ hostels that makes it another mini township – a new area being developed for educational purpose. The entire ambience is soothing and relaxing. The hillock at PSR makes a cool hangout option among students.

It was their rag day in the weekend with a fellow international student that brought some boisterous jokes. As his door knocked at odd hours for a ragging, the Nigerian looked perplexed, so he politely asked them to wait for a while and slammed the door shut straightway. A couple of minutes passed, but he didn’t turn up for their call. Raggers stood in the verandah looking dejected. But they remember the most hilarious account of seven feet tall African, it was like facing Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, who arrived with his traditional attire of loosely fitted shirt and long sleeves in distinctive bright colours and patterns; saying “Well I’m ready for ragging”.

With that entire dramatic outcome, the raggers finally forget what their intention to play rough jokes with him, preferring instead to remain friendly talks about his country and its people. The ceremonial outfit turned the rag-talk a cozy lived-in air but his English accent was pronounced flat and tendency for the stress in Nigerian English with it a hard “H” – as in “HO-tel”, so police came out as “FO-lice” and hamburger as “HAM-boga”. Nigerians don’t apply intonation when they speak English in their accent, there is a gap, and there is a vacuum. What do people of the world know about Nigerian people and culture, which made it so special for them? English was brought to Nigeria by British, traders and missionaries. Soon it blended with the local languages and turned into the Nigerian pidgin. Like other fellow citizens, football was his most loved sport.

Probably, the tall Nigerian didn’t realize their intention for another Intro-Play at JNU but he felt CAM-for-table (comfortable) with a few Northeast students at JNU Campus. He believed in his cultural pride and represented for his ethnic group Igbo tribes and thereby ragging thought to be as campus community gathering at India’s soil. He offered them some SAL-ad over the MAT-tress. It didn’t lead the ragging menace, but realized later, perhaps all raggers escaped from a bruising encounter with a huge Nigerian.

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