The Promise II | HCIBT #3

Once again, the cold floor woke me up earlier than my alarm.

I could hear the morning prayers in the Gurudwara. I sat on my knees and listened to softening words of the Japji Sahib. Words of wisdom created a sense of responsibility and encouragement in me. I listened to the music for a few minutes, then took out the only fresh clothes in my bag and went to bath.

It was too early for college, so I decided to sit for Kirtan. I covered my head with a white handkerchief and went inside the prayer hall. I walked to the platform of Guru Granth Sahib, knelt in front of it and put my forehead on the ground. It is the way of praying for Sikhs. I got up and sat in a corner concentrating on the music. 

I had always thought that all my achievements were the results of my hard work. I had never considered the factor of luck. But sitting inside the holy place I was grateful for the luck I have got. I thought about all the things that could have gone wrong but didn't. Infinite choices at infinite points in my life; anything could have happened. And overall, this was the way my life had turned out. I was grateful for the way it had turned out. 

I recalled the day of my interview for admission to St. Stephen's College. I could remember that the answer to many questions was: 'I am sorry. I don't know. I was feeling disappointed going back on the train. I thought I missed the chance. But somehow, they decided to take me in. What else can that be besides the grace of God? I could count uncountable such incidents that were mere luck and nothing else. All those incidents were incidents of God's Grace. The feeling of gratitude made me happy. I was thinking about it on my way to college. My life was full of such incidents: right from the beginning. Many times in my life, I had narrowly escaped the grim.

I had memorized the way to college. I was walking on the narrow streets with entangled wires, dirty roads, and stray cows wandering here and there. Soon I made it to the university campus. I showed my new ID card to the security guard and made my way to the college hall for assembly. We were to sit exactly where we sat on the day of orientation. As I had already expected, people were chattering excitedly. I checked my watch: I had five minutes to pass. I took the chair at the corner and started to pass the remaining time staring at the tilted fan. What would be the thermodynamics of this system?

Principal sir entered at sharp nine, and the students rose in respect. He went straight to the mic and greeted everyone with a heartwarming smile.

"Good Morning, everyone." He said in a cheerful voice.

"Good Morning, Sir", Echoed the students.

His smile widened on the realization of the successful transfer of his morning energy. After that, he started giving his daily dose of motivation. He presented a list of differences between college life and school life. At the end, he suggested us to make a list of all the things we would like to do in our college life.

A boy stepped up to the podium with a thick book. It must have been the Holy Bible. He recited a verse from it with a voice full of enthusiasm. Then carefully closed the book and stepped down. Then principal sir explained the verse relating it to our real life. At nine twenty-five, he asked us to stand up and close our eyes as he recited the prayer. It started with 'Oh God our heavenly father...', but I lost concentration pretty soon. I barely made it to the end of the prayer. I was so eager to open my eyes.

After the assembly was over, we walked in groups to our classrooms. I was alone in the crowd, hardly knowing anyone there. I walked by the corridors gazing into the plants that hanged from the ceiling of the Physics department corridor. Quickly, we made our way to NPL for the lab theory class. 

The lab was bright from the sunlight entering through the glass windows. Three long tables were placed along their length all the way to the end. Various equipment were arranged in an order. I could place some of them as power supplies, multimeter, and some other equipment for wire cutting peeling. A white screen was hanging down in front of board and the lab assistants were setting up the projector. That was new to me that people use projectors to teach. I was already excited to this class. It looked like a lab, perhaps because it was a lab.

A thin, short man with dilute hair welcomed us with a friendly smile. He watched us as we filled the classroom. I was both nervous and excited about this. Two girls took the seats next to mine. One of them was wearing the same friendly smile as the professor. Where do we get this smile, I wondered.

The teacher spoke in a nervous voice which was his normal voice.

"Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the computational physics lab. My name is Dr. Sunil Unnikrishnan." He introduced himself and the course. The class seemed interesting initially but became boring after some time. It was supposed to be a programming class but all we did in the class was to discuss the origin of the word 'algorithm'.

