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Krishna Thakrar

(Electrical Engineering 1931)
regales fond memories of the Pimlico Connection and student pranks

Listen to the interview here

Krishna Thakrar: It's strange coming here. Some of it is as if time hasn’t moved on at all. It's the same, but certain things have changed beyond recognition. It's amazing, it's like you're living in the present and in the past at the same time. It's wonderful.

Interviewer: How was your life when you were here? Did you live in a hall?

KT My first year, I lived in a house and my second and third year, I lived out in Wembley, so it was a half hour journey by tube every morning in the rush hour, but the rush hour then was not as bad as it is now. The tubes are horrible at the moment. When I left Euston station to get the tube here, I thought, gosh is this what I went through for three years? No, it wasn’t this bad, I had to remind myself. But, what a wonderful three years I had, especially the first year living in the halls of residence. The gym, the squash courts, swimming pools, wonderful; it was the nicest time to get together, Wednesday afternoons. The other thing that sticks in my mind is the Pimlico Connection, where on Wednesday afternoons for a year, we went and taught at a local school, that was really, really wonderful. It gave an insight into how young people think and the problems that city schools face – it really was an eye-opener.

Interviewer: How did it work as an eye-opener?

Felt-tip marker pensKT I went to school in Africa, in Malawi and discipline was there. When I did my A-levels in Northamptonshire, there was a lot of discipline; respect for teachers was there. We found that when we went to any of the schools, it was chaos. But we also found that the teachers were over-stretched. They actually saw us as an extension to their resources and fortunately because we were engineering students here we actually did experiments and took them to the schools and the kids, they loved it. And you could see just by actually focussing on them, giving them attention, it meant that they actually enjoy it so much and it was so gratifying at the end when the students actually did a survey, they wanted us back there. So it was wonderful.

Interviewer: And what about the parties and the bar? Did you enjoy them?

KT Yes. Yeah we used to have regular discos in the junior common room. I don’t know whether they are still here, but there should be an organisation called International Friendship for Overseas Students, and they used to have regular parties and they were fun, they really were fun. But we never forgot that we were here to study and the College made sure that we did that as well.

Interviewer: What was the most stupid or funny thing that you did when you were here?

Beit HallKT The most stupid or funny thing was somebody who tried to do something to me, because I was always a bit of a prankster with my friends. One day a couple of the guys decided they were going to play a prank on me. I was living in Beit Hall then and they decided they were going to get here at five o’clock in the morning, on a Sunday morning, and they were going to knock on my door and run away and then they would come back and knock on my door. So two of them decided that they were going to get together, but one of them didn’t turn up, so the whole plan failed. It was wonderful. And, oh yes, as a group, we actually went to learn dancing, ballroom dancing. That was crazy, we knew it was crazy but it was fun. We felt a bit like fools, but never mind, we enjoyed it. So that was something crazy we did.

Interviewer: And what kind of pranks did you do with your friends?

KT The only one that I can remember is on the last day, after we have finished our graduation, we were just finishing off and heading home, and we all went out for a meal. We had a few beers, and for some reason there was a group walking in front of us and one of us, I think it was me, just decided we were going to dive at their feet and grab them and that was it, we all flopped to the ground. That’s what I remember. I think after a few beers, you know, you don’t remember much, but those were the good old days. I don’t think I would do anything like that again. I'm kind of older, I don’t know about any wiser, but definitely older, and balder.

Filming by Barbara Axt Portella.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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