Week Three – Part I…The Horror Show

…….continued from week two

Its ‘party time’ , first of our official outing was about to get off. I was even more excited as I had heard about “Ramoji Film City” as a very beautiful and interesting place. It can be described as a very big film studio, due to its vast geographical boundaries it was called as a city. It was a virtual world which we often come across in our Bollywood movies, television commercials/serials and other regional movies. Railway Station with a train that could not move, Airport with a stationary aircraft and a Palace for all the historical and mythological shootings were some of the major attractions.

We were travelling by a bus, it was not a “Volvo” make, not even our own “Tata”, it was something else altogether. But it accommodated all of us and that was the best part. We sang and danced all through the way, everybody trying to mark his/her signature move for others to see and appreciate. I also participated, though one step only and that was more than enough for a dancer of my class. Our South Indian friend from Nagpur and “Nawaab” were the constant movers and shakers till we reached our destination. I also remember our Kerelite friend singing “Guzaarish”, a hindi song from the movie “Ghajini”, if you judge it on technical grounds it was pathetic but still we all enjoyed it.

We reached the place and started our tour. It was a different world altogether, had it not been for the other locals who had come to visit the place we would have mistaken it for “Disney World”. I have never been to “Disney World” so don’t blame me if the above comparison was improper in any sense. So, we enjoyed a lot, lots of shows, activities and rides made our day. And who can forget the amazing ride of “Twister”, at first it looked scary but then as everybody was going in for a ride I hopped in as well.

“Haalat kharaab ho gayi usme baith kar, duniya ghoom gayi…”  (“Didn’t feel good after the ride, world went upside-down”), and I am sure it went the same way for the most of us though they won’t admit it thinking it as a sign of weakness.

It would be a grave injustice if I don’t mention the “gardens of Ramoji”. “Awesome” is the only expression that I can use. “Agar India me har garden ko aise maintain karke rakhein to West se zyaada khoobsoorat lage humaara Hindustan…”(“If each and every garden in India is maintained like this then India will be more beautiful than any of the western countries…”), I said to myself.

Well, we went ahead to create a lot more “bawaal” and decided to join the “rain dance”. It was a thoroughly enjoyed event and one would think that it would have been an “all guys show”, but not to be, we had a female participant as well. She had her own style of doing things and was a much better fit in the Campus environment than most of us. We later coined her as “dabangg” due to her frank behaviour and unique style. Her activities in the weeks to follow would make her earn the prestigious “Bajrang Dal” membership though the same was also supported by some solid “jaan-pehchaan”(“references”)  from the “table tennis fraternity”.

So, the “rain dance” was a “bawaal”, rightly put by my table tennis champion friend,“Paani me aag laga di thi…”(“We set the water on fire…”). He is tall and thin, I mean very slim and loves his cellphone. A good dancer, he likes to enjoy life slowly and steadily which was evident in our “official meetings” as well. One of my best friends today, we both share one common feeling, “zindagi ko enjoy karo, duniya jaaye bhaad me” (“enjoy the life as it comes, to hell with this world”). Also, his traditional “haoo..” for “haan”(“yes”) will always be remembered by me due to its unique style and dialogue delivery.

On our way back, we again sang and danced in our bus, though the ‘original zeal’ was somewhat missing, blame it on the ‘tired nature’ of passengers or ‘wet clothing’ of rain dance participants. It was raining heavily by the time we had covered almost half the distance to our campus and the ‘natural showers’ suddenly stopped as we deboarded at our destination, what a perfect timing!

You can’t beat time by any stretch of imagination. Even if you try to avoid the anxiety for a scheduled scheme of things it will certainly make you more conscious just before the happening of the event, I call it as ‘the vacuum phase’ just because it provides no medium to accommodate any kind of thoughts. Very well versed with the above philosophy I still tried to outwit the invincible but gradually as I was making my way back to the room I realized that its time for “The Horror Show”, its time for “CA Final Results”. Still one day was left for the ‘D-day’ and that was even more ‘horrific’.

Next day was very quite with all the ‘Result buzz’ in the air. On our special request to one of the Council members who was also a faculty that day, we were granted a half-day leave for the next day which was to be the day of “The Horror Show”.