After that, we moved to NPLT for prof Geetanjali's class in Mathematical Physics. She didn't do any introduction. She began to teach from the first minute. It was quite an interesting class but seemed very long. Ultimately, she took attendance and told us to stand up and show our faces.She said that she wanted to remember the names of every student but she always forget and misplace it. She also told us that if we want her to remember our name, we would have to participate more  in class, ask more doubts and answer more questions.

I was the most excited about Dr. Abhinav Gupta's class. The excitement was already set by Sangeeta ma'am in the orientation. He was said to be the best teacher in St. Stephen's college as I have heard of it. I couldn't wait to learn from him. He entered the class and started writing the names of reference books on the board.

Then he faced the class with an excited face and asked the question.

"How many of you are actually interested in Physics?"

Most of the class raised their hands, including me. We all were interested in Physics.

"Okay, let's put it this way. How many of you are not really interested in Physics?"

A few people raised their hands.

"Then why are you here?" He cracked the joke at first, and the class burst into laughter.

"So, on the first day itself, I want to keep your high hopes in check because our journey for the love of Physics is challenging. We will have to work hard to keep the relationship get going. Best of luck on your journey to climb the mountain of knowledge. It's not about the YouTube videos telling the secrets of universe, Einstein's theory of time travel, and existence of God proven by Quantum mechanics. It's hardcore mathematics and it's going to be hard. But it is going to be interesting if you look it from certain angle. My job is to direct you in that prospective. My job is to train you for believe in real Physics. You will have to scratch the iron nails in the water till they dissipate. Is that clear?"

I noticed his English was fluent and furious. It looked like he had just landed from America. He was very confident with his sentences. And as I needed to be more confident in English, I couldn't understand anything from him in his first class. He did a lot of elaboration in the class, but all I could get was the word 'algorithm.' Perhaps because I knew the origin of this word or because he used this word way too many times. The fun thing is I started to count the word. It made me happy every time he said 'algorithm.' I was feeling dumb after taking his class.

Sangeeta Ma'am's class was the best of the day. She didn't start with writing something on the board. But she took a proper introduction from every student, including our residence places and our interest in Physics.

She was in charge of the Mechanics lab, so she spent her class telling us about lab reports, the procedure of experiments, and how to take observations. She told us that the class would be divided into two parts. Half of us will attend the Mechanics lab today, and the other half will attend the computational lab.

When the class ended, she followed some students out of the classroom, deeply in conversation with them. She liked an audience, she liked to talk with students.

The class was empty when some of the seniors entered. They started talking with the few students sitting on the first bench. I moved closer to listen to them.

"Have you guys been taken intros?" One of the senior boys was asking them.

"I have." One of my classmates, who was exceptionally pale, answered excitedly.

"Oh, you will do that again," he said, "just to set an example."

My classmate took the order from the voice. He stood in an attentive position and started talking like an army soldier and gave his intro.

"You need to find good hobbies, bro!" The other senior with glasses suggested.

"Who took your intro?" The other one asked.

"Phogat bhaiya!" He beamed at the tallest and most muscular man.

"Of course!" He said. "Now tell your classmates the rules of the intro."

"I will tell them." One of the girls said excitedly as she stepped ahead. She started explaining the rules. She was counting the things we needed to tell on her fingers.

"You need to tell your full name, your hometown, your 12th marks with only, and your hobbies. You have to follow this exact order. Putting only your marks is compulsory. For example, I got 98 percent only. If you miss anything or don't follow the order, you start again."

People started giving their intros. Some of them fumbled, missed the order because of nerves, and had to start again. In my turn, I stood up and nailed the process like I was born for it.

"My name is Shyam Sunder. I am from Firozpur, Punjab. I have 96 percent only. My hobbies are watching cricket and listening to music."

You are from Punjab. Do you listen to Sidhu Moosewala?" asked Phogat bhaiya.

"A lot!"

He thumped his chest. "Yo! M'boy."

When we all were done with intros, Phogat bhaiya asked eagerly.

"Is anyone here from sports quota?"

