Roger, Roger, Chicken Roger…

There was a fight in our hostel when we were in the final year. The fight was between the youth wings of the Lotus and sickle-hammer-star parties. I don’t know exactly how the fight started. But a group of the ‘Red Indian’ youths manhandled a member of the Saffron youth wing. They roughened him up badly and chased him through the hostel corridors while the Saffron kid tried to escape from the hostel exiting through bottom floor of the A block.

Many floors of in the different blocks of the hostel were known by names relating to the political affiliations of majority of the students staying in those blocks. So we had floors named Moscow, Beijing, Ayodhya and so on.

While the Saffron kid was being mistreated by the Red turks, the news of this attack was relayed to the Saffron headquarters at Ayodhya and the team Lotus arrived at the scene of action—just outside the A block. In ran the Saffron kid, into the arms of his leaders, blood pouring from the head and body. Closely at his heels were the gang members of the Red army.

We were sitting on the parapet of C-top after lunch, enjoying a smoke when this happened. From our vantage point, we could clearly see the entire drama as it unfolded.

The Red army members were carrying wooden rods, hockey sticks, iron pipes and other similar weapons in their hands. Suddenly, as if by magic, daggers and swords of all sizes and shapes appeared in the hands of the Saffron brigade. What ensued was a typical standoff. It was not the Mexican standoff that all of us have seen in many movies. It was more like ‘I will kill and I am prepared to die—I will kill but I don’t want to die’ kind of standoff.

The members of the team Lotus were trained warriors. But the members of the Red army were nothing more that street fighters who learned their skills from experience (give and take) and watching third-rate movies. So they were no match for the Saffron warriors.

In any kind of war, the army with the superior skill, deadlier weapons, more courage and discipline will win even if they are fewer in numbers. This was told hundreds of years ago by Sun Tzu [1].

An army fewer in numbers can triumph over the enemy
If they are skilled, possess superior weapons and have courage
When attacking it is not the number that counts, it is speed and skill
Those who are skilled in attack
Can move with the highest in heaven
Therefore, they are protected while gaining a complete triumph.
Sun Tzu (Art of War)

So the Red army, even though more in number was no match for the trained and disciplined force of the Saffron regiment. Also daggers and swords will cut, it will bleed and depending on which portion of the body is cut the victim could become a cripple or corpse or anywhere in between. The same could not be said about wooden laths, rods, chair legs, etc. So, the Red army, being in a compromising position chose to strategically retreat to there kingdom (Moscow) and wait there. The Saffron leaders knew that taking the attack to the enemy camp, with limited resources was a mistake and decided to wait outside for the reinforcements.

While all this was happening, somebody in the hostel had called the police and they arrived just in time to defuse the situation before more blood was shed. A few members from both sides were taken into custody and a case was registered.

Since the situation was very volatile and violence could erupt at any time, the college and hostel authorities thought it prudent to have police presence in the college and hostel premises. So a police jeep with 5-6 constables was posted to ensure peace.

All of us wanted to show our gratitude to those selfless souls who were roaming the hostel and college grounds to maintain law and order. It was decided the policemen on duty would be given food from the hostel mess as we wanted them to be healthy and alert to protect us. The policemen were thrilled with the attention they were getting and used to polish off considerable quantities of food quite oblivious of the impact of their actions on our mess bill.

One day it was ghee rice and chicken fry. As usual the policemen were invited for lunch. The first batch came and had a sumptuous meal concentrating more on the chicken wings and legs than other side dishes. The food must have made quite an impression on them, judging from the amount each of them consumed. After satisfying their gastronomical yearnings, they retired to the jeep. We were standing next to the jeep. One of the policemen took the walkie-talkie and was yelling into it “Unit 4 calling, over… Roger, roger, chicken roger!” Within the next 15 minutes two police jeeps came to the hostel to relieve the men on duty and headed straight to the mess hall to have their lunch. I think that day we must have fed at least 15-20 policemen.

