‘So what do we do?’, asked V. It was around 1 pm in the afternoon and the heat had become unbearable. No one remained in college except for the four of us. At least no one in sight.
‘Let’s try the main gate, once again, shall we?’, I proposed. G shrugged, but A and V already started walking towards the main gate. The side gate was closed. There was a sekoority ( this is how G liked to spell) guarding it and he was not allowing us outside. Just ten minutes before he had let a gang of around twenty five to pass. We were either too late or plain unlucky.
‘I think we can try giving him something’, said A. I liked the idea and reached for my pocket. G went ahead and spoke to the sekoority. He seemed convinced and mumbled something smiling. About ten seconds passed. ‘Keep it on the table and leave’, he said.
So we left. Finally, we could take the one and half hour journey back home in the rickety bus that goes to the city. As we stepped outside and walked away from the gate, a car emerged out from the college and turned towards us. There was just one occupant, the driver of the car and no one else. Let’s call him X. It stopped just ahead of us and the man inside called us. We had no idea what to do. G went towards the car and had a chat with him. A, V and I watched from a distance.
‘He says he’ll drop us till Poonamalee’, said G, still standing next to the car. The three of us looked at each other and considered the offer for a minute. We could only sense the sweltering heat at that time and so we accepted it. A got into the car first and took the front seat next to X. V got in next, I sat in the middle and G was to my left at the back. ‘So you guys managed to get out, eh?’, said X. We said nothing. A conspicuously turned around to stare at us. ‘How?’, he asked. None of us said anything. ‘ Oh, never mind! I know how to find that out!’.
It was air conditioned and so none of us was sweating. But we still felt the heat. He went on. ‘ I just saw three girls telling the sekoority inside that they were not well. Later, I see them jumping the fence behind the cricket ground.’ We remained quiet.
Out of the blue he asked, ‘ So what do you think about the syllabus of the university?’. I had no idea what to say. G, the rebel that he is, started off. ‘ We cannot really comment on that as it is only our second semester. But right now, it doesn’t look good. Why are we, computer science students, made to study Engineering mechanics, physics, chemistry and mechanical workshop? The system needs a total revamp. The syllabus is messed up and requires some drastic changes. Blah Blah Blah’.
‘ I see’, said X and nothing more. A phone rang on the dashboard and it was right next to A. A picked it up and looked at the screen. He handed it over to X, saying ‘ X calling’. ‘Oh, that’s me. They are calling from my house. Tell them am driving and I’ll talk later’. A did the needful and kept the phone back on the dashboard. There was a slight hint of giggle on his face and you could tell he was trying very hard to suppress. Meanwhile, G, next to me was literally giggling. He would later say, ‘ Who the hell saves his home phone number under his own name da?!!’ I couldn’t control myself there. V was surprisingly composed and sitting quiet in his own world.
Then came the bomb. Poonamalee was just two minutes away. X asks, ‘ So do you know who I am?’ All of us shook our heads and looked at each other. X went on, ‘ I am X, the new IT Head of the Department. I’ve just come from blah blah and joined blah blah…’
Oh. My. God. A perfect colon pipe moment for all of us and if it wasn’t a car, we would have just disappeared in no time. Nobody said anything. Not even X. Just before Poonamalee, he asked, ‘ So where do you guys live?’ We said one by one, ‘ Sir, Kilpauk’, ‘ West Mambalam’, ‘ Anna Nagar’, ‘ Arumbakkam’. It was probably a mistake. He looked at me and said, ‘ Oh, then I could probably drop you all the way’. I got out of the car and then replied, ‘ No Sir, thanks, this will do’.
(Absolutely bored, so decided to pen this four year old incident down. For a lot of people, it would seem, ‘what’s the big deal’, but it is my college, Madras and all that jazz)