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Reviews from Goodreads. After all, I had nothing to look forward to but books. The spartan to-let room had a bed, table, cupboard and fen, 'Fifteen hundred: Raghav smiled. This complex vortex of tests, classes, selections and preparations is something every insignificant Indian student like me has to go through to have a shot at a decent life, Else, I could always take the job of Birju the watchman or, if I wanted it simpler, hang myself like my erstwhile room-resident Manoj Dufta, I switched on the same fan that helped Manoj check out of the entrance exam called life, 'The moving blades re-circulated the hot air in the room. AimllT and Careerlgnite had less people lining up. Aarti said.
A train arrived and the general-quota passengers ran for seats. This time the phone rang. My temper was not something I was proud o f f wanted to keep it under check as the birthday girl picked up the phone, 'Hello? Uncle, Gopal,11 blurted out, even though I should have probably hung up. After so many attempts I had to talk to her, 'Oh, yes. Hold om he said and screamed for Aarti, Aarti came close to the phone.
Tts my birthday, dad,' Aarti said and picked up the phone. Thanks, Thai s so sweet of you. You stayed up solute to wish me? I also ran five kilometres and will walk back five more, I wanted to say but didn't.
Tve been trying to reach you for an hour 'Really? Who were you talking to? I wanted to be the first,71 said.
I have my aunt there, no? I could sense it when she lied. I spoke to them for two minutes. Maybe I didn't place the phone back properly. Leave it, no. How are you? Wish you were here' 'Do you? Of course! I miss you,' Aarti said, her tone so genuine that it was hard to believe she had lied to me ten seconds ago. I f you had placed the phone incorrectly, who placed it back correctly now? Stop interrogating me, I hate this. How old are we, ten? You were speaking to him. What's going on between ym guys?
Can you not make it so stressful? Chat tomorrow on the net? Vtter my college? I value honesty a lot,' I said, 'Of course. Okay, bye now. Dad's giving me dirty looks. Wait til! Sunday, 1 consoled myself She never came online on Sunday I spent two hours at the cyber cafe. Noon became one, and one became two, There's only so much porn one can watch.
I downloaded enough x-rated clips to open a video library, f couldn't bear it anymore. How hard was it to deliver on a simple promise? I had done nothing but wait for Sunday to talk things out with her, She had suggested the time, not 1. The power went ofT 'What are you doing? Her mother picked up, "Good afternoon, aunty, Gopal here. Raghav is in the debating team.
She's also participating. Singing, I think. Hell, it is importantt aunty. I want to know if your daughter is having a seme, "Nothing urgent. They'll come back tonight, right? Shes gone in the government car. With a security guards I wanted to post my own security guards next to Aarti. You study Then you can also be in a proper college and have fun like Raghav.
The month of November still had ten days left. One moment I told myself not to chase her. Let her call or mail hack. However, the next moment I could think of nothing but her. I had crazy mental conversations with myself. She couldn't be dating him, She said she is not ready for a relationship. If she is, she will go out with me, Mr Optimist Gopal said. However, Mr Pessimist Gopal did not buy it. Okay, so Raghav has better looks. But Aarii is not so shallow. I have known her for a decade, Mr Optimist-me argued.
Raghav also has better future prospects, Mr Pessimist-me said, But would she choose a guy just on the basis of his JEE rank? She is a girl not a damn institute, said Mr Optimist-me. She will even find jokers in the circus funny, Mr Optimist said. My head hurt as the two morons inside would not stop arguing, Girls have no idea what effect their wavering has on boys. I had to talk to Aarti.
I wanted to shake her and make her talk. My temper flared again. I wanted to run to the Kota station and travel unreserved to VaranasL I couldht think about Balance-ji or my percentile or the stupid Career Path. If Raghav did anything with Aarti, I would fucking kill him. Tm not going to fucking kill myself, okay? You don't use f-words with your landlord. I didn't sleep the whole night, 1 kicked myself for thinkiog;;about her so much, She is a liar, ditcher and heartless person, I told myself fifty times.
She also happened to be someone I couldn't stop thinking about. V V e had a surprise test in class the next day - which went badly. In the chemistry class Balancedi scolded me as 1 could not answer even a simple question. I didn't give a fuck, 1 wanted to get hold of this girl.
She wasn't online. I did not know what to do. It would be way too desperate to call her again. I had a horrible week at Career Path. My results slipped to the eightieth percentile. Four-fifths of the class had done better than me, Career Path had a software that picked out students with the maximum improvement or deterioration, 1 featured in the latter.
