Yesterday, I ventured out into the city after a two-day hibernation where I just stayed in my room and ate. Today, I had to see my old university and take a real look at the town. I walked along the tram lines and across the many bus shelters towards the Rusholme area of Manchester. This is where all the foreigners in the city especially the Pakistanis, Greek and Indian people have built a mini getup for themselves. The place is crowded with Halal meat restaurants, kebab and burger joints. I strolled through the old shops and then spent some time smoking shisha in one of the local joints. It was a slow and steady walk as I wanted to enjoy my surroundings. At times, I would stop near a shop and excitedly tell the passerbys that I was returning after 23 years to this area and that I had done my university education here. Then I walked into a local Chinese restaurant called Red Chillies. A Beef stew with fried rice along with soup was my order and I had a few of Shaan’s friends for lunch as well.

It was evening by now and the air had a bit of coolness in it. Rusholme was buzzing as everyone was out on the street. It was Saturday night after all. The food joints, especially the Afghan and Greek joints, saw some major action followed by the Indian curry joints which were all full up. I walked past the humdrum to enjoy a smoke in the nearby gardens as I stared at young university students queuing in front of the union building getting ready to go into a gig. I desperately wanted to locate a corner shop of my old friend Sandu in this area. It was his parents’ shop and I wanted to know how my old friend is. But I couldn’t get the right bearings and finally gave up in frustration.

But it was my old university that caught my special attention as I walked on its many lawns and alleyways. The huge gothic brown building still stands tall with a prominent sign saying Manchester University. Yes, I had arrived at my Mecca, the place which nurtured me for three years. I could now see it with my own eyes. On the way was also the Metropolitan University and The Royal Holloway College for Music. This was the heart of the university area with motels, bars and pubs especially catering to students. Lots of cheap student accommodations are available here with large lush green parks to give it that very cosy feel. Manchester is full of bicycle lanes as a lot of students use bicycles to move about in the city. I grabbed a milkshake and got a free doughnut from a local milkshake and burger joint. The sweet milkshake with Oreo did wonders for me as I was feeling thirsty.

My next stop was the Revolution Pub. It was a watering hole with music and jukebox playing in the background. Folks drank beer or whiskey and played pool. Some just chatted loudly and smoked. The chatting was loud and so was the music. It was 10:30 pm by now and I decided to grab a drink of beer. Yes, this was truly Manchester ki Galiyon Mein. Two glasses of beer and I was in a mellow mood as I slowly strolled away towards Richmond Park, a prominent students’ park, which I would frequent in my student days. The night had set in by then and the branches of long trees were giving the area a special gothic look.

But how could I end the day without a full-fledged Indian meal which I tucked into during my walk back to my hotel Picadelly. Keema nan roti and beer, that was enough to please me. A full meal in a good restaurant with a beer or two cost around 20 pounds in the UK. Keep that in mind when you order.

The night ended when I entered my hotel room 459. Shaan arrived soon with his girlfriend and I put the lights out. I was tired from the day’s excursion and soon fell asleep and Shaan coochie cooed with his babe all night. But then, that is another story. So watch this space…

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