Statistically, the lowest grade points are recorded during the second and final years.
The reasons are simple. The advent of the second year heralds a new beginning in the lives of NITians. The freshly minted seniors are overwhelmed by their new found freedom, authority and the license to rag. Spring and romance is in the air and all those privy tentative feelings are now allowed to bloom – much like the display of flowers in my post grad institute (read: XIMB. The flower display in my alma mater is a matter of unparalleled legacy. Travellers from far and wide come to the college to pay their respect to the myriad flowers and their creator – none other than our Paul Almighty. The visitors flocking to see this divine phenomenon is second only to that of the temple of Tirupati down South.) Professors are lenient and adhesives (read: Dendrite) come with complimentary packets. As such, poor academics occupies a lonely corner of the minds and fleeting hearts of the second years.
Final year isn’t difficult to guess. Previously blooming romances have withered or come a full circle – jobs have come abundant and easy and lectures have become as rare as Rooney’s goals. If you ask them, most of the final years will tell you that they haven’t seen the sun in an eternity – some have gone on to forget the existence of a star around which we circle. Nights would mean cheap alcohol and stuff – most of the nights would be spent in a daze, or within the tunnels of Counter Strike. A typical group of final years would consist of the following:
a) The dancer: This personality dances (often, horrifyingly out of rhythm or beat) as and when commanded. It takes him a round or two to surmount his inhibitions – music or no music, he dances to the tunes of the group, or the old Bengali song that is playing on someone else’s phone. The usual attire is just, shorts. In our case, it was Ani – who would begin to dance at the drop of a hat, often precariously balancing a glass of precious Monk on his head.
b) The poet: The intellectual of the group, who’d immerse himself in the cinema of 30s and 40s. Fusion music is his forte and he often mistakes Shahrukh Khan for Amir Khan. A couple rolls and glasses of monk later – this man is your typical stand-up comedian – who’d compose and narrate poems on the go – using complicated verse that could only be comprehended by the Rahs of the world.
c) The bouncer: The heavy set guy who’d be busy keeping inebriates from falling off of the top of the tank. He’d also occasionally marshal the dance of the dancer. After the party, his chief responsibility would be to make sure stoned party goers climbed down the precarious monkey ladder and reached their rooms safely. This would be Arg.
d) The philosopher: Without doubt, the Ras of the world. On a bright sunny morning, or a rainy lifeless afternoon, you’d find him wandering the corridor of the hostel – all by himself, listening to morbid and depressing commentaries about the existence of life. The constant nihilist – he flourished in his solitude, and attributed all forms of causality to maaya (a term invented by the sages of ancient Hinduism, kept alive, quantified, explained and marketed by Ra.) The walls of his room was filled with the finest verses, capturing a story that would be as transient as their existence on his walls – only to be white washed until the beginning of the next academic year.
e) The laugh-riot: One round and a joke would be sufficient to induce uncontrollable laughter from this character. Invariably, this would be Pachur Baap (eventually rechristened Pachu.)
[The Story of Pachur Baap: Ari was an extremely competitive and good natured chap who was dead serious about his studies. A prolific striker, Ari was once seen walking the road to the Academic building – shoulders drooped, head bowed and profound sadness in his eyes. When concerned class-mates had enquired about his cause of grief, he had simply mentioned his poor performance in a recent test as the cause of his grave sadness. For us, this was a joke – as we celebrated mere passing grades with pomp and libations. Henceforth, we could only imagine Ari as the grey haired father of an increasingly ill-behaved Pachu – hence he was christened Pachur Baap (Baap – colloquial and offensive for father.) While on the football field, this caused obvious problems – calling out for passes, say – thus he became our Pachu.]
f) The silent watchman: The bespectacled, academic that displayed maturity much beyond his years – he’d generally keep to himself. A maestro on the field, he was the playmaker – Biju, the Boyoshko. It was only natural that he would become entombed in silence after a round or two. None of the worldly discussions interested him anymore – for the rest of the world, he would be lost in limbo and the afterglow of the discussions.
[Boyoshko: A term originally reserved for older men who have matured like fine wine – including their tastes in women and their vision on the football field. Slow to react to infuriating situations, he’d display extraordinary wisdom and wit. It was only just that we revered him like a Godfather – our guardian and guide.]
g) The Musician: Detached from the world, detached from reality – they’d be lost in music – playing elaborate riffs on their guitar, or simply nodding away to music. This was without doubt Shou. Footballer, singer, and guitarist – he was talented beyond measure. He whiled away most of his time in rounds and music – and at other times playing the team’s attacking midfielder. We followed each other to post graduation – he remained the same prodigy who missed classes and scored marks at will – creating passes and composing music without a care in the world.
h) The Kolay: The Kolays of the world could dance, sing and narrate stories; extremely rare and of sheer cunning – they are counted among the most versatile in the world. They can entertain for hours with their tasty discussions and their worldly knowledge. Round or no round, it takes very little to indulge one.
[Prince Kolay/Raj Kolay/Khaulaye are all titles bestowed upon this celebrated character. He had the immense ability to date not one, not two but three women at a time – and yet pull an innocent face that could go through the customs clearance of the USA a million times.
We had caught him red handed, playing with the hearts of women – for the rest of us who were romantically challenged, this was a privilege that he clearly did not deserve. As such, he was also the victim of the infamous blanket ordeals – he’d be wrapped in a blanket while five or six of us would rain blows on him till he apologised for slights that may or may not have existed. He’d occasionally be thrown into the centuries old musty and dark fountain in our college – he had an immeasurable capacity to bear thrashings, and we happily obliged.]
Henceforth, the term – “doing a Kolay”, “being a Kolay” has been reserved for the basest crimes possible in the annals of NIT Durgapur and humanity.
And room 311, we were the ones who’d try hard to fit into the group – listening intently to narrations, music and watching people dance as we waited patiently for our round for eternity – more often than not – blissfully unaware of life and what it had in store for us. I was happy collecting memories – stories to narrate for generations and ages to come. I was the below par right back who’d more often than not miss tackles and injure most of my batch-mates. Still, I’d go on to score a few goals now and then.
The golden class of 2012.
The class that saw an entire department fare miserably because they had begun to take life too easy.
Try having a conversation with your girlfriend after you are high. Okay, don’t try really – unless you are intent on screwing up the relationship (a very easy and effective way at that) – or have a very understanding girlfriend who laughs it off the next morning (unless of course, you make fun of her shopping or her belongings – then you may have set yourself up for disaster. My lovely partner in bed, Mishti, is an example of the latter.) She does save up these instances for later, when she uses them in arguments where I have clearly got the upper hand (or I don’t – you know how arguments with lovely women tend to go – downhill.)
Maybe next time, I could tell you the story of the philosopher who was so angry at God that he decided to take a piss near the shrine, while muttering expletives in Shakespearean English.