T m sorry, sir,M said, 'You are not in bad company, 1 hope" T have no friends. He seemed young and genuine, T know how hard it is. I am a Kota product myself' On Sunday I went to the cyber cafe again. As usual, no email. However, she came online in five minutes, A part of me resisted.
I initiated the chat anyway GopalKotaFactory: She didn't respond lot two minuted FiyingAarti: Are you upset? FlyingAarti; Only if you don't yell at me.
Ym sorry! I wanted to ask why she went to Kanpur with Raghav. However if I came on too strongly she would give me the silent treatment that could kill me. Its fine, Apology accepted. I found it strange that 1 ended up saying sorry when she owed me an apology Is it ever the girls fault? The good thing about chatting on the internet is that you can control your impulses,!
So, what's up? When in doubt, stick to open-ended questions. Not much. College is busy. Made some friends. Not many. Any special friends? Her mood had lightened. Ifs okay. Tell me. You wont tell me? Your best Flying Aarti: You get so upset.
My heart started to beat fast 1 typed one character at a time, GopaiKotaFactory: Well, there is someone special. A rusted iron knife jabbed my chest.
I fought the pain and typed. You know him. Very well, in fact. Mr BHU, who else? The knife was now slicing through my heart I clenched my teeth hard. Hes mad.
Mad stupid laghavt!! Hetrapped me, GopaiKotaFactory: Kind a. I couldn't keep up the smileys anymore. Don't ask all that. You've done it? How cheap, Gopi. No, not yet. Meaning almost. Oh, don t embarrass me. What the fuck? Excuse me??? What stuff? You said friendship is all you wanted.
With me. With anyone. FlyingAarti; Did 1? I don t know It just kinda happened, GopalKotaPactory: How did it kinda happen? My temper had returned and taken over my remote control. Watch your language, GopalKotaPactory: You someone pure or what? Behaving like m: I continued. Can you tell me why? Shut up, Gopal. Its a very special bond between him and me. What makes it special?
Did you give him a blow job? In his hostel or in Kanpur? She didn't respond, I realised 1 had said too much. However, you cannot undo a line sent on chaL And 1 did not want to fucking apologise again, I kept waiting for an answer. After three minutes a message flashed on my screen; FlyingAarti is otilioe. I refreshed my screen.
I had another notification: FlyingAarti is no longer a contact. She had removed me from her list. Ton need to extend your time?
Instead, I hung out every night at the roadside Chaman chai shop near my house. Students, teacups in one hand and worksheets in another, occupied the one dozen "wooden benches, I didn't bring any reading material to the shop. One day I ran out of money to pay for my order. I'll pay you tomorrow, 1 forgot my wallet at home,' 'Relax' he said and extended his hand. Tin Prateek. Didn't work. Still hanging around here to get some.
I think I may have a chance if I try again" 'Do you want to? We sat down on the wooden stools outside the shop. The next installment at Career Path is due.
My father doesn't have much cash on him,' 'Go back' Prateek said. He lit a cigarette and. I declined. T cant. How I rowed with my bare hands. How she used to massage my palms afterwards. I flexed my hands, remembering, i hate hen Bui I miss her; Prateek smoked two cigarettes without uttering a word. I t is a girl,'! We are losers. We dont get things easily. From Kota classes to the bitch back home,' I said. You seem like a fun guy Prateek high-fived me.
No home, no school no college, no job. Only Kota,' He winked at me. Pie had become a quitter the first time, and even now he had almost given up. We became friends, meeting at Chamans every night. One day the tea didn't seem enough. Mr Pulley had thrown me out of his class. T fell asleep. Such a boring lecture, 1 said. He laughed, T gave them their bloody second installment today.
Still they do this to me,' I said. Beer bottles outnumbered books, cigarette butts exceeded pens. The walls had posters of scantily-clad women instead of Resonance circulars, 'You've really settled down here,' I said, 'I would if I could, My parents wont fund me here after this year," he said. He took out a bottle of Old Monk from his cupboard. He poured the rum neat for me. It tasted terrible. Reality check for my parents. Both of them are teachers.
Hopefully, the passing of two years and half their life savings will make them realise that their son cant crack any entrance exam. Most of us cant crack these tests, basic probability But who will drill it into our parents' heads? Anyway, finish your drink in one shot; The rum tasted like some hot and bitter medicine.
I forced it down my throat. I had to get over Aarti. Sometimes the only way to get rid of an unpleasant feeling is to replace it with another unpleasant feeling. Soon, Aarti didnt seem so painful 'You loved her? Did you guys meet at birth in the hospital? Over the next three hours 1 told him my entire one-sided love story. From the day 1 had stolen her tiffin to the day she massaged my hand for the last time, and until she finally logged out and removed me as a contact, Prateek listened in silence.
