Testimonial By Satendara Singh Raghav - College Frnd

I joined ZHCOET in AMU Aligarh in mid-1977 in the electrical engineering branch and very soon became friends with Deepak – the brightest boy of the batch. Right from the entrance exam up to the final year, he would top the batch.
Very soon, we formed our own group of six – Deepak Sharma, Subodh Sharma, Kapil Goyal, and I myself, Satendra, Singh Raghav (from the electrical), and Alok Garg and Shailendra Varshney from the civil engineering branch. College time was fun. We were a bunch of studious as well as fun-loving students – skipping lectures right after attendance in subjects of less interest, and so on. The college canteen was our favorite haunt for teas and ‘dalmoth’ (fried chickpea snack). We even had our own call sign – a ‘T’ formed with two fingers.
We were always on the lookout for some occasion to enjoy a treat. Lakhan’s sweetmeat shop at Zakaria Market near the Medical College for ‘samosas’, and Jai Jawan restaurant at old chungi for its famous bread pakodas and sweet chutney. We were more interested in the chutney rather than the samosa.
College life was as much about fashion as about study. Bellbottom pants, over-the-lapel collars, printed designs, those were the rage those days.
Deepak lived in the Medical College Professors colony, as his father was a Reader in Physics Department at AMU. We five lived in the city about 7-8 kilometers away from his house. He had a big lawn in front of his house, and we often spent the evenings at his house playing badminton while his mother treated us to delicious snacks.
As a child, Deepak was very obedient and studious, but he was very discreet about his personal life, too. None of us knew about his matters of the heart despite spending five years of college life together until we received the wedding invitation from him. She was his next-door neighbor… and we didn’t know about it.
The bonds of friendship we formed remain strong as ever before, even more than 40 years later. He rose up the ranks, reaching the pinnacle of his Corporate career before transcending into the world of social service, ably supported by his wonderful life partner, Sunita – his lady from his college days.
After so many years, we aren’t just friends, but more of a close-knit family. A visit to his house is never complete without seeking the blessings of his mother with her ever-charming smile.

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