Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dee See Eeeeh


Spring, 2004. Vipin and I had been moaning on habitually, just outside the gate of a curiously quiet DSOI club at the centre of the bustling Dhaula Kuan, at how we had landed up in the mess we had landed up in. Our pre-board results had been declared the previous day, and with the kind of performance we had put up, securing our admit-cards for the board exams from the school authorities, we were sure, wasn't going to be a very pleasant experience. My Dad had been called to meet the Principal in person, and I feared the exchange in the Principal's office was bound to be topped by another exchange, back at home in the evening. We were supposed to be bright students once, weren't we, I mused. What had happened?

'I wouldn't know. If I did, I wouldn't be here.' Vipin quipped and jumped to his feet dusting off his backsides soiled by the footpath, and returned briefly with another burger from the roadside dweller.

'What at all do you ever know?' I finally spoke, only after I had taken a big buttery bite off his burger.

'Really, if you hadn't woken me up from my slumber, I was flunking for sure! I think I should be rather satisfied now, you know…' he said in a manner filled with gratitude, his involuntary wriggling with his plate away from me belying it all at once.

We had gathered here en route to DCE; we knew we weren't going to get through the entrance exam, and since there's nothing to be ashamed of after all these years, let me admit that we had even thought of repaying our many little movie-ticket debts with this money we had got from our respective Dads for the admission forms. Soon enough, a third, balanced classmate who was in complete control of his senses, or whose Dad exercised complete control over his senses, arrived, and like the jeannie of his Dad's lamp, held us by our collars into the DTC bus to Peeragarhi.

More than an hour had passed, and from the looks of it more than an hour remained. The two of us had been relentlessly passing lavatorial jokes all victimising this third classmate of ours, and by now he was no longer on talking terms with us, really. Under an unwritten contract Vipin and I never cracked these ruthless jokes on each other, and a lull had come over the journey.

'Make sure we don't get through this entrance test' Vipin whispered as if we were otherwise surely going to. 'Our lives will be hell, take that from me.'
'Goes without saying.' I replied matter-of-factly, or pretending to be so.

Lull resurfaced.

Shortly, Vipin sprang on me with the suggestion of chucking the rest of the journey and that of asking this classmate to get the forms for all of us. I didn't protest; it seemed quite a practical suggestion. We both asked him if he could do the needful, and as if already waiting to get rid of us, he took the money from us in a fit of petulance and immediately started peering out of the window as if into some rare spectacular sight, though from what I recall I could only catch a glimpse of a much-in-demand public toilet, before the urgent elbowing of the passengers pushed us out on the road at the nearest bus-stand.

Broke I sat for an hour with Vipin dreaming up the latest flick in my head, and nodding absent-mindedly to plans for attending an upcoming concert he thought would rock; provided of course that we're granted the money - a bleak possibility after our recent accomplishments. Then I returned home hesitatingly, to, a locked door. My parents were at the Principal's office still, I guessed. 'Long, long meeting it's been. Shit!'

Thus died prematurely what could have been my first brush with DCE.

* * *


Six months had passed since that day, with a lot of exams sandwiched in between. We, and this still refers to Vipin and I, made it to none of them. Alright, let’s be fair, we did get a little. But what we wanted, we didn’t get; what we got, nobody wanted.

I missed both IITJEE and DCE by a whisker, and this spurred crazy hopes in my heart that some discipline for a year and I’ll be decorated with a geekish pose on every newspaper, my name printed with a golden font amid glorifying praises. More importantly, I was somehow dead sure that seeing this, at least one of my Dad’s many friends who, I always held a suspicion, took birth only so that they could one day cast their offer to marry their beautiful daughters off to me, would surely have the good sense of bringing alive their bollywood-lessons learnt by suggesting to my Dad ‘kyun na iss dosti ko rishtedari mein badal dein’. But the initial motivation soon whittled out as we, Vipin and I, okay, I and Vipin, turned neurotic film buffs, the kind most people only hear about in folklore. We saw every goddamn movie that released, a lot of them twice over, so much so that by the time we had once gone to see Veer-Zaara and were almost returning disheartened by the Full-House noticeboard, the ticket clerk was gracious enough to voluntarily insinuate us into the balcony with folding-chairs in our hands! I did not know then that later one coveted temptress was to find all these tickets out and guess that they must have been dates, and I would have to smudge mystery around the whole thing with a sentence as cleverly cheesy as ‘Well, I wouldn’t say that they were dates.’ No untruth in that statement, no truth either, if you look at it. I may expand this part indefinitely, I may do this, I may do that, I won’t. The whole thing, anyway, is supposed to be about DCE.


may be continued


  1. Next installment keenly awaited.

  2. Should soon be up. There's much more to omit in there than to write :)

  3. Pretty much the same emotions for me.... Honestly, was never worthy enough of even getting a shot at DCE owing to my HEROICS in 11th and 12th!! Luckily, Board results were out a week before CEE, and one week of Arihant's 10Year is what pushed me in....

  4. I wish I had tried the 10-year, would have been placed in Google today. Damn! [the typical hollow braggart's proud neck-swing follows] ;)

  5. Nifty and crisp :)
    I like the detailing you do for certain part and some other vestiges left to the reader's imagination.

    The penumbral portrayal is indeed charming.

  6. Hey thanks; I'll have to say it's the reader's imagination that makes it worthwhile, otherwise it's all uninspiring stuff - red report cards, crowded bus-ride, empty pockets, surrendered journey, locked door. Blah!

  7. You know what! Read through the inanimate objects you've mentioned and all of em have a philosophical element attached to it.

    Red Report Cards - Danger!
    Crowded bus ride - one amongst many.
    Empty pocket - broke but affluent in zest?
    Surrendered journey - The night is darkest before the crack of dawn. :)
    Locked door - Enigma!

    Writer's imagination is reader's stimulus to take that imagination to next level, the prognosis lies with the writer. :)

  8. Just the thing I'd want to hear :)

    Yes, what you say is true. My point was that the reader plays a very important role; there is 'apparently' nothing here, and without the discriminating reader it is a narration susceptible to falling flat. I was actually trying to compliment you after being delighted with the word 'penumbral' :)

  9. I often relate to things through my childhood reminisces, more accurately, observations. They, just like the intuitive prescience of inertia in a child, only get stronger with time, for me.

    I find your blog in semblance with a magic box which procures the object of one's desire, only when she truly wishes for it. And, then it silently vanishes as if it was never there.

    If you unlike me, take comfort in science than in magic, picture this - remember magic colouring books which reveal shapes, figures as you deluged the pages with watery hues?

    Your blog is like that too, revealing *words that might be magic*, bit by bit.

  10. It's my honest opinion that, if at all there's something so good about all of it so as to be compared to something as divine as a magic-box, it must be in the reading of it more than in the writing of it.

    I take time to write (and don't just ramble 'spontaneous' claptrap), and my greatest gratitude is to those who take time to read (and don't just skim perfunctorily and comment). So, thank you.