I can never forget the uneasiness and the sunken feeling of that night. I also believe that the same was experienced by all, and if not by all then atleast by the members of the so-called “formal meetings” as we were up all night trying to overcome “The Horror Show”. We were chatting, singing, dancing and joking with each other pretending to be not at all bothered about the ‘mysterious consequences’ that were to follow.

Who in this world doesn’t want to be successful? In every expression, “Jo hoga dekha jaayega, main zyaada tension nahi leta”(“I’ll take things as they come, I don’t bother much about the future”), there’s a very strong sense of request to the Almighty for a positive outcome.

So, we spent all night doing something or the other and as the “cruel morning” approached everybody went to sleep except for me and my Table Tennis champion friend as both of us decided to enjoy some early morning Table Tennis practice. But after an hour or so we also decided to part our ways to our respective rooms and take a ‘power nap’ before “The Horror Show” began.

I woke up to a thumping sound on the door,“aa gaya shaayad”(“I think it’s out”). I had never been so keen to ignore any such disturbances, it was quite evident till now that “The Horror Show” had already begun. My roommate, as always, was not responding at all. Finally, I gathered some courage and hopped out of my bed to unlock the door.

A short guy with spectacles on came rushing in and announced, “Roll Number bol”(“Tell me your Roll Number”).  I asked him, “Result aa gaya kya?”(“Has the Result been declared?”).

He is short, academically intelligent and a punctual professional. His ‘punctuality’ became popular as he used to set an alarm even for the washing of clothes in the washing machine. May be it was just a rumour, but I never objected on the same as his personality seemed quite capable of doing such a thing. Moreover, his patented dialogue with his right hand raised in confidence,“CS qualified Sir!” was a frequent phenomena. To be very frank, he was so well-disciplined that some of us sometimes thought that life is really tough if you want to lead it ideally.

“Haan! Tu apna Roll Number Bataa”.(“Yes! You just tell me your Roll Number”), he murmured doing something with his cellphone. Meanwhile my roommate woke up and arranged his laptop and internet connection. We asked our visitor about his result and he smiled and gave the ‘good news’. We congratulated him and said we would prefer the laptop screen instead of the cellphone display, though nothing would matter now.

Slowly, there was a gang of hopeful students in my room. I was slipping myself away from the crowd to give time to my nervousness and anxiety but the sheer excitement to know others’ fate drew me closer towards the laptop screen.

One of the participants punched his roll number, “passed” was the call from the ICAI server. The score was very good so he also checked the merit,“Bingo! Rank 21!” He rushed out of the room in joy but we couldn’t follow him to witness his celebrations for obvious reasons. Next one was the same, a change in numerals only,“Rank 28” this time. This was getting heavier for me now, I was not jealous instead the hope to pass was ever-growing.

My roommate was the next one to punch in, “passed” was the call again, not a very high score but still in CA a first attempt crack is worth appreciating. He was very happy and excited, crying out high and loud, but to my surprise he stood his ground holding my hand to take me through the climax of “The Horror Show”. On the other hand, I was feeling that it would be “curtains” for me as the trend of falling scores had already started. I still wish that I had a wrong feeling.

Failed” was the call from the wretched ICAI server (obviously for me only). Everybody was quite, I got up, informed my parents and went to sleep.

Sleeping was also not easy but was better than being awake. When I woke up, it was already lunch time and some of my friends including those who had a similar kind of outcome as mine  were there with me in my room. We discussed somethings just to support each other and decided to carry on our journeys with the same passion and intensity. Though it sounds very spiritual and intellectual but mark my words it was really helpful. We were soon “artificially smiling” searching for the real ones somewhere in others’ happiness.

I dressed up and went into the amphitheatre where the newly qualified Chartered Accountants were celebrating. Though a misfit there, I approached everyone and congratulated. And not to forget, I also enjoyed the ‘controversial cake’.

Class kicked off with some music and everybody was seen dancing, I clapped for everybody in appreciation – they truly deserved it. The topic for the day was ‘Communication’ and our faculty started speaking about “The Horror Show” itself. Well, I can’t disclose the remarks that I had used for him at that point of time for deviating from the topic but the gravity of the situation can be easily understood by my action of leaving the classroom immediately. I went to my room and slept. I don’t remember much about that evening except for the fact that each passing second felt like the cut of a knife on my body.