Say something' I said. To my surprise he was still awake. Toy can talk a lot, man! Try to forget her. Wish her happiness with her JEE boy.
I havent studied a day since she stopped talking tome' "Dont worry. You will get another girl Everybody gets a girl Even the last rankers. How do you think India has such a large population? Marry your hand? Men are useless. They hide their inability to discuss relationships behind lame jokes, T better go,v I said. He didn't stop me. He lay on the floor, too tired to go to his bed. Don't lose your grip, man,' he shouted after me as I left his house.
Grip, Yes, that's the word. The trick to these entrance exams is that you have to get a grip on them. You need a game plan, What are your strong subjects, which are your weak ones? Are you working with the teachers on the weak areas? Are you tracking your progress on the mock-tests? Are you thinking about nothing but the exam all day? If your answer is yes to all these questions, that's when you can say you have a grip. Thats the only way to have a shot at a seat Of course, you could be one of those naturally talented students who never have to study much.
But most of us are not, courtesy our parents' mediocre genes. Ironically, these same parents who donated these dumb genes take the longest time to understand that their child is not Einstein's clone. At least for the three months after Aarti cut me off The spaced-out Prateek became my new and only friend. I attended classes, though my hangover made it difficult to understand Benzene structures or radioactive isotopes.
I tried to do my practice sheets, but could not focus. The teachers started to see me as a quitter and stopped paying attention to me. I had another problem to deal with. My expenses had increased, for I had to pay for rum. Prateek treated me a few times, but after a while he asked me to pay my share, I knew Baba had borrowed to pay the last installment and had no money.
However, I had little choice. I dialled home from the STD booth one night. They are supposed to be the best for maths. I kept quiet, trying to recuperate from uttering so many lies at once, 'How much? I resolved to study harder. J will get back into the twenty-five percentile, and then the top five percentile. I decided to study the entire night. However, I bad a craving for rum first.
My resolve weakened. I went to Prateeks house and spent most of the night there- Nothing could motivate me to study. Then came my 1 1 y birthday came five months after my arrival in Kota. Who could it be? I thought. A teacher from Career Path?
Did 1 do something wrong? Emotions surged within me. I felt overwhelmed 'Aarti? Uncontrollable tears ran down my cheeks. I thought I'll play a guessing game, Can we talk?
Or am 1 disturbing you? Like I didnt care who she was. Or I would pretend to be busy. Why did birthdays come only once a year? Will go out for dinner with a friend' 'Friend? Date, eh? I t s okay, An w a y , its your birthday.
More than anything, 1 wanted to know their relationship status. In fact, he edits the campus magazine now. Keeps talking about that. She still hadn't told me about both of them. I did not want to pry too much like the last time, Ties a great guy, Gopal, You should see him, how much he wants to do for the world. And I am happy with him.
T wouldn't be talking to you otherwise, right? I wanted to tell her she hadn't spoken to me for three months. However, girls get extremely upset if you give them evidence contrary to their belie! Ai' 'And what? The rusty knife returned to my gut. I wondered what to say. More than anything, I didn't want to lose touch with her again. My life in Kota had become hell after she disappeared. Like if I told her, 'but you said you missed me', she would jump and say, 'but I also said as a friend!
Happy birthday again! Will speak to you or c h a t I said and paused. T will add you back on chat,' she laughed. That's it. She had done it again - confuse me with a throwaway affectionate line. Did she like me or not? I wanted to study I wanted to live. Career Path would never know why 1 made it to the most-improved list once again, Aarti had me go back to studies in a big way.
Maybe it was her simple 'how was your day? I also liked to be accountable to her, and report back to her on how productive the day had been. I told her about the equations taught in class, the feedback the teacher gave me especially the praise , and how I planned to study late into the night Deep down, I still wanted to impress hen 1 never gave up the idea of fur having a change of heart. Mr Optknistme never gave up. However, I didn't tell her this. I knew mv place; I, who could never compare myself to Raghav I chatted with her one evening and talked about my class performance, GopaiKotaFactory: So 1 reached 20th..
GopalKotaf actory: My percentile in class. My best performance ever! FlyingAarti; Wow! Long way to go still FlyingAarti: Yon will get there, there's time.
You'll be fine. I hope so. I had slipped in the middle of the course. I low come? No reason as such. Lack of focus. Anyway, cant wait to get out of Kota. I know Miss you. You do? You will come for movies with me? She didn't respond.
