Read the Prologue first to understand the story.
OUR FIRST MEET
JULY 20, 2007 VENUE- CPA, 2ND floor, beside girls’ study-room (or WASHROOM! Don’t know what it exactly was as I never got a chance to get inside! Though everytime after the class, I would try with full efforts, twisting my neck in all angles possible, to peep inside. All we could see was girls coming and going as the door slammed.)
It was our audit batch. We were all yawning at WASEEM sir’s patent phrase “And my point is….” WASEEM- the name reminded me he was a Muslim …and that reminded me of her…not Mitali…. but her…just forget it. I’ll tell you about her later.
I was late and hence sat at the last bench. There entered a girl, with half-eaten sandwich in one hand and the bag in another. She wasn’t exactly beautiful but awesomely pretty. Her hair were wet and she wore an elegant purple kurti completely perfecting her blue denims. At CPA, guys had a peculiar habit of watching every girl enter until she sat. Often the fixed look with eyes wide open (they would not even blink so as not to miss a single moment) was accompanied by hooting, sometimes lewd comments and occasionally with banging of benches!! So if you are late and by God’s grace if you are a girl, you are screwed. I often thanked God for not making me a female.
So there she entered and sat next to me. I guess she had sensed what could happen if she tried getting into the girls’ row, crossing the entire boys’ row and their nasty gazes. She preferred sitting at the last bench to crossing the dreadful mob. Yeah…mob was the right word. At CPA, we were a batch of about 350 students, all stuffed inside a not-so-big room and we looked no lesser than 100 pigs packed inside a small municipality van. 6 students sat on a single small bench leaving no scope for any kind of movement. If one student sneezed, he’d end up wetting several adjacent faces and note-books with the sticky liquid.
One had to keep his note-book folded all the time as there wasn’t enough space to keep it wide open. And if one moved his elbow a bit, he’d be banged with sounds like “ah…ouch…you bruised my finger” with an icing of some really good words. Can’t write those so-called good words here. And you can well imagine the scene if anyone felt the need to attend to the nature’s call. People from the entire row (equivalent to 6-7 benches) had to be asked to get up (and you simply couldn’t do anything even if 1 person denies to get up) so that the casualty may find space to move out. And after the casualty (the visitor to the washroom I mean) was done with it, the entire row had to get up again so that the casualty may move in. And this entire feat was damn embarrassing. The casualty became the centre of gravity to the class and no one would keep his eyes off him. The faculty was paid least heed and could be heard saying ” Idhar bhi dekh lo…”!Everyone could judge who the batch’s most frequent toilet-visitor was! A royal title though- the most frequent toilet-visitor! Sounds greater than a Femina Miss/Mr.India tag. My personal advice would be “Better wet your clothes or CONTROL!”
Besides, with only few windows and that too shut closed, the 351 noses in the classroom (including the faculty’s as well) competed wildly for the available (scanty could be a better word) oxygen molecules. And it was cut-throat competition, mind you! Things aren’t much the same there though. I’ve heard from juniors that they have now shifted to a luxurious grand building at New Siyaganj. Lucky juniors!
“It’s quality of education that ultimately matters. And we are trying to give the best (Best!-from which angle?) out of the limited resources. And then, we charge you such a nominal fee.”- These were the valid explanations Chahata sir used to give. His last explanation, though, was genuinely valid. As compared to the expensive engineering or MBA courses, our CA was far more reasonable. Otherwise how could I, Niket Mukherjee, a typical lower middle-class fellow, afford it? But let me tell you, this low fees thing came as a surprise to me. It wasn’t pre-planned at all. I’d not taken up commerce in 11th, allured by low fees. At that time, I did not know of this at all. I took up commerce because SHE had taken up Science…..
Chahata sir, an expert in Accountancy, founder of the institute, a man in his mid-forties used to mesmerize the students the way he taught accounts. Pure logic, everything down from the basic concepts, his teaching methodology was just superb. That made him my favourite teacher. And made commerce a respectable subject. At least we get to practically relate whatever we study- in office or around.
But can Science students practically see with naked eyes the tiniest electron that revolves around the tinier nucleus of a tiny atom? I was fed up of the superiority complex of the science stream students. Am a Chetan Bhagat’s fan but was badly disappointed after reading one line in 5.SOMEONE.He had compared a commerce student with something not even worth mentioning. Readers you find it out yourselves. I still have shame in my eyes!
Mugging was a thing kind of impossible for me. And what fun studies can be when you know the logic- the reason behind every dry topic you are studying. The dry topics suddenly become interesting when you know exactly why Assets – Liabilities amounted to Purchase Consideration in Amalgamation. Assets-liabilities=PC seems as truly a fact of common sense as seemed the falling of apple in the downward direction. Only Newton knew it wasn’t common sense but gravity.
But don’t know why he made such a fuss over CPT-passed students. So what if they never did homework! Bacche hai, seekhte-seekhte seekh jayenge! He behaved as if they were spoilt brats of rich parents who had been promoted straight from kindergarten to CPT, thanks to the fat donations their affluent parents had paid! Thankfully, I had cleared PE-1; the earlier better version of CPT. Chahata Sir had once slapped a CPT dude so tightly that his surname got famous as CHAATA instead of Chahata. And boys used to screech to their friends-“Homework teep le, nahi toh PADEGI !”
