As dusk sets in, Abhyas Galli is lit allowing students from the nearby areas to study under halogen lights along the street. With big families and small spaces back at home, the children throng to the street to prepare for their exams.
Lined by tall trees on both sides, the quiet lane behind Poddar Hospital in Worli offers the students all that they require – bright lights, clean benches and safety. These facilities have been drawing students there for years now.
“The road is an ideal place to study through the night and it is better than libraries. We can sit through the night for however long we like. Back at home, we have only one room and it becomes difficult to study with the whole family around,” said Rahul Adepu, a resident of the nearby B D D chawl and an engineering student, who has been studying here for two years.
It also gives students a common location to come together for group study sessions. Pawan Yadav and Amit Birde, both students of electronic engineering, have been studying together for the past six years on the street. They claim that studying together has helped them improve their performance. “Earlier, we both were seven pointers. But when we started studying together, we become nine pointers,” said Yadav. But with the popularity of the street increasing among the student community, they face paucity of space during the exam season. “When commerce and engineering exams clash, there is no space to sit here. During the peak hours, which is between 7 pm and 10 pm, everybody is coming in each other’s way,” said Birde. The lights have been installed by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking.
Currently, the lights are only placed on one side of the road leaving the other side in darkness. “If they put lights on the other side, students will have more place to sit,” Birde added.
The road is part of Sudam Kali Ahire Marg. It was officially renamed Abhyas Galli after local people approached the local corporator with the demand. But Abhyas Galli is no longer the quiet lane it used to be with several bikers using the road for racing activities. “The bike noises disturb the peace here and also make it a little unsafe for students. Some make use of the road to drink and smoke. It is changing the nature of the street. Although a few years ago, it was worse as people would even park their vehicles here. Fortunately, with police vigilance, that has stopped,” said Suresh Kavde, another engineering student.
Gajanan Desurkar, Senior Inspector, Worli police station, said: “We patrol the area everyday and if we come across illegal activities, we take action. There are no incidents of racing here.”
Strangely, very few female students are spotted studying on the street at night. Chandrashekar, a security guard of a nearby building, said: “Students start coming in by around 7 pm and they are there till almost 3 to 4 am during exam time. But I have never seen any girl student coming here to study.”
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