The door looked quite plain really. Painted white with a brass doorknob, it stood seemingly harmlessly against the whitewashed wall. In fact it was so inconspicuous that you wouldn’t even look at it while passing by.
Yet it was the scariest thing during the first year of our college. For it separated the sane and the insane. Crossing the threshold meant experiencing something sinister. Or so we were warned, many times, by fellow classmates who made the mistake and went looking for what lay on the other side, enslaved by their vain curiosity which bothered them like a stubborn itch.
Thankfully I had heard enough stories to quench my thirst for information and I never felt the need to go looking for it. But how long after all, could I escape? Not very long apparently! Soon the first semester was knocking on the door and it was becoming increasingly imperative every day that I must cross the threshold and soon.
Because you see that door led to the library – a place you must go before the semesters if you wanted to have books to study. And the library was the traditional place where the older students ragged the first years! It’s seclusion was ideal to find an isolated corner to sit around a green first year and try to boggle him/her down. No real physical harm like other stories but a thorough psychological rip off.
So one day I went, along with few other girls from my class. We took a moment there in front of the door and then pushed it open. Before we could even get to the shelves we were called to different tables to sit with different groups of students.
The next hour ensued and I was tested on my presence of mind to its limit. Tricky mathematical jokes, some other puzzles and many more such things interspersed with a personal interview. Exhausting. But a faint sense of pride too after cracking those geeky PJs. Like this one?
You know, µ as in coefficient of friction? Get it? You say non-sense? Totally. But a little geeky too. Isn’t it? Maybe this will make sense?
Noooo please don’t leave as yet. I am almost done. I swear.
So, our seniors were geeky. And they tested the library goers on their geekiness. Once you crossed the threshold you were considered one of them. You were welcomed with open arms into them. From predators feasting on you, they became your best facilitators. And so after that session in the library was over, I was showered with numerous well-meaning advice about how to make most of the next four years.
That afternoon I returned to the hostel along with handful others with the air of a battle winner. We had, after all, ensured our way into the cult. No more dreading the door.
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