I waited for five minutes, GopalKotaFactory: You there? She didn't answer. I wondered iff had asked something inappropriate. My he irt began to beat fast. I wrote after five minutes, GopalKotaPactory: Hey, you upset? I am sorry if I said something wrong ,.. You don t have to Hey, sorry ,.. Boyfriend called to apologise. He's finished his work. We are going for the movie1.! Oh, thats great. What were you saying Of course, we can see movies when you are back Why are you sorry?
Nothing, I just felt Okay, I have to go get ready GopalKotaPactory: Else, he 11 be proof-reading his articles on our date. I better study too. Two more months, then we can all have lots of fun.
Top Fiction: Apr 15th - Apr 21st. Discussion Goodreads Reviews. Revolution Hindi. Reviews from Goodreads. Item added to cart. Chetan Bhagat. Continue Shopping Checkout. Rating must be between 1 and 5 stars. Your Review: Revolution Hindi has been added Revolution Hindi has been added to your wish list. Whats the point of a useless degree? And how will you do a repeatattempt without better coaching?
You just missed a good rank because ofa. Maybe ,Kota will help you get those extra marks; I was confused. I had never thought of a second attempt, let alonegoing so far for a year.
You haw to give it your best. Look at Ragfeiv He! Besides who will take care of you here? Allahabad is nearby Ican. You can visit, J 1 can mauage, Dont: I do most of the housework? Baba said. Sure, she had said no to me in the boat, but I knewhow much sM cared for me. Not a day went by without us-talking. It wasshe who suggested I go to a college here, and IB alreadyfound out the best Ipromise I will work harder next lime 1 said.
We finished dinner and I began to clear the table. Baba shouted suddenlyYou are going! You have forty thousand. What about the rest? What about expensessuch as travel, books, entrance exam feec. It had a thi. You want to sell Mas jewellery for coaching classes? Reiki to preserve all this for medical!
You join an engineering college and my age will reducehy ten years,daba laughed, trying to soften the situation, 1 saw his face, one front toothmissing. His laughter meant everything to toe! Do it for your old man! M move with you to Kota, but Its Uoatd for me to travel so far. If 1 go, III go by myself! Take carc of your father! I f it makes you happy, i will! Mv son! We had come to a househHd m-m:. She went to the utensils section and picked up alarge steel bowl md held it up, "For emergencies!
If I came toKota with you, Id cook foryou everyday H e r f i k hands held up the shear vessel, The picture of her cookingin my kitchen flashed in my head. Why does Aarti make statements likethese? What dm I supposed to soy? Aarti looked at me, She hypnotised meevery time,. She was fuming prettier every week A,: She turned to the shopkeeper. Uncle, twenty per cent discount! Aarti wasiit too conscious of her looks,She never checked herself out in mirrors, never had make-op on, a nd eyeoher hair often,.
At the last minute you say random thing? I could.
J will ieil dad I also wane to repeat a year. I said, almost believing her.
Tm joking, stupid. She burst iuLo peals of laughter. I am not agulli-whateverperson. Still, Aarti could defeat. She logged at my elbow and dragged meout of the shop,! I said as I tumbled with my wallet. She took my wallet and placed it back in my shot pocket. You want to try the new Domlnos at Sigra? Dont Its not good, Especially for yore Why? They dorft say good things about girls who sit 00 theghats. I hated that term, I wanted to talk, about my place m her life, eventhough I did not want to-makethings unpleasant "But now I aro leaving,I said.
We will he in touch. Kota, tight? I nodded. Loni look so glum, she brid, V e 1 card the leoipk bells ring m ihe 1distance. About anyone. And I like what you and I share, Dont you? But I am leaving now; If we had a commitment wouldnt it bebetter? Gopal we are so young! We walked down, to the waters. She purchased a set of six lit diyasfor five rupees;She passed one.
She set one diya afloat. I said, baffled by the drivers knowledge. He laughed and "turned around. My whole family is into education. My wife. He extended his grease-staioedliand. I diook It as little as possible txopal from Vmmmil. He gave me a business card for the tiffin service.
Let us take cart of the food. You hoys study it is such a tough exam: Come on, Gopal bhai. I went to the smallguard post at: A watchman sat inside, Who do you. The watchman. One held clothes, the other carried thebooks thai had failed to get me anywhere so far. My rucksack carried, thestuff Aarti had bought me, I missed her.
I wondered if I should find an I or Medical? Kola locals find it hard to place outsiders until they know what they arethere for. I said, somewhat b he saidiiid.
I f yon. You will he out of-the house more. Repeaters only go for coaching classes. Many sleep all day; Some landlordsdont like that Sos. Fix my fee first m a t?
