Reviewed by Lakshminarasimhan & Aanand.
Good or bad the semester exams came to an end. In spite of my asking them not to come, mom and dad were there just after the last exam. Mom tried her best to convince me to come home. I kept telling her that I had some work regarding college symposium.
Mom must have really felt very lonely at home, but I had promised Shantanu that I would stay back in hostel and try to help him out in the organizational activities. Dad was convinced that I must involve myself in extra-curricular activities for the better.
I had been home only once in the past semester as I was busy making up for the lost classes, and spending time with Shantanu. I myself felt guilty about missing mom. Finally I agreed to stay at home for 4 days. I packed my things and naturally, Anu was with me and we left for our home. I texted Shantanu about it.
Mom showered all her love in the four days. I really felt bad about leaving her back. At times it felt like I would better take her with me and stay in a home in the city where I studied.
Finally with just the tears missing in mom’s eyes we were back to college. I promised mom to come home whenever possible. She started calculating all the national and regional holidays I had in the next semester.
At college we were busy with the arrangements for the year’s major cultural event and the college symposium. Shantanu bugged himself with both these events. He also started worrying that the next year he may not be able to do both these, as in 4th year one can have only one top position.
Shantanu dreamed of arranging A.R.Rahman’s concert for the cultural fest. But it was one big deal and a college event can’t collect that much funds to bring in such a legend. The recession had hurt all our usual sponsors and we had nowhere to go for more funds.
I tried calling my dad to ask for some contacts in the industries to get us sponsors. Dad being the state’s Home Secretary felt it would be power abuse if he recommended for sponsors from any industry. But he still gave us contacts without him personally asking them anything.
We walked into almost every name in the list of registered companies. We did get some funds but they were not even near the required amount for Rahman’s concert and we had to get funds for our college symposium which we could never compromise upon. That symposium was something that identified our college amongst the international students’ community.
Once, after we walked out of a company who said ‘sorry’ flatly, Shantanu was very fed up and we sat for a while in the company’s premises to have coffee. I tried to comfort him. He just looked up into my eyes and said, “I love you”. I didn’t know why he did so. But he must have been in some state that he felt he had lost everything, yet he had me.
I gave him courage to carry on. I bet not even the heroes of 80’s movies about unemployment would have climbed the steps of so many companies, but we the students of one of the very best institutes of the country did. The happy thing about all this was we traveled in a bike. I sat at the pillion holding on to Shantanu, meanwhile covering my face with a cloak avoiding the eyes of anyone who knew my dad or anyone of my 2 gramps.
We were near the end of our semester holidays. We came back from a day full of begging for sponsors and sat in our college canteen. We had fresh juice and Shantanu said, ‘I love you’ for the nth time and I as usual reassuringly said, “I love u too honey.”
He grew too sentimental and thanked me like a 3rd person for all that I did. I felt proud of supporting my better half in what he did. Shantanu was stubborn that I go back to academics after college reopens. Shantanu gave up all hope of making things big.
Back in college we were expecting our 5th sem results. Shantanu for the first time in life was looking forward his results. He did pretty well in both Distributed Systems and Networks. He had very good internals in those subjects. I had also made up well in the 2nd and 3rd assessments and had good internals. Shantanu was still so concerned about my GPA.
He seemed to have almost forgotten his stock trading in the recent times. Later I found out that as he was doing short term trading and had alerts dropping in his mobile inbox to make the right move at the right time. He made good profits.
Big-shots in the college had also brought in sponsors regardless of the side they supported during the elections. This is the best part of student life. How many ever disputes we had, nevertheless we were all united together when it came to the college’s reputation. Kiran had also become a good ally and all of us killed ourselves to make this bigger or at least not let the recession hurt our caliber.
Shantanu as in his Stock trading shifted focus from A Class to mid cap and small caps. We asked for sponsors from budding businesses in smaller amounts. We accumulated enough funds for our college symposium from this new strategy.
But the cultural fest and the concert were of no hope. We had very little funds to carry on the usual stuff and not to think of the concert. Shantanu was a bit crest-fallen. He cursed all the banks and financial institutes for being the primary reason for the recession. He cursed the entire American economy and globalization in desperation.
It was fun listening to his curses. At times I was unable to control myself from laughing, and he felt so very annoyed at this. I did feel sad for not being able to get his dreams to reality.
Like the popular saying, “If you run with all your might the world will run for you” Shantanu’s sprint was followed by the entire college. Everyone bugged themselves to do something to collect funds. A junior once funnily recommended that we try robbery. Another opined that we collect money from all the students.
Finally someone suggested that we go for charging tickets for the concert. But that needed an extensive set of formalities like getting permission from the Vice Chancellor, Dean, the Estate office and half a dozen other authorities with most of them being skeptical of anything of this sort.
Shantanu in his final desperate attempt wrote the requisition letters to all the offices and started walking into those offices with the final piece of hope.
How many types of friends are there?
5 days ago