Chapter 6 – Three Wisemen at the Girls Door

There’s always a ladder nearby . . . .the difference is, some people see it, some don’t.. .

Giving up on matters close to my heart (no matter how hopeless they are from a pragmatist’s view point) – whether personal or otherwise has never been my forte and this sort of nature has been attributed to confidence (or the excess of it), stubbornness, genetics etc .Till date I am still finding new insights into this quality – some positive, most negative. My brain and my heart (Aortic pumps – As Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S fame, would call it) are usually not in agreement and are having a face-off yet again, on whether I should try my luck one more time by confessing my feelings to Piya , who was in Delhi for her end-term vacations, or should I turn the ‘off’ switch and move on. My heart called the cards this time and I ended up meeting Piya at CCD , Humayun Road, near India gate.

I went to Piya’s house at Shahjahan road to pick her up, and then headed for the café. “Hi Piya, how are things at your end? How is medical school treating you ?” was all I could gather the courage to ask and start a conversation. Being old friends eased up the tension a little bit, but just a little bit. “we will have a chocolate fantasy with a scoop of ice-cream and chocolate sauce, and 2 cold coffees” I ordered. Moments before I started with my part of the story, I had a gut feeling that something was not right, but being me, I didn’t give it much thought and went on. By the end of the day one thing was very clear to me (as i started introspecting) – I wasn’t in love with Piya anymore, it was just a closure I was looking forward to, as I felt very comfortable and at peace once I was back in the hostel. What I did not realize and gauge at that time was, that I had just increased the probability of losing Piya as a friend owing to my stupidity.

Cupid has some serious issues with me, i am sure of this. I thought that i will be relieved as i have finally been able to put a ‘The End’ to me and Piya, but Mr cupid intervened by introducing another girl into my story without even making me aware of it . In every college and most of the schools, there’s a place where couples and those trying to make it past the “friends” phase hangout. This place might be a stretch of road (Fanti road at AIT pune ),or a deserted spot, and in our case a banyan tree in front of our hostel building. As soon as dinner is over, one can come across many glimpses of sweethearts sitting under the shade of the tree and chatting. Seldom, was there a group of friends seen near that tree , as it was an unofficially proclaimed “Only couples” area. Durgesh and janet , Our batch’s first official couple were usually seen frequenting this area. I didn’t realize until very late, that I had started talking to Mehak a lot more than I usually did and that after dinner, we both assumed that we would meet up and roam about.

The dreaded term end exams were around the corner, and all of us , especially, me, aarav, harsh , tarun were scared about our anatomy vivas, not because we lacked the intellect for cracking the vivas, but because our professors Col Gyan (Also our warden) and Col Behl , derived sadistic pleasure by humiliating and embarassing the students in their vivas.  Mehak was a perennially over-worried intellectually gifted girl, but she never stopped assuming that her exams went as bad as they possibly could. It was D-Day for all of us, especially for the boys of our batch. On being called by my roll number, I entered the anatomy dissection hall to find Col Gyan seated on the first viva table,  “So Adil- he started – I am sure you haven’t studied anything for the exams as you were busy talking to girls on the phone, because I don’t remember seeing you without your phone” and before I knew it, he had moved from assuming my casual attitude ,unpreparedness, lack of dedication, respect for seniors & how I and many others in the batch are wasting our parent’s hard earned money . Also, he strongly felt that most of the boys are wasting a medical seat and didn’t belong here. “ Sir, I would request you to please continue my viva and judge me based on my knowledge of your subject , and not assuming false theories about me and then generalizing that to my entire batch. Also, I took admission into this institute on merit, and not by putting the Dean of the college at gunpoint” All this was what I said in my head, What actually came out from my mouth was “ Sir, sir, no sir . . . I have studied sir, no sir “

To make matters worse, anatomy professors try to ask smart questions which might not be asked in a conventional exam, but Col Gyan and conventional exams don’t go hand in hand. “Have you heard about the term ‘Funny bone’ Adil? ” he asked, “Sir it’s a condition in which a person’s ulnar nerve gets irritated due to its superficial position , near the elbow, resulting in a tickling sensation” I was dreading the next question “Adil, answer this, where does the ulnar nerve lie” – I had no clue (from an anatomical view-point. I did know that it’s in the arm!) .I answered honestly by pointing at my elbow “somewhere here” , This answer triggered the amygdala in Col Gyan’s brain making him lose his cool and he blasted “Adil, this is not a fucking art course , its medicine. ..” he started. I don’t remember the remaining lecture as I had learnt to shut my senses to his endless banter by now. After what it seemed hours, I was finally out from the exam hall. When I enquired among my friends, I was feeling less humiliated and better as almost all girls were on the verge of a breakdown and even a few guys seem shaken. I and my friends had survived the ordeal, the firsts of many more to come.

