H YD E RAB AD A Lost Dream of Three
Ashik Kumar Satheesh firstname.lastname@example.org
The Spark “Our seniors had gone for a one day trip to Veega Land without the college tag of “Industrial Visit” (and the abundant rules that comes along with it), then why not we go too?”. Far less known, but this is where the idea of the 6 day fun trip to Hyderabad got ignited. Learning in a Private Engineering College is in itself a tough time. Add to it unreasonable restrictions on the only fun days of B.Tech, Industrial Visit (basically an excursion). Even after multiple attempts, our college wouldn’t budge. Can you believe it, you can’t go on a tour during College! Even in schools, we had 5 days of unlimited fun. Frustrated, and angered as I was, I couldn’t just give in. It is the right of every Engineering student of India to go for an Industrial Visit. 3 days for Second years, 5 days for Third years, and a 10 day All-India one for the Final years. What sort of College denies this? An excursion is, was and will always be an indispensable part of a College student, be it Engineering, Medicine or Arts. It is a journey of unity, a feather to our memories. Come on, those are the days to be remembered, the fun, the journey. Of all the 14 years in school, the memories that are etched in gold are those few days of tour we get each year. Can any sort of Management aiming for the overall development of the students deny it? College is a place for the development of one’s personality and excursions and friendship associated with it are subtle, but important part of this development. The people who head a college were also students one day. Let me ask you one question, do you remember the regular classes u had everyday or the few days you spent outside with friends, laughing the hell out of yourself? Then why deprive us of it? I do not know. I could not see any right in the Management’s decision. I understand the risks involved, but what is life without risks. I couldn’t let the days pass by and stand on the last day of our class and bid farewell without these precious days. I just couldn’t stand there and let them steal it from my life. Well, you get the picture right. How can I not be frustrated? ***
An Idea to a Movement So I put my idea of an unofficial trip in our class’s FaceBook page and waited for other’s reactions. Meanwhile, I called up my best friend Paathu and asked her opinion about all these. She too was distraught not having an Industrial Visit even as we enter our last year. We decided to go forward. I was so desperate that I even went to meet our VicePrincipal face-to-face ‘alone’ to try for an official one for the last time. But she asked me to “study first and then go for Industrial Visit” (only Paathu knew of this). It just proved it to me again, that my College Management only wanted marks from its students and did not aim for the overall development of its students. It turned out to be of no use, but at least I tried. So I and Paathu split the work of asking everyone. She’d get the girls and I’d get the boys. We started messaging every one of our classmates. The girls as usual, replied “Who all are there?” I never get why they keep asking this question for every plan. Why can’t it be “Wow? I want to go. I’ll get ‘X’ to come too”. Why do they have to be spoon fed? Do you have no interest of your own? Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s the truth. Things started moving slowly. No one seemed interested. Not even boys, except for a few. It was like me and Paathu were begging others to have fun. What a situation yaar! But things changed one day. What turns an idea into a movement is the first follower. And we had ours. It was Deeraj. One day I lost my temper after getting very poor response from my friends. I was angered seeing my friends brainwashed to such an extend, that they couldn’t think for themselves. I took all my emotions into my thumbs and started typing, sitting alone in a classroom at the Solutions tuition centre. You should know, if my mind is really disturbed, I’m pretty good at stirring people through my words. I lost that sms, else I’d have put it here. I had nearly finished pouring all my emotions into a 5 page sms when Deeraj came walking into that classroom. He was stirred, and I asked him to forward that sms to everyone.
