This relates back to those days when I just happened to step into my third year in NUJS. Out of a total batch strength of around eighty to begin with, we were now left with some seventy odd. Few of them had flunked and few left the institution like the lady I was referring to previously. Some who had made it to the third year were struggling to cope with the academics and had a bleak future to look ahead. One such character was Tilak. A decent, calm, composed and introvert boy, Tilak was always quite weak in studies. He was, unfortunately, one of those guys who aspired to score the highest in exams, but could only manage just enough marks to pass. He put in more hours of studies than any of the brilliant guys around. But, I guess, he never knew what to study and the mode of writing marks-fetching answers in the exams. My interaction with him was quite minimal, but his case remains fresh in my album of memories, fresh enough to quote his account at this juncture.
Quite similar to the tales in movies, Tilak fell for Nisha, a charming girl in the same batch, who unsurprisingly happened to be amongst the high scorers. In fact, it actually surprised all of us to witness the courtship, as she was always known to be those academic freaks whose life centered around heaps of law books. But then, love in college is driven by an army of cupids, I believe. Just show your interest in it, and cupids come running for your life. This was the case with Tilak and Nisha. After the end semester vacations, we resumed classes only to see the two of them sitting together in the last row. This is, by far, the best indication of the blooming love between any couple. Quite amazed at the sight of the lady taking the last row, the rest of the batch applauded the choice of priority that she had undertaken. She, like any other ordinary mid ranker, chucked her note books and stopped taking notes. The fact that the rest of the class always depended upon the hundred pages of class notes distributed by her during exams took a back seat and, absolutely oblivious of the days to come, she began deriving the pleasure of a new chapter to her college life.
Tilak belonged to a very humble background with parents just managing to get him an educational loan. And he too was aware of his financial constraints, but never let anyone sympathise on him. Quite a self dignified person he was, for sure. But the moment love struck his life, he was a changed person. Taking loans from his friends for shopping and spending the rest on phone calls became a regular habit. The one thing that cupid doesn’t provide you with is the money to enjoy your love, which is the paramount parameter for any love story to meet a contended closure in college. Nisha, on her part ensured that the money spent by Tilak was well accounted for. Just like a true lady love, she purchased gifts for her boyfriend, money that would have otherwise been spent on law books and journals. Quite surprisingly, none of them foresaw the obvious future which loomed all over in the regular chats amongst the other classmates. In fact, I do remember Atul rendering his unwarranted advise to the couple, ceremoniously, only to fall before deaf ears and blind lovers. I always wondered why Atul was never taken seriously by others, even though he hardly proved wrong in anything he said. Anyways, nothing worse could have happened to Tilak as he was always a weak student to begin with. He performed pathetically in his projects and his gallows in the college became quite apparent. But as regards Nisha, we witnessed a phenomenon which could hardly be comprehended by anyone around.
A person who had never been second in submitting her projects, decided against submitting them altogether. Despite repeated warnings from the subject teachers and wise words from her friends, she could not submit any project for any of the subjects in that semester. After all, she was never the same old girl again. Love had propelled her into a world of dreams which was quite astronomically distant from the truths of reality. Some of us even ventured helping her by volunteering to partly complete her projects and gather class notes for her. But could a person who was catapulted so far away be possibly brought back to ground?
As could be easily predicted, she faired poorly even in her end-semesters and consequently was detained in four of the five subjects offered that semester. Quite ironically, Tilak managed to clear all the papers, though with poor marks. Our batch often exhibited its unity when the college authorities metted out injustice to one of our fellow mates. Detaining Nisha otherwise, would have certainly drawn the wrath of the class, but in this instance, it was a simple res ipsa. Her unspeakable callousness towards academics was only reflected in her results and we could never question the genuine marks of the college administration. However, just to make matters clear from our end, the class representative (much similar to a class prefect in high schools) had a chat with the Vice Chancellor only to be shown the door. Seeking a re-valuation of the subject marks meant shelling out half a grand for each. That calculated to a total of two thousand bucks in her case. Considering the terrible financial condition that she was undergoing consequent to her extravagant generosity in purchasing gifts for her boyfriend who had, in this case, happily managed to pass all his papers and save his back, the class decided to contribute for her revaluations. Evidently, this was the utmost that the class could do for her, taking into account the frequent counseling sessions that her friends used to render her. But, as was expected, our contributions failed to provide her anything more than an emotional comfort. The University’s decision of detaining her had made firm ground and had to prevail.
With utter remorse and disappointment, she had to bid adieu to the college as her parents summoned her back home and advised her against repeating a year in the college. We were infact hardly surprised by the decision she had arrived at, as this was the usual practice amongst detainees. It still perplexes me to imagine the excruciating impact such a step would ordinarily have on the career of a student, who having spent two years at an institution, decides to leave the institution with no alternate plans to take recourse to. It was a month later that we heard that she had joined a computer course in her home town. What was more fascinating, though unpleasant, for us to hear was that the couple had decided to call it a day and ‘break up’. It’s for no reason, I think, that Atul had said that gauging a woman’s mind was a task even God failed to succeed in. The odessey of a brilliant student, traversing the corridors of fame in the college, falling in love with an ‘ordinary’ guy, deciding to quit studies and thereafter leaving the college after being detained for poor performance in exams, is one kind of a tale which would perplex the best fiction authors.