There was silence for a few moments. I have almost assumed that no one is from sports quota. And then someone spoke at the end of the class.

"Yes." A voice came from the last bench. Mohit emerged from under the desk. His mouth was still full of sandwiches, and he could hardly speak.

"I am." He waited momentarily to chew his sandwich and spoke when his mouth was empty.

"I am from sports quota." He said clearly this time. All was us were looking at him with shock-supressed-laughter. I had not idea whether he

"Which sport?"

"I came in through disc throw. But I play Basketball, Cricket, Badminton, Football, basically everything."

"Same, I came in through shooting, But I play Basketball.", Phogat bhaiya added.

"Wait, You missed your intro. I didn't see you." Navin, the taller guy, asked suspiciously, narrowing his brows.

"Yeah, I was eating.", He said so casually. I was amazed by that bravery. I dare not speak anything to seniors on the first day of college, and he treats them like buddies. I need that bravery.

"You are not eating now. You can start now."

"I forgot the rules." He said so coldly. The replies were becoming more impressive.

The cute girl stepped up excitedly again and repeated the rules. She enjoyed doing that, I deduced.

"I am Mohit Pooniya. I am from Hanumangarh, Rajasthan. I got 82 percent in my 12th class only. And my hobbies are playing, and watching sports, all kinds and all day."

"You talk too much," Navin commented.

"So do you, by the way." He reflected the arrow straight hundred and eighty degrees back.

"Why did you take Physics? Do you know the hectic schedule here and how hard it is to pass?" Phogat bhaiya asked.

"Why did you take Physics?" He questioned straight back.

"My father teaches Physics. He wanted me to take Physics."

"Oh." He whispered. His counterattack failed miserably, and now he was thinking about a new answer. "I like Physics. It has applications in basically all sports. I wanted to know how things work." He answered excitedly.

That was a proper Physics Student's answer. I thought.

"And I am not afraid of the hectic schedule here. I think I know enough Physics to pass." The confidence was spilling out of him.

"Everyone thinks the same way in their first year, but the spirit fades away slowly." The girl who was quiet till now spoke with a voice of advice.

"Let's see your penetration depth and how far your kinetic energy takes you."

"Yeah, let's see. I believe only I will see; you will be gone by then. So the correct phrase would be 'Let me see'". The girl raised her brows at this.

"Have you had lunch?" Phogat bhaiya asked.


"Let's go have lunch."

He left the classroom with the seniors. I looked around: everyone was gone. I was the only one sitting there. I looked at my watch—only ten minutes to two. I rushed out of the classroom.

I went to the Science Dhaba since it was nearer than the cafe. The operator there smiled at me and asked me in a Bhojpuri accent, "What do you want, Bhaiya? We got a Maggie, an omelet, a cutlet, a samosa, and sandwiches.

"I would like two samosas." I paid him two old notes of 10 rupees. 

A girl came there and ordered something in English. I was surprised to see the operator speaks English as fluently as Bhojpuri. You should never underestimate anyone; you never know about their hidden talents. If they are not showing something off, it doesn't necessarily mean that they don't possess that thing; it can also mean that they are respecting it. So it is very mindful of respecting all.

I ate my samosa silently, observing the boys and girls and fancy and expensive dresses chattering excitedly. Do all people live so excitedly here? If that is so, I am fortunate to be here. When I finished eating, I looked at my watch. It was already two. I rushed to the lab.

The lab was already full when I entered, but nothing serious was going on. Sangeeta Ma'am was patiently watching the students chatter among themselves. Perhaps she was waiting for some latecomers like me. I went in and settled myself on the last table. Prof. Sangeeta started to give us instructions about the lab.

She talked in a loud voice. "You will select your lab partners and report your names to me. Then I will assign you your zeroth experiment. You must do some measurements with instruments like screw gauge, vernier caliper, etc. You have ten minutes to select your lab partners."

My classmates already knew each other. They started to exchange glances, some eyebrows raised, some head tilted, a few words came out and the pairs were made before I could think of what to do. I was alone in the class and knew no one. I was too scared to make the first move, wishing for someone to come and pair with me.

