It was 7.27 a.m., and my mother and I had reached Thane station way before time. I was excited as I had to confirm my seat in one of the finest tech institutes in Maharashtra and one of the oldest in Asia. We reached Vikhroli station at 8.07 am. Our halt was at my maternal aunt’s place. I was leaning out from the corner of the local train’s door trying to alight safely, sack on back and luggage in my hands. My mother was walking behind me. I wanted to protect her from those rushing past us. I found the platform overcrowded. For a Nashikar like me, we only see such crowd in Kumbha Mela.
We somehow managed our way out, but the whole exercise had exhausted me. I saw a hoarding with an advertisement of a coaching class. It said, “Now even Vikhrolians can go to VJTI!”
I suddenly felt rejuvenated after reading this sentence and it took me into the flashback. I reminisced an incident that happened two years ago. My roommate and best friend Vaibhav had asked me, “Pranay diploma ke baad kya socha hai?” “Of course Degree; I wish to study at VJTI.”
And he burst into laughter. He wasn’t wrong, though, after 68% in the first-year then and somehow securing pass marks in mathematics, it was quite an uphill task.
“Dude, you need at least 90% to bag a seat in VJTI in any stream.”
I thought, “So what? I have two years. I will study hard.” I didn’t say that aloud, though.
Vaibhav was still laughing, I was smiling too but felt humiliated.
I felt someone shaking my hand and found out that it was my mother. She transported or rather dragged me to the present.
By the time we reached VJTI Road, Matunga, which is close to Dadar in the heart of Mumbai, it was noon. My heart was pounding hard as if I was going to see a girl for my marriage. I was nervous.
From a distance, I saw the entrance gate of the main building. The same Gate I had failed to enter for pursuing my Diploma in Civil Engineering.
For any engineering student in Maharashtra, studying in VJTI is a dream. I was trying to keep myself calm but in vain. I was at unease and the turmoil within was much more than what I had encountered after my father’s sudden death.
I saw my mother and smiled, she winked. It may not be a big deal for rest of the world, but she knew what it meant to me. I was looking at the college gate wondering if I was there for real. We both entered the gate.
It was Deja Vu for me. I had done it umpteen times before in my dreams. And I was going to live my dream now.
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