Knitting Memories of Lifetime
Promiti Prova Chowdhury
UIU cafe and its foodies. Photo Courtesy : Arif Sonnet
Coffee houser shei adda ta aaj ar nei, aaj aar nei - Manna De
(The golden days of the “coffee house” are long gone...)
These are the undying lyrics that takes one back to the golden days of campus life. The remembrance of campus life is never complete without the blissful memories instinctively related to the university cafeteria. Entering the United International University (UIU) Cafe, the first thing that comes to mind is this evergreen song of Manna De. However, the cafeteria has a lot more in store to meet up one's appetite alongside coffee!
The diverse cuisines at UIU cafe. Photo Courtesy : Arif Sonnet
“Singara and Samosa are the best items for take-aways, because they are light and cheap,” say Tusher and Sakib, students of eleventh and tenth semesters of UIU, respectively. “However, due to uninterrupted classes we have to stay for long hours on campus. For that, the most sold item is fried rice with vegetable or chicken fry or chicken chilli. Though the price is a bit high compared to other items, this is the best option for lunch,” adds Sakib.
The mouth watering chotpoti-phuchka counter.
Photo Courtesy : Arif Sonnet
The mamas are always busy, either serving students or cleaning the cafeteria. But the smiles on them are never absent. Continental Catering Service serves this cafe with diverse cuisines. Alongside fried rice are khichuri, tehari and noodles to fill the tummies during lunch hour. Hot dog, patties, burger,
pizza, sandwiches, vegetable rolls, fish cutlets, prawn toasts are the regular edibles but the mouth watering chotpoti-phuchka, kabab-roll and kathi kabab are hell of a catch! “We sell around 40 plates of chotpoti-phuchka every day. Cha and coffee are sold around 100 cups a day,” says Mohammad Abdur Rahim, the café accountant. The dessert line is complete with pudding, fruit cake, chocolate pastry and pithas.
But UIU cafe is way more than just a place to eat. “If someone drops something accidentally on the floor, like a plate or glass, everybody present in the cafe starts striking tables! It is just a way of having pure fun!” Pushpo, a seventh semester student states laughingly. Sayra, another student of the same term adds, “There are specific corners in this cafe, like, the dating corner, the studious corner and the faculty corner. There are 3-4 tables reserved for the faculty members only. Students rarely go there.” The latest addition of Polar ice-cream at the cafe is yet another edible, gratifying everyone.
The UIU Cafe is a station of merriment. Every now and then, students are seen playing the guitar or playing the tabla on tables and singing in a low volume. Sometimes debates, as part of some courses also take place in this cafe. Khaled and Jahangir, two final term students cherish their memories sitting in the cafe. They are almost done with their undergraduate studies and soon will leave this premise. “I remember, at the very beginning of our university life, when we used to sit in the study room most of the time. But after a few semesters, when we grew a circle of friends, the cafe became our second home. The teachers used to call us the 'canteen boys' whenever we were late for class, for we were engaged either in thrashing out some hot topic or finishing assignments here in this cafe. The cafe is always in a decorative look. Be it a get-together of a batch or an iftar party of a club, it takes place inside this 2100 square feet area. Students celebrating their birthdays is also another common scenario.”
Surrounded by glass windows, UIU cafe depicts a diverse aura of students -- some gazing at the busy street through the glass, some plunging into the World Wide Web through their laptops. It is a dreamland where hopes are born, dreams are nurtured, paths are woven and memories of a lifetime are knitted.