The oldest , holiest city of the world was slowly seeing the sun set . After two puffs of the new packet that the aghori gave me as his blessing kicked my brain into philosophy.
I was sitting on one of the numerous big small famous ghats of Varanasi . I hardly cared about knowing the name of the ghat. The city has so many and the beautiful ones are left out by the more prosperous and powerful ones same as the people of this city . I took another deep puff though i have become accustomed to the grass but this new one was really taking me high . By now phoolchand has started rowing and brought us in the middle of Ganga . People come here to wash their sins but this city is bent on committing them new ones before they leave . Varanasi is like the weed once u taste it u cannot ran away from it .
The sun was setting slowly and it created a orange mosaic on the water which was disturbed by the small ripples . Breeze touched my hair and i let loose myself . This city loves to be in trance . I passed one to the phoolchand . At far near the ghat preparations were going on for the evening puja . A small smile accompanied by a tear escaped .
Phoolchand “ek sal hone wala hai tumhe yanha .”
I nodded . In few days i will complete one year of my stay in Varanasi and 4 months of demise of her.
Phoolchand “tumhare jaise bahut hain yanha gori chamri ,kale, yanha ke bhi par tum alag ho” I smiled still looking at the ghat . It was slowly getting dark and small lamps at the ghats catched my attention .
Phoolchand”yar tum to kuch bolte hi nahi ho “ with this the weed has shown his effect on him and he laid back and closed his eyes .
I took a look at him and then at the aarti that was going on the ghat. Her image appeared infront of me . I was again hallucinating. I still remember every detail .
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath . I was standing for atleast 3 hours in the scorching heat to get admission in one of the premier colleges of Kolkata the Asutosh College . I turned my head to scan the long line of unlimited students waiting . Had i studied some more chemistry i would not be in this crowd . I was nothing . I lost the joints though i had better marks and rank than many but being a general i am destined to be doomed .
I tried to see mom . She was standing near the gate with other parents discussing how good or bad the college and many other facts of colleges . I was sweating gallons of water. The weather was new to me . After my 18 years in Delhi shift to Kolkata was somewhat awkward for many but i had accepted my fate .
I looked at the file i was holding . The first document in it showed a leaflet of my form written in bold ‘Asutosh College Department of Electronics’ .Though i was accepted at Xaviers for geography and Presidency result was still not out but my gut wanted me to study electronics .
Somehow i wanted to be close to being a engineer . Huh this is human tendency to not let go of the things they want and they will try every way to be as close to it . I smiled at myself . I was lost in my thoughts just then two dadas of union came and started to manage the line . Actually behind me 3 north eastern were standing and their huge supporting cast created a mess . I looked at the dadas and exhaled .
Though i was from delhi i was well versed with the Kolkata politics due to many family associations and asutosh college was second home for our family but it all changed when the three flowers proved too strong for the sickle . I knew i had to start from zero here but my huge ego did not allowed me. The smell from the nearby egg roll stall attracted me . Though i was starving but i did not felt like eating without getting admitted . I was busy in scanning my surrounding just then a beautiful voice disturbed my chain of thoughts . At that time i did not know or imagined that this voice will stick with me forever .
“Hey excuse me ! Do u fevistick “ she was too busy in her documents that she did not care to even look at me .
I nodded .
“Please give. I want it for a sec. A photo i forgot to paste”
I nodded and started fumbling the bag but it was uncomfortable for me to search with the file in one hand . Seeing my struggle she extended her hand . I hand over my file to her. It took me some seconds to get the stick from the bag. I was not a disciplined one and everything was creative mess in my life .
“U r also for electronics “
“U have also applied for electronics “
“Wow. me too” .
She smiled busy in her pages .
Apart from this we did not talk anything . She just turned once or twice and smiled and was busy in her mobile, her file and with her parents . Slowly the line move forward and i put my first step inside the 100 year old establishment . I felt like being Neil Armstrong , a single step of mine a huge leap for my career .
Once inside the herd of students scattered each to their destination . We both stick to each other . Both our destination was same and one dada told us fourth floor while one didi dressed in saree with her navel in full show had never heard about the department . In that time also the view brought a smile . I felt my companion noticed but both kept quiet . It took a little time but finally we were standing outside our future . The pale yellow door with’ ASUTOSH COLLEGE DEPARTMENT of ELECTRONICS’ in white on blue background welcomed us .
The whole college was busy . Other departments were throbbing with students . Nearby maths department was overflowing but here we two were standing infront of a closed door, a strange feeling crept inside .
“lets go” she told and opened the door . i followed her and was again welcomed by two closed doors . I wanted to laugh hard. It felt like entering a labyrinth with a one way route . I pushed the first one but it was closed . She tried the right one and a cold breeze welcomed us . We get inside . It felt heavenly ,no not because i was thrilled to see the electronics lab with function generators , transformers , resistance box , 3 small hp computers or the gordrej almirah stacked with books but because of the AC . After being fully drenched in heat it was great to be finally here and i wanted to stay there more so i deliberately went behind her.
As we entered we were welcomed by a man . I scanned him from tip to toe . His face told he is in mid thirties but was bald . He was wearing a orange tee with blue denim jeans . He opened his mouth and his pan stained teeth showed .
“esho esho (come come )”
We smiled at him.
“one by one. You wait “ and he welcomed her inside the professors area . From the first interaction except his teeth and look i was impressed . I could not make much of their conversation and i concentrated on seeing my new habitat . The lack of big machines of electronics engineering disappointed me but then i reminded myself it is not engineering !
After few moments she came out smiling and voice called me from inside . I went. There the man who welcomed us was sitting and beside him another one smaller than him , with overnight beard specs in a pink shirt was sitting . I greeted them both and they told me to sit . The later one was busy in his work and the former one started questioning .
“rank koto “(rank?)
At the mention of my rank the later one looked at me and kept his pen down . His face showed he was impressed by the rank . I patted myself .
“Debopam Bhattacharya sir “
“good.” Now the later one was showing interest in me .”joint diechile ? “(gave joint)
“kemn hyeche “(what was your rank)
At this question i wanted to scream at him and say are making a joke of mine . Cant u see i am sitting infront u to get admitted in a goddamn B.Sc. course instead of being in some good engineering college . But i controlled my emotions .
(to be continued)