As the first rays of the sun streaked into the horizon, the parking place on the curb near two storied building slowly starting filling in. The curb was in the interiors from the traffic signal at the square. Four huge billboards adorned one corner of the square. All of them were guaranteeing success. Boldly proclaiming their swanky infrastructure which was just a white board with a marker, their esteemed faculty, a bunch of scholars with a mid life crisis to keep in check and their past records which I could never confirm, for all four boards had the picture of the same fellow having cracked the exam – a mystery the world was still coming to terms with. He didn’t look like any of the fellows I had been to school with, he had a mane of hair over his face, his glasses were askew, the remaining visible parts of his face all spotty and that expression of having lost a childhood. The billboard though had seduced my parents into making me study to pass an entrance exam to get admitted to be coached for an entrance exam to this place I had no idea about.
From the first day I felt there was something wrong, I had left school two months ago and here was a person taking my attendance actually looking up to confirm if I was there and then they started with an advisory of how these were the two most important years of our life (I had heard people saying this to me during my tenth standard while shutting down my computer, I wasn’t angry I just felt why did they have to use ‘Most’ if they were going to use it again after a year. ), How we should chuck away our television remotes, throw away our cricket bats and he went on being specific to the point excruciatingly with great detail and tell us to abandon everything fun all for the cause for only the most devoted are rewarded at the end. I felt like being in one of those communist countries which look gray and everyone just seems to be working all day for some cause nobody knows about. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they later told us to address the faculty as ‘Dear Leader’ and each other as ‘Comrade’.
Finally the advisory ended we were not given any choice at the end wether we could just stand up and leave if we don’t agree with either of the above. Basic human courtesy is what this is but no cause once we had paid the first installment of the fees with three more installments remaining they were having none of it.
The Lack of motivation in a place like this was inevitable and here was the big moment on the premise of which the whole industry was based on. They called the ultimate prize at the end of this all IIT. It was no other place but a pinnacle of achievement in our country, a place with monstrous possibilities and shimmering fantasies, a palace were knowledge and excellence inundated the environs where sun shined paved pathways with perfectly manicured grass led to the hallowed buildings brimming with the purest of knowledge. Angels pranced around ready to drown you with sustenance and cut throat innovation changed the world. Nobody though cared about any of this what everyone did care about was a treasure chest they say which lay at the end of this journey, a chest filled with currency not few but hordes and not any currency but foreign currency with the most astounding exchange rates.
Tough getting this was no easy ride for you had to know the speed of a genetically programmed super intelligent bird that would fly to and fro between two trains which for reasons unknown would run at speeds in square roots towards each other. After two hours of getting nowhere with this particular enigma where in between I tried to kill the bird, derail the train and then try to strangle my own self. Finally Fed up of being fed the same propaganda about how our lives are going to go waste and we would end up at colleges named after people like Lakhotia, Jaipuria, Anatrao, Keswani unless we don’t study hard I barged into the directors room wanting answers and photographic evidence of this angelic heaven.
He pulled out an old frayed copy from his shelves and showed me photographs. The photographs weren’t too detailed except they showed a gate and an old frail building behind it . I tried to peer more closely but couldn’t make out much behind those gates. However none of it was anything bathed in splendor to arouse my educational instincts no treasure chests and the building at places had paint peeling off. It felt like those Jihadi Heavens promised to terrorists in lieu of suicide bombing a crowded market and probably my face gave away my lack of drive and the director sensing it pulled out another trick from the book.
Continued in Part Two