IT WAS THE last day to grab a seat in DU. My mother woke me up at 5 am and asked me to make a choice between History (hons.) and Sanskrit (hons.) I rubbed my eyes and let an everlasting sigh. I felt like burying myself somewhere safe, far from this ruckus and rant, where peace prevails, and where you breathe without worries. My mother repeated the question, and it killed my appetite for life.
At these junctures of life, you come to understand the term Hobson’s choice. I didn’t actually have a CHOICE; I didn’t even want to choose.
“History. “I said. I didn’t ask her the name of the college. At that point of time, I’d have enrolled even in a terrorist camp had it carried the DU logo.
“Shyam Lal College. East. Three metros from Kashmiri Gate. “My mother said. I sprang to consciousness in one millisecond. It felt like a small heart attack, a nice one. I grabbed my phone, switched it on and checked the metro map.
Six metro stations from Vishwavidyalaya….
Hold on! Are you serious? You are not taking admission in history for fuck’s sake!!!
“Yeah. Okay. History. Done. “I told my mother. At that moment, all I cared about was the metro map, and those five goddamn stations between Vishwavidyalaya and Welcome. My mother was kind of thrown off by this sudden swing of my mood – from a devastated state to an overjoyed one. She stared at me for a while, probably wondering if her son has finally gone mad.
“Register online. Now. We’re leaving…in an hour. “She said, picking each word carefully.
I registered before I blinked.
We reached Shyam Lal College at 7:30 am. The auto ride cost us 150, and my mother kept cursing the autowallahs of Delhi in undertones all the way. We stepped through the giant gate as morning sunlight peeped at us through a lattice of leaves. The drowsy guard stepped out and told us that we were two and a half hours early. There weren’t enough chairs around, but we found an old dusty desk by the garden. As my mother got busy whatsapping people, I spent time observing squirrels and thinking about the metro map and the five goddamn stations between two ends of my present world.
Have I told you about a girl who is superamazing in every way a human could ever be?
Well, I won’t tell you much because this post is read by people who know me. ( How I wish I had a blog with a secret id! )
About twenty minutes later, a girl entered the college. She had bright red lipstick on, and her cheeks were pinker than the rest of her face. But since she was wearing a tight dress, I chose to ignore her imperfections. See, this was a real choice, pretty unlike the course I was getting into. The girl asked me if it was my first class too.
“We are here for admission. “My mother replied on my behalf, in a tone that she usually reserves for autowallahs of Delhi. The girl didn’t mind, or maybe she cursed my mother in her mind, and she began talking to my mother.
“Are you an OBC? “My mother asked. These days, she asks this to every person she interacts with. She’s developed a hatred for reserved category people since reservation fucked my ass. The girl took her time to reply.
“Oh! “My mother said; it sounded like the hammer of a judge, which strikes the desk for one last time. The girl should have guessed my mother was being mean. Instead, she asked for water. My mother works for NGOs in villages to help needy people, but she took a total of thirteen seconds to say yes to that poor sexy thing.
“Which course? “My mother asked before she could utter a thankyou.
“Pol science. “The girl said.
“Political Science. “The girl replied. My mother nodded. Nobody spoke a word after that. I went back to observing squirrels. Soon, another girl showed up and the two young females started having regular girlie chitchat. They discussed everything – from social issues to makeups, from crushes to breakups, from the oppression of women to the double standards of women, and they did a lot of bitching about other girls, and they cursed boys, and my mother’s temperature kept rising with every new discussion of theirs. It wasn’t the kind of talk that wins you an audience or something, but it surely didn’t deserve clenched teeth and twitched veins. I could see smoke pouring out of my mother’s ears.
“I hate that girl. “She said as we left the desk. I didn’t say anything.
“Did you see the way she was talking? “My mother asked, rhetorically.
“Well. What about that? “I asked.
“She calls Political Science Pol Science. Phony girl, I tell you. She’d scars on her wrist. She must have slashed it to blackmail boys. ”
“Ugh…stop being so insensitive, maa. Not every girl slashes wrist for boys or whatever. “I said.
“She drank my goddamn water. “She complained, as if that was the last millileter of H2O available on planet earth.
“She asked first. “I pointed out. My mother pretended she was deaf.
“Why don’t they make separate colleges for boys? You, stay away from those kinds. ”
“Which kinds? ”
“Those who talk like honey and have fake pink cheeks. “My mother said. The only girl I think of these days has probably stopped thinking of me long ago. She doesn’t have fake pink cheeks, and her voice sounds like crispy combo chips – sweet and tangy in perfect proportions.
As my mother began to find another thousand flaws in the girl at the desk, I switched off my auditory system and went towards the line that had slowly started filing in for one great event of life – the goddamn ADMISSION.
TO BE CONTINUED…..