Being in Delhi, the national capital, huge fests with star nights and concerts were common. One such fest was being organized by AMITY School of Engineering, where Samar, one of my buddies from school was pursuing B Tech in Electronics. He asked me if I had any plans to come for the fest as ‘Bombay rockers‘ was performing live. Somehow the idea of travelling 40 km to catch a glimpse of a band didn’t appeal to me, especially in Delhi’s scorching heat. I informed Durgesh and Rohan about the concert and they were more than eager to go, as they were trying to portray a ‘cool guy’ image in college. Coincidentally, only Harsh, Aarav, Tarun and I were left in the hostel on the night of the concert.

The clock struck 10 , and I roamed about restless . Somehow, when the world around me is engaging in activities (being outdoors) that also interest me, I get excited and my mind goes into a turbo mode, thinking of ways to amuse myself and take care of the restlessness. Thankfully, Aarav knocked on the door and he was as bored as I was. “lets do something different” he said. A month back, ‘doing something different’ meant, jumping the hostel gates , going to our favourite dhaba at Dhaula Kuan for eating delicious omelets with tea, returning to our hostel and hitting our bunks. Now, me and my friends were looking for a new feat to conquer. Be it my impulsiveness, curiosity or plain boredom, I suggested that we try to enter the girls floor, which was 2 floors above us. I had just blurted out an idea straight from a clichéd Bollywood movie. Tarun and harsh who have just entered my room, were still finding it difficult to swallow this idea. Aarav and I were the most enthusiastic, Tarun ended up following us (as he usually does) and Harsh not so keen, gave his nod, out of boredom.

The girls hostel stairs were locked at 2200h so the only remotely plausible option left for us to reach their floor was by climbing up. I started looking for different routes, the MES holed wall which was lucky for us the time we jumped the hostel gates didn’t prove useful as it was too far from the main building’s window – Our only entry to the girls floor. I was not worried about the girls hearing any unusual voices or spotting us, as Mehak had borrowed my laptop to watch the movie ‘Saw 7’. Most of the girls were busy watching the movie with her. The others must have retired for the day. After cracking my brains for an half-hour or so, I finally came up with a route – The floor just above ours was home to AMC officers posted at base hospital. If I could somehow catch hold of the window pane above this floor, I would have made it. One of us had to stay back to help the others to climb. Harsh volunteered, while Tarun was already giving the entire idea a second thought. Aarav was still looking for another way up while I told harsh to get some towels and make an elevated base over the window pane so that I can use it to climb to the girls window, But after all the elevation and outstretched  arms, I was still falling short by around 4 feet.

Down below was – nothing- just a cemented floor, where falling would bear tragic consequences and up above was just 4 feet , 4 feet to a new feat. I prayed, hoped , made a jump and was able to grasp the cemented window pane with one hand. I was the first one in. No girl in the corridor. I looked down to see aarav climbing up the MES wall reaching for the Bathroom Drainage pipes before he finally rested on the girls bathroom vent. Tarun was still on the ground floor.

One of the girls must have heard a noise, as moments later, Samridhi with Mehak and the other girls lined up behind them, asked in a scared tone – “is somebody there “. I emerged into the corridor and said hello to the girls. After getting over the surprise visit by us, the girls wanted to look down from where I had climbed. Prachi was one of the girls looking down and the same girl who made tarun weak on the knees since day 1 of college. It was barely 5 minutes, before Tarun was also with me. I knew love can make people , do things they never imagined , but wasn’t aware that climbing up the girls hostel in record time was one of them. He used the same route which Aarav had. All this commotion was abruptly ended by a scream from the bathroom. It was Udita shouting “There is someone in the bathroom”, My man Aarav  came out from the bathroom vent and joined us. We were more than welcomed by the girls. Food, coffee was made for us. Snaps were clicked. We were stars in our own right.

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