The evening times were more fun during our hostel days. As it started to get dark everyone came out of their room one after another, went downstairs to the nearby dhaba, popularly known as Honu/Manoj dhaba. Some of the popular evening snacks those days were Singara Bhujia; well, it’s nothing but mashed somosa shallow-fried with chopped onions, green chilies, egg and finally decorated with chopped coriander leaves. Some of the other popular snacks were Maggi, paratha-sabji, bun-omelet, boiled egg, single fry, double fry and a few more.
After the sumptuous snacks, guys used to buy cigarettes from Honu/Sahabuddin’s shop. Snacks, cigarettes and everything else was always on credit for most of us. After returning to the hostel guys usually used to relax at the staircase. Someone would light a cigarette and then immediately someone else would request "my first khep, okay", then another would say "my second khep", "third khep". Khep is an informal term which is frequently being used among the buddies from our place. Even though the term is applicable in different situations, the meaning is more or less the same. In this case you must have already understood that the burning cigarette should first go the guy who said "First khep" from the original hand, then it should pass to the second and then to the third khep guy. The booking was usually up to third khep, and after that someone would usually say "okay, my last khep". Last khep is actually interesting, it sounds more decent and also with the guarantee that you are going to have that last puff.
As I said the term khep can be used in some other situations as well. For example if a guy is trying on a girl, his friends wouldn't hesitate to comment "asshole is trying a khep".
Friends who try the khep thing pretty often are tagged as 'Kheparu'. We all have experienced Kheparu friends at some point of life. I remember we had some hostel buddies who were not regular smokers but were always the first ones to say "first khep" or a "last khep".
Those were the days when the joy of friendship simply blossomed around the campus. The long meaningless gossips, the cigarette sharing, the late night teas and what not? Wishing all my friends a very Happy Friendship Day.
Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.