And what do you know, things started working out. I’m not exactly sure how or why, but I guess everyone thought that Deeraj wrote that emotional sms. Maybe seeing a third person (other than me and Paathu) so deeply interested, stirred them too. It did the trick. Girls and boys moved from “No” to “I’ll try”. They were much more interested. ***
The Biggest Hurdle
The biggest hurdle in getting an entire class together is getting Girls. So to tackle that, Paathu came up with the brilliant idea to take parents as our guardians with us, instead of teachers. What an idea yaar! So the task shifted to canvassing Parents. Avinav’s mom was the first to come forward (after long pressure from Avi of course). Aninav’s mom was instrumental in the success of this plan. She even wrote a letter to our Head of the Department claiming the responsibility of all the students! His dad helped schedule things at Hyderabad and got a good place for our lodging too. The whole plan would have failed had it no been for them. Other parents too came forward soon, Darshana’s mom and dad, Deeraj’s Mom. Finally we got 4 parents to accompany us. Now girl’s parents were much more confident in letting them go. The plan started picking momentum. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It took nearly 2 months to get 4 parents and all the girls. The major share in this was played by Paathu. She was really excited about the trip and wanted everyone in it. She knew the game of girls. Like I said, girls ask us who all are coming and they don’t bother asking among themselves. They have their own share of girl fights and egos. Paathu played on this. It was quiet brilliant. If a girl, say ‘X’, said “I’ll try to come”, when she is out canvassing another girl, say ‘Y’, she would say, “hey, you coming right, A is there, B is there and even X is coming”. How neat huh (sh! It is a secret, don’t tell anybody okay). It works every time you know, and girls started fighting to come. All these planning, scheduling, canvassing, money collection, ticket booking and all the other small stuffs were done in between our university exams. It was tough paying attention to my studies, when everyday I wake up dreaming of the trip I’d be taking this semester break. Four months later, when the result of that semester was published, I found the prize I paid. But thanks to God’s grace I did not get a supplementary paper. Till this date, I have never felt any regret for it, because I had a hell lot of fun planning and dreaming of that trip than I would have had studying head over heels.
The sad part came when one day when we were congratulating each other for taking this idea this far, we forgot the crucial part played by my Paathu. The saddest thing is that even me myself, her best friend forgot. Since that day, she stayed back from all the planning. Even to this day, I feel terribly wrong forgetting her. ***
Well, things moved on and who would have known that the 2 main people who came up with the idea, who made the entire plan, wouldn’t be making that very trip! Yes, after all this, I and Paathu (and Pauli) couldn’t make the trip, our dream. The unexpected happened just 10 days before the train’s whistles were to blow. Our university exams were over and I started having a minor stomach pain, which I usually get. I did not pay much attention to it. But it did not go away the next day or the next. My mom suspected it was appendicitis, and a check-up revealed her doubt to be true. I was just 7 days from the biggest trip I have ever planned, and there I was sitting in the waiting room of the Sunrise Hospital, being admitted for an Operation. Yes, a surgery. The 24 hours in that hospital is in itself another story, and I’ll share it with you some other day. Though an operation hinted that I might not be able to make the trip, I was hopeful as it was to be a keyhole surgery. I couldn’t even come to think that I wouldn’t be making my dream trip. I threw out such thoughts. I was discharged the next day. The remaining 6 days started flying by. The date of the journey got nearer and nearer. I waned to go, but my parents were afraid of my health. I know they too wanted me to go, at least a part of them. But they were afraid of what others would say if something happened to me. I did not know what I wanted. A part of me wanted to pack my bags and leave on my own wish, at least then my parents won’t be blamed. I wish I had the courage to do it, I really do. A part of me wanted to listen to my parents. I was in a dilemma. The last 2 days before the journey were the most traumatic of all. The deep desire to make your dream come true and my helplessness to stand for it tore me into pieces. Paathu kept asking me to come. Eby asked me to stand for what I want. Avinav and his mother came and asked my parents to let me go. All that time, had I the courage, I wish. I did not know what was right or wrong, I still haven’t figured it out.
The emotional strain I had during those few days are so strong that thinking of it even today, makes it hard for me to breathe. I was hurt, helpless and most of all frustrated at my self. A few months before, I was angry at my friends for not standing for what they wanted, and there I was right in their shoes. Immersed with anger, frustration, and doubt, I decided to listen to my parents and stay back, after all they only want good things for you. But looking back today, I realize that they were not wrong in what they did, but I was wrong in what I did. A crow needs to jump down to learn to fly and not hide under the mother’s wings. I learned that I need to a take my life into my hands to know if I can fly or not. I hope I get the courage to do it, without hurting my parents. So I stayed back and watched others enjoy the plan I made, my sweat, my everyday dream of 4 months. My day was made when my dear friend Paathu said she did not feel like going without me. Now this wasn’t just a dialogue. She really did not want to go and I could feel it in every single word of hers. I did not know if I did the right thing by not going, but I do know that I was wrong in asking Paathu to stay back. Had I the courage to tell her to go and enjoy the dream we built together! I even asked Pauli to stay back too. Over time, I have apologized to both of them. But both of them dismiss it saying “had they gone, our project would have been a disaster”, their modesty. But I feel sorry for sealing those precious memories from them. Pauli still remembers the day, staring at our train passing by right in front of his eyes, our classmates laughing and playing, while we sat in my house managing a fake smile, so as not hurt the other. Dedicated to Fathima Sherin K (Paathu)-my Dearest, Best, Special Friend Anwin Pauly (Pauli) - Sorry mate ******