Before I closed my eyes to make a wish, God fulfilled it. Mohit came to me and asked, "Why are you sitting alone? Haven't you found your lab partner yet?" He asked me in Hindi. I was so relieved when I heard those words. It was like seeing a sight of water in the desert. It was like seeing a familiar face in the crowd of strangers. It was like floating paper boat in a river at flood.

"No," I replied hopelessly.

"You can work with me. I am good at labs." His tone was assuring.


"Let's go give our names to the professor."

We walked through the crowd to the teacher's desk. She was writing the names of lab groups on an extended chart. Mohit went forward and told her our names. 

"Mohit Pooniya and Shyam Sunder." He said quickly.

"Speak slowly. I need to write it down."

"Mohit Pooniya," Mohit said slowly.

"Mohit Pooniya." She repeated as she wrote down.

"Shyam Sunder." Mohit said my name slowly.

"Are you Shyam Sunder?" She pointed at me with her pen.

"Yes, ma'am," I answered hesitantly. 

"Shyam Sunder." She wrote that down. She put the pen on the chart and looked up to us. "Okay! Your aim is to measure the width of this pipe with the screw gauge. Do you know how to use a screw gauge?"

I answered positively.

"Take two of them. Both of you will take separate sets of observations. And get it checked by me before you leave the lab. Is that clear?"

"Yes, ma'am!" Both of us said silently.

"Good." She handed us two screw gauges and two pen-shaped pipes.

We took the tools and went to our table and the end of the lab. Mohit took out the screw gauge and started to examine it, looking at it very closely. I had already taken out mine and started to write its least count when I noticed him. I couldn't suppress my smile.

"Have you used a screw gauge before?" I asked him.

"This object is beautiful. Isn't it?" He answered without taking his eyes off the instrument.

"That answers my question." I watched him for a few more seconds as he moved the screw from left to right. He was fascinated by it.

"Do you want me to teach you how to use it?"

I told him about the least count. He said that he knew the theory but never got first-hand experience. I show him a demo by using it on the pipe myself. He watched with apprehension.

"Got it?"

"Yeah. I think it's a fairly straightforward process." He picked up the screw gauge and started examining it and yet again.

"Yes." I nodded at him. I started taking observations for myself. He did the same for a while in silence. But the silence didn't suit him. He spoke after a minute.

"Shyam. You are from Punjab, right?"

I was adding the scales. "Yes," I answered.

"Are you a Sikh?"

"No. I am a Hindu."

"There are Hindus in Punjab?" He asked, like he was surprised to find that out.

"Yes, there are Hindus in Punjab. But why does it matter?"

He hesitated momentarily, like he was searching for the answer or maybe thinking about the next question.

"What does it feel like being a Punjabi?"

At this, I looked up, looked at his face. My mouth was hollow from soundless laughter, like a missed shot of a canon.

"How does it feel like being a Rajasthani?" I tried to answer him like he answered the senior in the class.

"No." He was searching for a sentence, "I mean, you have all the water in the world. You have got fertile land and all the rich resources. We only survive on only the water we get from you."

That made me think for a moment. I didn't have any immediate answer for it. But I had to be innovative. Oh God! That question was like a UPSC interview question.

"Why didn't you go to Canada?", He might have read the confusion on my face, so he changed the subject immediately. I was relieved by that.

"Not all the Punjabis go to Canada, bro. Some of us must live here and look after our beloved country."

"Is that why you didn't go there?" I don't know why but I wanted conformation. I didn't want to give him information. But he had caught me there, and I had to dismiss the matter.

"Yes. It takes a lot of money to study abroad. If I put all of my worth together, it would still be less than the university fees. That was not an option for me. It was out of mind, out of sight."

"Oh. That was the same for me. Out of sight, out of mind. I never thought about studying abroad." He replied, but he sounded like he was consoling me. I didn't like that much to be honest. 

He was so engaged in the conversation and didn't notice Sangeeta Ma'am approaching our desk.

