“I say Akhil, let's go and find out from the Director when our classes are starting from. They said that classes will start from the 14th July without fail but today is 25th”, said Rajeev pacing around his room anxiously. “Relax Rajeev, don't get so worked up. They must be having some issues. Let them get back to us”, Akhil replied casually. “Okay so you aren't going then”? Rajeev glared at Akhil as he began to walk out of the room. “Wait dude. We are in this together remember. Let's go”, Akhil said.
At the institute, the now familiar faces of Brijesh and Gurudev bhaiya greeted them. “We would like to meet the Director”, Rajeev said. “Sorry, Director Sahab is out of station. May I know the purpose of your visit”? Gurudev asked. “We were just wondering when our classes are going to start”, Akhil quipped. “Don't worry; there is good news for you guys. The Director has issued instructions that classes should start without fail by the 30th. There were some issues which have been sorted out, so now you guys can breathe easy”, Gurudev spoke reassuringly. “See, I told you didn't I that everything will be fine”, Akhil said as the boys began their walk back to their hostel.
“Come on, wake up Akhil, today is the first day of college and I don't want us to be late”, Rajeev said almost pulling Akhil out of bed. “Okay, okay, I can get up myself. It looks like you are too eager to hog the limelight on the very fast day just like you did in school don't you”? Akhil said throwing his hands up in protest. “Thanks Chandra”, Akhil said to the servant boy after finishing his breakfast as the two boys set out for their classes.
The hustle & bustle all around was unmistakable as they made their way into the building. There were some boys and girls with nervousness writ large on their faces as they went about looking for their classrooms and at the same time were anxious to avoid the prying eyes of their seniors. The classroom allotted to the BBA first semester batch was located in the basement and as the boys went inside and took their seats, a handful of their classmates were already busy in making small-talk.
“Let's occupy those back seats on the right”, Akhil said as he stood to one side and allowed Rajeev to pass by. “Are you going out again”? Rajeev asked. Akhil shook his head instead of replying as he walked in the direction of the small group that was busy in a conversation. “Hi miss, I am Akhil”, he said to a lady in a pink dress and high- heels. “Jyotika here”, she replied and shook hands with a look which made it amply clear that she was a confident young woman. “So are you from these parts”? She asked.
“By the way, I am from Jammu but have been living here since the last four years”, she added. “I see. Well, I am from Assam, the remote north-east as people here like to call it”, Akhil replied with a smile. Just then, a well- dressed man walked in. “Good morning students, I am Professor Arvind Mohan and will be teaching you financial accounting during the first semester. Classes are cancelled for today, but I want you all to be present in the auditorium for the welcome address by the Dean”, he stated.
“You know what, instead of this boring speech stuff, why don't they allow the seniors to come and rag us”, Akhil said as they made their way to the hall. “It would have been so much fun”, he added. “And I say, why don't you keep your bloody ideas to yourself and just keep moving”, Rajeev replied with a nudge to Akhil's back as if to emphasize his point.
“Phew! That was some welcome address”, Akhil remarked on their way back. “I wonder how I am going to sit through those countless lectures if I can't stand an hour
long speech”, he added. “Undoubtedly an issue that needs your immediate attention”, Rajeev nodded even as Akhil clenched his fist in disgust. “Hey! I can see a number of people standing near the gate and talking to Saxena ji”, Akhil said. “I guess today is his lucky day, and finally the hostel is going to be fully occupied”, Rajeev replied.
“Hello', Rajeev answered the call. His mother was at the other end. 'Don't worry Ma, everything is fine. Our classes are starting from tomorrow. Convey my regards to Dad. Love you Ma”, he ended the call. “Boys, if you are not busy would you mind coming out for a couple of minutes”, Saxena ji called. “Right away, uncle”, both boys spoke at once. “I want you to meet Sameer Garg, senior most boarder of this hostel. He will tell you how I run this place”, Saxena ji said.
“And these two boys have moved in today. One is Sahil Khan and the other is Vinit Sharma”, he added. “I hope you guys will get along nicely”, he continued even as he got up and motioned something with his hands to Sameer before going upstairs. “Bhaiya, how long have you been here”? Rajeev asked. “Since the last couple of years”, he replied. “And I am glad that you guys have moved in as otherwise this place gets quite lonely in the evenings”, he added with a smile.
“By the way, I am pursuing a course in fashion management at IIFT”, Sameer said. “Is that so? Even I have enrolled in their fashion management programme. I hope I will get a job after completion”, Vinit spoke with an unmistakable hint of excitement in his voice.