Saturday, March 28, 2009
Chronicles of Sathyabama - Part I (A Rule is a Rule)
No this is not a collection of my diary entries. This is a series of small anecdotes I plan to list down which speak volumes about an institute called Sathyabama University. I am not going to take any stands here neither am I going to express any opinions. I am going to narrate some events as they happened and rest is upto the readers to draw their own conclusions. However, while you read them, do remember that while these may seem interesting facts and stories to you, someone has had to go through all this.
It was my first University Exam (thats what we used to call our End-Semester exams) at Sathyabama University. I had reached the place after failing to make it through IIT JEE by a whisker and I have never been able to forgive myself ever since. I had to do well in these exams. I had to prove a point. However, ever since I had joined this institute, I wasn't sure my life was going the right way. For the past 6 months I had had occasional chances to interact with the outer world (outside the hostel) and not enough freedom to pursue my interests. And so, the person entering the exam hall was not in the best of his spirits.
"Hello Mr.! You will have to go and get permission from the examination office. You can't write the exam like this". I wasn't sure at first that the remark was addressed to me. But then I saw what I would consider one of the ugliest faces I have seen staring at me.
"But Ma'am, what have I done?", I asked.
"You are NOT clean shaved Mr.", was a stern reply.
"But Ma'am, I just shaved yesterday!! And Ma'am isn't it a very trivial issue? I mean....afterall... what has shaving got to do with exams? Ma'am, its almost 9 o'clock. Please allow me in." I was a little surprised and a little worried too because almost everyone was in and the exam was about to begin. Still I said that with a smile so as to sound casual.
"Don't you understand English? What did I just tell you? Don't you know the rules? When you come to college you MUST BE CLEAN SHAVED. UNDERSTAND? Now and go and get the permission otherwise I won't let you in." She was in no mood to buzz.
"Ma'am you can't be serious!! you very well know that going to exam office and getting permission would mean at least 20 mins lost. And...and...all this for what? For not being CLEAN SHAVED??? Even if you allow me in, who would ever question you on that?? It's a university exam ma'am...it's not a joke..please hand me the question paper." I could see the minutes hand on the clock just three strokes behind 12 and frustration began to build upon me. And that is when she spoke those words which I had to listen to at least 100 times more over the next 4 years. And believe me, each time it was equally painful.
"Sorry!! A RULE IS A RULE!! You must abide by the rules."
I knew I had no choice. One last look at the clock and I ran like a mad man. Going to the examination office was out of question for them being any more merciful was highly improbable. So I ran towards the hostel gate. 1 min lost. I reach there and ask the guard to let me inside as I had to shave, else I wouldn't be allowed in the exam.
"The gates close at 8:30. You aren't supposed to enter before 11:30 now", he said.
"But Bhaiya please, its urgent. Please I beg of you. Let me in. i'll be back in less than 2 mins", I was literally pleading. But the smile on his face said it all. There is no pleasure greater for a watchman when a person trillion times more educated and cabable than him is pleading in front of him. "No chance! Rule is a Rule", he said and for the second time in 5 mins those words had hit me.
As I started running from there I could hear the bell marking the start of the exam. With my heart beating faster, I ran towards the back of the hostel. It was while the watchman was saying those golden words that this idea struck me. I used the 2ft x 2ft cut in the wall (made to enable the evening canteen guys to serve snacks) to sneak into the hostel. A minte later I was in my room and a minute after that i was almost done shaving. I could see numerous cuts on my chin and neck but I had to no time to wash them. I wiped my face with a towel and ran back. Fortunately enough my breaking into the hostel was not traced by the watchmen, else I could have landed into deeper trouble. A jump through the same cut in the wall where my shirt picked a few sauce stains and I wa again running back to the exam hall. 6 past 9 and I was there. A drop of blood met my shirt's collar before I could wipe it as I called out,"Excuse me Ma'am...hmpf..hmpf...Ma'am....I am clean shaved now...please can I be allowed to write my paper now...hmpf hmpf....?"
Around 70 pair of eyes looked at me in utter disbelief as I stood at the gate asking for my paper. She had no choice but to give it to me as she muttered,"I don't know how you pulled that off but make sure you follow the rules from the next time!"
As I sat to write down my paper, wiping my chin and neck with the other hand, I couldn't stop myself from shouting out,"Ma'am you know what? That was the most ridiculous and illogical thing a person can do what you just did to me. It's absolutely foolish. You have not only lost my respect today but have also proved how big a sadist you are!"
What followed after that became a regular story in my journey at Sathyabama where I said all sorts of things to the lecturers and Professors and they in turn tried their best to screw me. However, as they say - History is written by the victorious, here I am, writing one!!
P.S. - Ever since that day, I am not particularly known for following rules :P