PE-1! That reminds me of the previous faculties! Man, I am going to miss this place always! Let me introduce them before you. I know you all are dying to meet Mitali, but PATience, readers, Patience…
There was one Sanakjeet sir (a Sardar, but intelligent one) who taught economics. His dressing sense was perfect and he wore turbans matching his shirt everyday. Gosh, must be having a full wardrobe separately for turbans. He would call you for an extra class on Sunday and would himself come 45 mins late. We won’t blame him- shampooing such long hair on Sundays takes time after all. The eco period was just before the lunch- the time we were hungry and exhausted the most. And then he would tempt us with his Samosa-Kachori examples
while explaining the concept of marginal utility. Nobody could really concentrate on studies but daydream about delicious Samosas and yummy Kachoris. I could even smell the green chutney and the brown tamarind chutney once until my day-dream was broken by a chalk directed at me. I am a big gourmand I admit and so is Mitali. She’s not like girls who count calories all the time- an irritating habit! She’s petit but she eats more than a truck-driver. Remember she carried a half-eaten sandwich with her even while she entered the class!
Metal sir taught accounts. He spoke in a very unusual manner- seemed as if he were a lawyer fighting a court case and not a teacher teaching students. Don’t know who the hell complained of him every now and then. He would shout at the top of his voice “Mujh pe shak ki ungli na uthaye!” as he raised his index finger rather funnily.
Then there was Mr. Swapnit Pichkari , he taught Organisation And Management, frequently quoting examples of girls and boys to explain the management concepts. And I tell you, such examples work as great mnemonics. I still remember each and every example of his yet I can hardly recollect any of his management concepts! Once he was explaining the difference between Ram and Krishna (it was some concept of ideal man and normative man).He said Krishna represented a normal man while Ram was a model man, someone impossible to imitate. Ram was smitten by the love of just one and only ONE Sita but Krishna, on the contrary, had several Gopis. According to him, it was impossible for a man to be attracted by just one woman throughout his life. Rightly said- my life was a live example of this. First Varshaan Qazi- the same Muslim girl who took up Science. Now Mitali ….Sir had once said girls/boys are like T-shirts.
You go to a shop, choose one which seems to be perfect and the shopkeeper comes yelling-“Sir, this one is already sold.” “Damn! But I want this one only!”- You feel there could just be no other shirt in the world better than this. But according to sir, there is a better shirt for you somewhere! Infact, any other shirt would do. Those words of him were hard to digest, especially after the world seemed to end to me since Varshaan left. But they gave hope, that some day I would move on. Both Sanakjeet Sir and Swapnit Sir have left CPA now, owing to their popular college RAIN’S SONS!
Rochak Trivedi taught us Maths at ACE. And we had to climb those devilish 8 floors and approx 34,789 stairs of the golden mall to reach his classroom. The golden mall- I haven’t seen a place cleaner than this before- piles of dirt, tobacco-spits, extinguished bidis, torn polythenes – everything used to be neatly placed there.
Once while I was climbing the stairs after parking my LML bike (Mitsu, I mean, Mitali doesn’t like my bike. Says it resembles a doodhwala’s) in the basement (which looks haunted in the dark), somebody spat on me… saliva full of chewn tobacco.
Yuck, even the thought of it invites vomit. The stains didn’t go even after maa washed it thrice. My favourite yellow shirt was a brave soldier. It fought till its last breath with the tobacco molecules but died in harness. As gratitude, maa started using it to wipe the kitchen platform.
Against all odds, we enjoyed climbing those stairs. It carried the same feeling for CA students as climbing the Vaishnodevi for Hindus or reaching Mecca for Muslims. Muslims…aw…Varshaan…see…things keep on reminding me of her even when I have no wish to… “I hate her, do you get this? I simply hate her!”- I said to my aching heart.
Rochak sir was as interesting as his name. And the only faculty who knew students by names. He was a strong competitor of CPA. Leave aside his double-meaning dialogues meant to amuse the cheaper part of mob, he taught well- logically and conceptually. But beware of his predictions. If he says that a particular part of the syllabus is unimportant, prepare that part very well. I guarantee you it’s coming in the exam, 200% surety. But if he says don’t leave this part, leave it right away. After PE-1, he was again with us teaching Strategic Management. Amul was his favourite corporate example.
It was my first experience with Waseem sir. Though the CPT students had faced him earlier in Mercantile Law. I couldn’t believe when they said the batch timing was 6.30 in the morning. Well, I have this habit of slapping the alarm clock at least 10 times before I actually get up. I would sleep early and set the alarm for 3 am. Then when it rings at 3 am, I would slap the clock; reset it to 4…then 5…then 6…zzzzzzzzz… “ What!! 10.45?? Just 15 mins to get ready for office!”
How could these never-homeworking CPT -ians manage to wake up so early is still a mystery! And Gopu, a CPT-ian told me there was one girl named Mohini who managed to come in full make-up even at 6.30-kajal,mascara,eye-liner,blusher,curled hair, painted nails, lip gloss,…….She must be waking up by 3 am everyday(or night) to get ready by 6.30.Then too, she was never late. While Gopu and his friends never reached on time despite the fact that they never bathed and some of his friends didn’t even brush!