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B Begins the Beginning

2003. The year when it all began. The JEE result was just out and it showed that I had fared well enough to get into a college I liked. It also meant that I would get to study computers! Yes, computers! That elusive thing! How nice it would be to learn to write actual codes to make that damned thing do as I wanted! To make that superpower actually listen to my commands!

Then the day of counselling arrived! Those who aren’t aware what it is, let me tell you, the counselling is kind of a fest! Students gather, colleges gather, they distribute glossy brochures trying to influence students and then students are called according to their ‘ranks’ to ‘pick’ a college! So there I was, with 1000 other students on the scheduled day waiting to be called.

But things weren’t turning out the way I had thought. I had already picked my college but everyone else seemed to have picked it too! There were only 60 seats for God’s sake! And if that wasn’t enough, I found that I had forgotten my rank card at home.

You aren’t half as correct if you think I was tensed. I was hyperventilating! I hadn’t a second choice! My dad rushed back home while I sat with my head held between my hands. Each minute more and more seats filled up and every passing moment brought me closer to not being able to make it to my choice of college. Thanks to my famous forgetfulness! Really! How could one forget to bring one’s rank card to one’s own counselling?

Anyway as I sat alone in a corner and wallowed in self-pity an old (very old!) man approached me. “Hi”, he said.

“Hi.” I shot back. I was in no mood to talk to anyone.

“I heard that you want to study in CEMK?”

“I do. But I sure don’t see that happening. But how did you know?”

“Oh the entire hall knows! You are the girl who forgot to bring the rank card!”

I was already on the edge and this old person had decided to rub salt on my wound. So the whole hall now knew what a n irresponsible person I was! A pathetic irresponsible girl who forgot to bring the most important piece of paper to her counselling. Fine! I knew that already. And I was going to pay a dear sum for it. I knew it too. But why the hell did he have to come to me and lay it so plainly before my eyes? Couldn’t he just let me be? Like the others, clicking their tongues silently and shaking their heads! Perhaps he was a sadist, I thought. 

And so I retorted, “Great! The entire hall knows! Such a pity I am! I know it. But what are you doing here? What do you want from me? Who are you by the way?”

“Oh I just came to ask you if you would like me to save a seat for you in CEMK? But if you’d rather have me go…” the old man smiled and feigned to leave.

“Wait!” I said pitifully. I knew I was clinging to straws. “How can you save me a seat? How is it possible? Who are you? Why would you help me?”

“Let’s just say, I am an important person in the college and I can save you a seat if you want! If you had your rank card with you, you would have taken it already isn’t it?”

“Yes, yes”, I said. I was desperate now. “Can you really save me a seat? Would you do that for me?”

“I will, if you wish.”

I then almost pushed him to go and save me a seat.

My dad arrived 30 minutes later. I approached the CEMK booth and learned that I was already confirmed, unofficially. Thus I got into my college as the 60th student of computer science. The old man was there and he winked at me when I smiled gratefully.

Months later, on the day of Fresher’s to be precise, I met the old man again! Imagine my shock and embarrassment when he came to address us first years as the Principal of the college!

I would never know why he chose to come to me on the day of my counselling but that day I learnt that everything has a way to find you if you want it badly enough! 

Love,

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Riot of Random

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