“What movie is happening at Imax?” asked Dhruv.
“Don’t know. What’s the difference? Any movie is cool”, answered Dhiren.
“Do you people really want to go for a movie?” asked Monali. “I know! Let’s get a tattoo done. There’s this really cool place in Bandra.
“Well, I don’t know about you guys, but Siddhesh and I are going for the biology lecture,” piqued Natasha.
“You guys are such bores!” protested Dhiren. “Enjoy life guys; lectures happen everyday!”
“I am not averse to bunking around two-three lectures a week,” replied Siddesh. “But what you people are up to is absolutely ridiculous! You attend just three to four classes a week, and that too with great difficulty. Mark my words, you’re going to be in trouble.”
“Fine, go ahead and attend. We promise not to be jealous when you get the ‘Nerds of the Year’ awards!” commented Monali. A peal of laughter was issued from the apparently ‘cool’ trio, while the ‘nerds’ just rolled their eyes.
Such conversations were usual in the campus of the Sir Victor Mehta College. Students with their don’t-carish attitude looked down upon others who cared about ‘mundane’ and ‘boring’ things like attendance and academics. For them, being cool was all about dressing weirdly, bunking lectures and above all, being impertinent and insolent to their professors. Money spoke for them, and if they got into any trouble with the authorities, their parents were more than ready to bail them out of such minor scrapes.
As opposed to this lot, there were the really sincere students, who liked to have a bit of fun as well, but not at the expense of academics. These students also took part in various activities, as the college encouraged everyone to, but they managed to strike a balance between all the demands on their time. To cut a long story short, let’s just say that these students had their priorities right, but also believed that a little fun never harmed anyone.
Such was the story of our five protagonists. A more bizarre group wasn’t to be found anywhere on the campus. Bizarre because they were a mixture of two completely opposite kind of people. The regulars and the irregulars. So then, why were they together? This was because, each of them, without realizing it, admired something in the other party. Dhiren, Dhruv and Monali secretly wished to be like their brainy friends Siddhant and Natasha, who were good at almost everything, in spite of watching as many movies or going on as many picnics like them. However, since the grass is always greener on the other side, Siddhant and Natasha always wished their parents were as easy-going as their friends’ or that they were allowed to party more often like their friends.
As exams were fast approaching, there was a mad scramble around for notes, and a realization amongst the students that they had no idea whatsoever as to what the syllabus for the exam was. Attendance suddenly reached previously unattained records, as students realize that it was the Big B time. Blacklists for all subjects were being put up, and that is certainly not one place a self-respecting student would wish to see his name in.
But unfortunately, some things are avoidable, unless you make up your mind to do otherwise. And so, Monali, Dhiren and Dhruv’s name happened to feature in the blacklists for all subjects. That can only mean one thing, and that is, a tête-à-tête with the principal. And as their previous academic records were nothing to write home about, the trio panicked and fretted, but to no avail. The meeting with the principal was simply unavoidable.
“Come in,” said a deep voice, as Monali uncertainly knocked on the door that bore the name, ‘R. Vasudevan, Principal’.
He looked up as she entered and remarked rather nastily, “Not the first time in my office for irregular attendance, are we? What is the excuse this time, Ms. Choudhary?”
“I’m really sorry, Sir. But I promise you this won’t happen again. Do believe me this time,” she said, close to tears.
“There will not be a next time. I had warned you about this in the last term itself. I cannot do anything now. You are forbidden from appearing for this term’s examinations. That’s all. You may go,” said the principal, and got back to his work again.
“Oh please Sir! Just one more chance. I promise to be regular from now on. I’ll be detained this year if I cannot appear for my examinations. Please do something,” pleaded Monali.
“Ms. Choudhary, there is nothing I can do. And please tell your parents not to waste precious time in coming to meet me. This is a university rule. Nothing is in my hands,” replied Mr. Vasudevan calmly. He then went back to his work.
Weeping and sobbing, Monali walked out of the principal’s office. Dhiren realized what his fate was going to be, the moment he saw Monali’s face. And he was right. He too, was forbidden from appearing for his term examinations. But as he walked out of the principal’s office, he gave Dhruv a venomous look. A look packed with hatred and fury. However, Dhruv did not happen to see it and veered into the principal’s office nonchalantly.
The latter looked up from his work and continued looking at the boy standing in front of him. Both stared at each other when suddenly as if on cue, they burst out laughing.
“Like father, like son, eh?” remarked Mr. Vasudevan, good humouredly. “You don’t have to idolize your father to such an extent, my boy. Now go away and don’t waste my time.”
“Yes, Dad,” came the reply. “See you at dinner. I’m going bowling with my school friends right now.”
With that, Dhruv walked out of the Mr. R. Vasudevan’s office, while the latter set down to finish his task at hand.
- Shaswat Mohanty, Avani Shah, Tulika Bathija and Mukta Lad.