“Life goes on!” is what people say and we had one of the most ‘talked about’ class scheduled for the next day. 

to be continued to Week Three – Part II……..



Week Two…..Strangers become Friends

……continued from week one

We reached the Campus gate. There’s no escape now, “ab to aar yaa paar..!!” (“it’s now or never”), my heart said to me. There’s something about breaking rules, the urge is so strong and enticing that you can barely resist it.  

I was carrying a bag, it was a sack actually, full of something. As I was trying to rush in with Dada (one of my batchmates), who was screening me from the guards, a voice stopped me,“Sahab! borey me kya hai?” (“Sir, what’s inside the sack?”). Before I could react or Dada could make a move the security guy announced,“Sir, checking hogi..!!”(“Sir, I will have to check”). I whispered to myself,“lo, ho gaya bawaal” (“time for another bawaal”). But Dada is really ‘a Dada'(‘a senior person’) in its true literary sense, he rushed on towards the guard in one of his very unique ways, ” Ohh..ho!! Pandit Jee, tum bhi kaisi baatein karte ho, bacche hain khaane-peene ka samaan to laayenge hee..!!”(“Pandit Jee, kids will obviously bring something with them to eat”). The guard smiled, I thought Dada’s magic words had worked, but he took the sack from my hands and started searching. Every voice was now echoing between my ears like it does when water seeps into your ears while taking a bath.

Checking stopped,“Sab theek hai Sahab, par itni cold drinks ka aap kya karoge?”(“Sir, everything’s alright, but what would you do with so much of cold drinks?”), the guard asked casually. Dada chipped in,“bacche hain, pee lenge.”(“kids will have it”).

I was still surprised,”COLD DRINKS…haha..!!”, not very much though because we were not idiots and the thing that shouldn’t have happened didn’t happen, we escaped. 

So now we were rich enough to celebrate and skip regular canteen meals provided in the campus. And please don’t talk about breakfasts, I have had it just four times in the canteen out of the whole forty-two days and I am sure I am the record holder though there are some close competitors for the title as well. Our batch had a significant majority from Northern India and I can guarantee nobody enjoyed the South Indian cuisine after the initial couple of days. I remember one of my friends saying,“bhai” as we used to call each other,“Yaar Manish, saale roz-roz ye idli-dosa kaise khaa paayenge yaar, tuu khud bataa bhai?”(“How can we have idli-dosa for every meal?”). Another one used to say,“Oye, kuchh paranthe-puronthe, ghee-makhan to hona chahiye na naashte me.”(“Breakfast should at least have paranthe and butter”).Well who could resolve this issue better than the man himself – ‘Dada’. He requested the same with the administration and soon some North Indian cuisines were introduced in the breakfast menu.

The mysterious contents of the ‘controversial sack’ were deposited in the secure boundaries of ‘Room 310′ the room that no participant of our batch could ever forget. Why was it so secure? There were no cipher or bolting door locks to make it secure, in fact, only a few know that even the cupboard planks were broken. So, how was it secure then? The answer is simple, the brand ‘310’ in itself was so notorious and infamous that nobody ever dared to breach the code of conduct to be maintained. It would also be important here to mention that the brands “Bajrang Dal” and “310” were synonyms, the latter being the ‘registered office’ of the most popular and populated group.

Weekend gone, I was a common friend to most of my batchmates but a best friend with none. As soon as this thought came to my mind the world adjusted itself once again to solve my problems. I was sitting with a guy with high-power spectacles on, naah…he was not a bookworm, in fact he is one of my best friends today. He was  very conscious about his looks and carried an amazing artistic talent. We used a term “introvert” for him a little later towards the end of the batch. We knew each other, but not very well, though everything was going to change now.

The Lecture was in progress, it was the second session before lunch and everybody was yawning and waiting for the lunch. He tapped me and asked to read something from his notebook, I glanced into the last page of his notebook. It read, 

“1. Puneet – Dada

 2. Kaushal – Baba

 3. Kiran  – Nawaab

 4. Somani – Boka

5. Manish – Tom “

“Wow..!!” was my reaction and we are still known by these names by our batchmates. I don’t know the reason behind such ‘naamkaran'(‘naming’) but it was cool, each one of us enjoyed it. Many other pet-names emerged as well and I will discuss them in the ‘weeks’ to follow.

