The Broome Hall Sojourn....!
By Usama Irshad
We,the batch 17' arrived at KE amidst a lot of strifes,sit-ins and demonstrations over something called " Broom" by the media. It was that rainy evening of December 13th----our first evening as Kemcoloians----that the mystery of the so-called "Broom" finally dawned upon upon us with alarming clarity.
Dr. Broome(Professor of Anatomy&Pricipal,KEMC)
What had been "Broom",turned out to be "Broome",the fabaled "Broome Hall" with winding archways and endlessly long corridors more befitting to some rustic mansion.Built somewhere between 1917 and 27 and named after Lt.Col.H.H.Broome(Principal KEMC---1923-30),Broome Hall is a masterpiece of the colonial architecture. We stood and gaped at that mammoth structure,while words of the Hostel admins seemed to be floating around us,shattering any romantic illusions we might have about this architectural masterpiece....
Those Endless Corridors!
"VC's decision.....had been original cleared and renovated for male freshmen....has been reserved for female boarders...."
Hopes shattered...curses ensued...and----though we hated doing this---we gingerly turned away from Broome Hall and looked dismally towards what fate had in store for us instead.
With night came the much dreaded annoucement that the Main Hall guest and common rooms had been alloted to the first year and with these news----heavier and more ominous than any we had yet heard--- our spirits doused and nothing seemed cheerful anymore----not the constant slapping of rain or the flowers that bloomed every where from D-block lawns to the Main Hall D-ground....
But hey,did I forget to mention our dads who had been,uptill then,silent witnesses to our misery? They finally took their cue and rose to action. What followed was a torrent of curses,bellows,swearings and threats unlike any of us had ever seen. A hasseled clerk called the Chief Warden and begged him to come to the scene. The Chief arrived and,after lots of arguments with that invincible and unbending team of daddys,agreed to allot the Broome Hall to the boys.
The sky suddenly seemed to burst into brilliant colors of red,green and yellows.
After the intial "ragging-spree",locking of doors before 21:00,the first ever substage terrors and the endless tours of Beaden Road for hardware,we finally had a first hand experience of what life in Broome actually means.
The evening cricket matches in that huge pre-partition courtyard,the dance and karayoke sessions in those "bigger-than-life" rooms,the hot showers and the water fights!
The Dining Hall bearing its proud insgnia "Since 1917",welcomed us with all the spicey and rich fervor we could have hoped for---Sindhi Biryani and Shahi "Chnay"(chickpeas),Manhcourian and Keemay kay parathay....and yes,those heavenly egg-fried rice every Friday that never failed to tease and tickle our tasetebuds.
Then there was that night before the Laptop distribution ceremony...Sharif's Youth Initiative Eve was nothing short of Christmas eve or Chaand Raat! We hardly slept that night and loud music blared from every freshman room,much to the wrath of our seniors....
The first ever Spotting and those gloomy faces in the Dinning Hall and the corridors....
"Yar Group 1 may 54 larkiyan fail hogai haen....!" (Makes a hysterical show of his eyes about to fall out of sockets)
And then the much awaited Sports Week that saw the whole of Broome Hall burst into celebrations.Planning for costumes,painting stall banners,shopping well into the wee hours of night and so much more....and thus for the 96th time this this ancient Hall witnessed all the mirth and excitement of a KE Sports Week.
Winter gave way to Spring and then Summer. Those hose fights in the evenings when they sprinkled water in that beloved coutyard....those sudden outages and our pranks and agonies....the torrential bichemistry tests,the upperlimb stage and the Annual Play....!
Summer saw the Broome Boarders lining up for fresh allottment.As the mercury rose and the Broome Hall burnt day in and day out,it was finally time for the first year to bid farewell to those hallowed stairways where every brick and every piece of grafitti spoke volumes.
The Mcleod Road Entrance of Broome Hall
New Hall is our abode now. With musty walls and endless flight of stairs,this Hall is a far cry from the grand edifice that is the Broome. Every time I happen to be staring out from the New Hall roof top,I find myself uncounciously making out the outline of Broome Hall...and its times like this,when suddenly caught unawares that I realise the intesity of my feelings for Broome....a treasure-trough of almost-sacred memories that I will forever nurture in my bosom...
A bright morning and a sudden sunset...that pretty much sums up our sojourn at the Broome....