I said T take half a months rent. Whats your budget? Thats it? I said The watchman sneered, as If someone had asked for country liquorin a live-star bar. I said, wondering if Id be spending my firs! He opened the gate and kept my suitcases in hiscabin. Three to a room: I said, but how will I study? I want a private one, however. We climbed up three floors. I panted due to the exertion. The extremeneat did not help, Kota is hot, get used to the weather, the watchman said,: It is horrible outside.
That is why it is a good place to stay inside and We reached the fourth floor, I struggled to catch my breath. Hecouidot stop talking, So you will study for real or you are just hepaused mid-sentence. Just what? Many students: They know they wont get in.
M least the parentssiop harassingthem for a vean he said, But if you need stuff like beer or cigarettes, tell me, Thishousing society doesnt allow it So? An elderly lady opened thedoor. The lady let us in.
Her place smelt of medicines and damp. Thewatchman showed me the room on rent. The lady had converted astoreroom into a study and bedroom. I t s perfect for studying,1 said the watchman, who probably hadntstudied even one day in his whole life. Take it, it is within yourbudget I shook my head. The room had no windows, The old lady seemedarrogant or deaf or both.
She kept a grumpy face throughout. I did notwant to live here. Why couldnt I study in my Varan asi? What was sospecial about this godforsaken place? I walked out of the flat. Hie watchman came running after me. I thought about how different my life would have been if 1 hadanswered six more multiple-choice questions, I thought of Raghav, whowould, at this moment, be attending his orientation at the BHU campus. Ithought of Aarti and our heart-to-heart conversations.
I thought of Babasill health and his determination to kick me into this dump. I fought backtears. I started to walk down the stairs. We walked down the steps and reached the ground floor. I t happensthe first time the watchman said, missing your mother? Where are you going?
Take a shared room, he pleaded, Til find a cheap hotel for now, I am used to being alone. Birju took the suitcases from me and placed them down. A retired couple stays there. Within your budget hen why didnt you show it to me earlier? Someone died in the house Who? He didnt get through, so he killed himself,Two years ago. Til take it, I said. TVeseen dead bodies burning and iloating all my life.
I dont care ifsome loser hanged himself: The watchman picked up my suitcases. We went to the third floorin the next flat. A couple in their sixties stayed there. They kept the placeimmaculately clean. The spartan to-let room had a bed, table, cupboardand fen, Fifteen hundred: I said to the couple, The watchman gave me a dirtylook. I gave him a firm handshake. I had spent the day visiting various coaching schools.
At three in theafternoon, my room felt at ignition point, Mr Soni gently knocked on the door of my room. It felt too hot to exchange pleasantries. I hadarranged for my meals and a place to stay. However, my main challenge inKola, apart from constantly fighting off thoughts about Aarti, was to enrolin a good study programme, 1 had spent the last three days doing therounds of every coaching school I took in their tail claims about zappingany primate into an IITian, I went through their super-flexible not tomention super-expensive fee structures, Bansai, Resonance and CareerPath seemed to be everyones top choices.
Each of them had their own,rather difficulty entrance exams. In fact, Kota now had small coachingshops to coach you to get into the top coaching classes, From there, youwould be coached to get into an engineering college.
Once there, youstudy to become an engineer. Of course, most engineers want to do anMBA. Hence, the same coaching-class cycle would begin again. Thiscomplex vortex of tests, classes, selections and preparations is somethingevery insignificant Indian student like me has to go through to have a shotat a decent life, Else, I could always take the job of Birju the watchmanor, if I wanted it simpler, hang myself like my erstwhile room-residentManoj Dufta, I switched on the same fan that helped Manoj check out of theentrance exam called life, The moving blades re-circulated the hot air inthe room.
Mr Soni said. M did, 1 said. Mr Soni asked me this question at least twice a day. Iguess Manoj Dutta didnt call home often enough, leading to his lonelinessand early demise. Keep them informed, okay? Nobody loves you more than yourparents Mr Soni said as he left the room.
I shut the door and removed my shirt. I hadnt rowed in ten days. My arms felt flabby. I wanted to exercise, but 1 had to figure out the tenmillion brochures first. I had indeed called Baba, twice. He seemed fine. I told him I hadstarted preparing for next year, even though 1 couldnt bear to open anytextbook.
I didnt care. Whichever coaching class 1 joined would makeme slog soon. I wanted to talk to Aarti first.
Id called her four times but could notspeak to her even once. Her mother had picked up the phone the first twotimes. I hung up without sayinganything. I did not want Aartis mother going "why is this boy calling youso many times from so far? It did not create a good impression.