It’s hard to imagine as to what impact would a simple act of naming each other would have on the relationship between individuals. I guess the meaning of the word ‘bhai’ was getting its true justice now. 

Soon after, the above people were coined as “the Promoters” of “Bajrang Dal”. First “official” meeting that is worth mentioning was between some of the Promoters and our batch’s Table Tennis champion which would follow. Now, the “official ” nature of this meeting was appreciated by all who participated and some significant disclosures were made. The meeting place was surprisingly changed due to the “official” nature of the meeting and the “controversial sack” was very useful. Meeting was followed by dinner, though from the campus canteen only, it was great for obvious reasons.

There was a lecture on Professional Etiquettes in the first week itself, some sweet memories cross my mind from that to. The lecture was very informative, the part that I enjoyed the most was the ‘newspaper dressing activity’ which taught us the art of dressing for the occasion and ‘the handshake courtesy’ in which we were practically informed not to get carried away and press the hand of a lady so tight that it would hurt her. The most surprising thing that day was that everybody was trying to act sophisticated and well-mannered, the results were quick but lacked permanency which was evident in the second week.

I was always late for the class, the main reason being our “official” meetings and the biggest problem “ironing”. I had never ironed my clothes myself before I came here. I took help from one of my batchmates from Kerela, the most humble and helping person that I have ever met in my life. In simple words,“bahut achha insaan”(“a beautiful human being”). He taught me to iron formal shirts which was something I was struggling with. Also, he didn’t understand and speak much of Hindi but conversing with him in English was very exciting.

Well, I think I should now talk about the ladies of the batch as well, they also deserve the much respected fame that our batch had to offer. I can’t say much about others but I was really afraid of all my female counterparts in the batch, especially after what had happened in Mr. Mathew Joseph’s lecture in the first week. But when I had to work in groups for tasks assigned in the class, the fear slowly vanished and everybody came along as very nice people, not the ones who would make you feel nervous or separated. And there were some beautiful ladies as well, seventeen of them, each in her very own way, though I reserve my right to have “favorites” which would never be officially announced in the time to come.

Our’s was a multi-geographical batch. There were people from states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,  Kerela and even Goa apart from the regulars like Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and the like. I think this was the most incredible learning than any of the regular course curriculum, India is really great, rightly said by someone,“yahan kos-kos pe paani badle, chaar kos pe baani”(“Water nature changes here each mile and there’s a different dialect every four miles”).

A lecture on “Goal Setting” by Mr. Gampa Nageshwar Rao in the first week was not something that I cherish a lot. I have high regards for the man but it went too far in the end and disturbed all of us emotionally, though it’s totally a personal view.

‘India 2025’ was our next activity, this task was assigned to us by none other than ‘Fungus’. We had to prepare a presentation on the topic in a group of five. Another controversy arose as to how the groups were decided. Obviously, it was rigged. What was the basis? Who did it? What was the purpose? Well, that’s confidential and even I am eager to get the answers even today.

I dressed so formally for the presentation that even the “British House of Lords” would have feared competing against me. This time I was wearing a tie, the same old deadly combination of white shirt, red tie and black trousers was making me anticipate some complements, yes from the ladies as well. But no success, I guess something was missing, fortunately I found it in the weeks to come.

The presentation went really well, everyone was good but “Nawaab” stole the show that day. He had managed to learn some beautiful lines from a bollywood movie ‘Namaste London’ and enacted it superbly. Well, he’s the guy who has this natural flair to communicate and impress. Good sense of humor and perfect timings are to his credits. We went along really nicely and both were a significant part of the “official” meetings. “Aage chalke badaa bawaal machaaya humne”(“We created a lot of fuss in the weeks to come”).

Classes went on, yoga sessions had started and the late risers tried their best to at least say “hello” to the yoga instructor once, but all in vain. I asked one of my friends to wake me up as he had a very loud pitch voice, so that would have helped. He was a South Indian from Nagpur so his expressions were from the “bambaiya dialect” only. He followed my instructions judiciously and banged my room’s door every morning, but I think I was least bothered about it and gave full priority to my sleep. No doubt, he had failed every time.

Weekend was near and this time a trip was planned to “Ramoji Film City”. 

to be continued…..