We had made a radio transceiver, thanks to the enterprising Electronic engineers in our gang. Our original plan was to take over the AIR transmission by broadcasting our programs in the AIR frequency so the houses close to our hostel would get some variety entertainment rather than the boring AIR stuff. But due to some technical glitches, the plan didn’t take off. But the transceiver was functional and by tuning into the police frequency we could hear the communication between the unit stationed in the college premises and the HQ. We could also send messages to their radios.

One day, we asked them to leave the college premises. The request was made in rather colorful language. What followed was a barrage of very creative, innovative, astounding and audacious display of abusive speaking, which must have made our great grandparents turn and squirm in their graves. When things clamed down, after 10-12 minutes, we felt like having undergone the Police academy’s crash course on Abusive and Contumelious Speaking!!!

[1] Sun Tzu, The Art of War, circa 450 B.C.


  1. Geo said,

    January 17, 2006 at 10:53 am

    Nice read Alexis… :_)

    When we were in CET, MH was dominated by Red Turks. Saffronites were mainly day scholars or most of them concentrated on the nearby hostels and paying guest accos.
    The college union elections were always whitewashed by the Red-ies, but fights were always fought on equal grounds.

  2. silverine said,

    January 17, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    I understood the title only after I got to the part where you explained the situation and then I was ROFL for sometime. I was telling my Dad about your post, he is also an Engg college product and he couldn’t help laughing himself. And the way you took care of the situation was too good. he he Hats off to your ingenuity !!!

    There seems to be some kind of chemistry between the cops and engg students!!!

    The rest of the acount sounds rather scary. This seems to be serious enmity. To think that students go to such lengths to defend their ideologies is rather unsettling.

    Damn funny account otherwise 🙂

  3. Alexis Leon said,

    January 18, 2006 at 10:24 am

    Geo: Thanks Geo. The fights were there even before politics entered the CET campus, but it was between the students. But the fights became nastier and deadlier only after the entry of political parties, as each party used to bring thugs from outside.

    Silverine: Thank you. After getting ragged during our first year and ragged our juniors in the subsequent years, we were under the false impression that we could face any kind of abusive language stoically and reply in the same language. But we were thunderstruck by the vocabulary and creativity of the policemen. Obviously, they are better trained and constant practice of what they have learned made them exponents in that art.

    Yes, the last point you made is true. The campuses have become dangerous places with the entry of politics and on many occasions, innocent bystanders are being caught in the crossfire. Sad isn’t it?

  4. James Bright said,

    January 18, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Sorry for being late, Alexis.
    This post was very funny and at the same time thought provoking. We also had many, many similar kinds of police encounters while I was in SN College, Kollam , University College, TVM and also in the Alleppey Medical College! But in none of these occasions, the police men were offered food from our mess!

  5. Paresh said,

    January 18, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Had a hearty laugh after midnight. Was scared it would disturb my folk. Are you competing with Silverine. Silverine beware you’ve got serious competition. I visit Silverine’s blog to get my daily quota of Laughter. Now I’ve got somebody closer home.

  6. Alexis Leon said,

    January 18, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    James: Thanks James. SN College, University College and Alleppey Medical College, no wonder you had encounters with the police :-). We never offered food to the policemen after that incident!

    Paresh: Nice you liked the post. No, I am not competing with Silverine. I compete only when I am sure that I have a reasonably good chance to win :-). I think of myself as reasonably good, but I can’t hold a candle to her wit, creativity and imagination. So I don’t have to try; in fact, it would be ridiculous for me to try ;-).

  7. anu said,

    January 19, 2006 at 1:42 pm


  8. -poison- said,

    January 20, 2006 at 7:59 am

    red brigade all the way in the mh these days like geo said…there are occasional fights, but politically tinged ones are rare. more like inter semester and day schi v mh fights……..tht account was scary btw…why cant we all live in peace..

  9. harashita said,

    January 23, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    I dont understand why do boys fight like this…and why the heck do they form these groups…over here in our coll also there are regioanl groups and not only that groups based on casts too and many of them keep fighting like street dogs as if they have nothing better to do…
    anyways…nice post