Optimism Vs. Realism — What It Feels Like Being In Middle Of Nowhere! [Part 1]

It was 1998. My 2nd year of Engineering and my first tryst with facing the realities of life!

The previous year (Engineering first year) was a bit uneventful as the first 3 months was locked down in the fresher hostel building as part of “anti-ragging” measures. Though the hostel life was a liberating feeling in itself, the quarantine-like situation in the first part of the year didn’t give the required feeling of freedom!

It was probably about a month into the second year. It was a normal day and an equally inconsequential evening. Just when my roomies and I finished dinner and were indulged in some pep talk, we heard a knock on the door. The doors in the hostel rooms are usually open and knocking before entering the room was considered rude by any standards!

“Are you Rajasimha?”, our hostel warden inquired with my friend who opened the door. Something didn’t sound right. Why would the Hostel warden come looking for me at this hour! Just when I was stepping forward to ask what the matter was, the hostel warden caught me by my shirt collar and pulled me out of the room!

Where is the body, he asked in a stern voice. It took a few seconds for me to come to senses! By then, the entire hostel gathered near the room. He increased his voice and yelled again — “Where did you hide the body”? I first thought it was a bad dream, but looking at the shocked faces of people around me, it was evident that what was happening around is for real.

Where is your friend Shiva (name changed)”? “What made you think that you both can escape after committing the crime”? “You must be a damn good actor to be appearing so cool after killing someone”?

I was almost loosing my consciousness with the tirade of questions. I mustered all the courage and answered in the most feeble tone, that I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

He started dragging me out of the hostel building, having asked couple of security guards to walk in front and couple of them to walk behind us. It was a scene straight out of the movie where the murder suspect is caught and taken into custody. Except that there were no handcuffs and they were not dressed in uniform.

Both my friend Shiva and I were taken to the college administrative office and were made to sit in separate rooms. We were asked individually as to what we did since morning. What classes we attended that day, when did we have lunch, what did we do after lunch, where did we go in the evening etc. etc. That was the easier part. The chief warden came back again after his dinner and started in a threatening voice.

“The police is on their way. If you don’t tell us the truth, they will have better ways to extract the truth”.

“Consider your Engineering as DONE. Time to pack up”.

“We have informed your parents and they are on their way”.

The threats wouldn’t stop. All the while not giving any idea as to what the heck had happened… All this continued till midnight.

By then, our final year seniors (who command a lot of respect with the authorities) had requested the officials and gained access to us.

It was through them that we came to know what happened that day.

One of the newly admitted first year student, who belonged to the same state as we did, went missing. Usually, the first year students are well protected (from ragging). During lunch, he seem to have gone out citing some work at the Bank and never returned back. Unfortunately, Shiva and I had gone to the same Bank to withdraw money (no ATMs back then) and went to the Calicut city (22 kms from the college) for some shopping. We were the last ones to be spotted with him at the bank. All we did that afternoon at the bank was to say “Hi” to him and asked him how he is enjoying his first few weeks at the college. As 2nd year students, we were ourselves shit-scared of being seen with the freshers as there was a zero-tolerance policy towards ragging.

Apparently, that was the first time a fresher went missing from the college campus and every one including the security personnel and wardens came under the scanner. The junior who went missing had hardly made any friends and apparently was quite an introvert. No one knew his whereabouts.

After talking to us for so many long hours, it became apparent to the college authorities as well as our seniors that we had done nothing. But that was not the end of the story… what transpired in the next 10 days was an epic story of survival, desperation, depression finally leading to realism and hope.

To be continued…stay tuned!



I like blogging about Indian Politics, Management and other interesting things in general. My political opinions are typically biased towards right of centre.

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Rajasimha Karanam

I like blogging about Indian Politics, Management and other interesting things in general. My political opinions are typically biased towards right of centre.