"How is your measurement so precise? What is the least count of your instrument?", She asked. She was looking into Mohit's notebook tracing his observation table with her forefinger.

Mohit was caught by surprise. He couldn't speak for a moment and stared blankly at her face. I took the situation and talked on his behalf.

"It's 0.001-centimeter, ma'am. We have done the calculations." I showed her my list. But she ignored it. She picked up Mohit's copy and examined it.

"Your calculations are right, but your method is wrong." She said thoughtfully. She picked up the screw gauge and demonstrated a different method to measure the narrow widths. The key was to count the number of revolutions instead of reading the scale. She told us to repeat the experiment. After she had gone out of earshot, Mohit turned to me.

"I thought you knew how to use this damn thing." He was questioning me as if somebody had just betrayed him.

"I thought that too. Look, what I did was right. But you need to read the scale correctly. You only focus on the big-scale divisions."

He thought for a moment. But he was not ready to admit that it was his mistake. "How would I know that? You didn't tell me."

"Okay, my bad. Now we can use this new method. We don't need to read the scale, then. We just have to could the revolutions." I said quickly.

"Okay!" He agreed. We worked for about five minutes in silence. It was easy for me, but he needed more work to achieve this feat.

"Are you in residence?" He asked me in some desperation to end the silence.

"No. I applied but didn't get it." I replied, still doing the calculations.

"So, where are you living?"

"I am living in Gurudwara temporarily. I am searching for a place to live."

A spark of excitement rose through his voice as he heard that. "I was looking for a roommate. I have taken a flat on rental. If you want, you can share the flat with me."

I looked at his face, smiling with newfound joy. I considered his offer for a minute. I barely knew this person. How could I possibly think of it? But then I thought about my options as roommates in those PGs. They might not have been from the same college. This guy was my classmate. And as my sister said last night. We would have to start from somewhere. I could not possibly know every person here, it was impossible to find someone I know as a roommate. In every situation, I was going to have a roommate who was a complete stranger to me.

"Is the area clean?" That was my only concern.

"Yes, it is near the Gurudwara. You can even see the flag from the window."

"That area is clean." I was happy to know that.

"You can move today only. Today is Monday; what an auspicious day it is to move."

I smiled at this comment. I didn't really believed in the auspicious days. But I could not bear living one more day in the Gurudwara. I had to find a permanent place to live. "Yeah, it is," I said quietly. Then went back to measuring the width of the pipe again. We completed the experiment in the next ten minutes. At last, we matched our calculations. And we had got that right. I suggested showing it to Sangeeta, ma'am.

We walked past the desks filled with enthusiastic people doing their first experiment. At the teacher's table, Sangeeta Ma'am was writing the names of lab groups from the big chart into a smaller file. She stopped as she saw us coming.

"Are you guys done with the experiment?" She asked.

"Yes, ma'am. We wanted to show you the observations." I held out my notebook.

She scanned it, seemingly doing all the calculations in her head. He approved in a nod after a minute. Then she did the same thing with Mohit's observations. She cleared him out too.

"Can we go now?" Mohit asked her.

"Wait. I'll take your attendance." She reached for the file and marked us present.

"Now you are free to go home. Enjoy!"

It was close to five, and the July heat had started to cool down. I could see the long shadows of the trees. It was still sharp and hot. We decided to go for tea before we headed out. The day had been tiring, and it would still be tiring.

The cafe welcomed us with a cold feeling as it was all air-conditioned. We took the tea and sat on an empty table to sip and discuss.

"When did you come to Delhi?"

"I arrived a day before the orientation."

"What have you been doing since then?"

"Searching for a place to live. I am disappointed by the cleanliness here. I am never satisfied with the PGs."

"That's a simple trick. Nearer to the college, more expensive and less clean. The area near Gurudwara is a considerable distance from our college. So the flats there are cheap, and the area is satisfyingly clean. You don't have to worry about that." He sipped the tea and continued.

"I finalized the flat on the day of trials only. I was confident after the trials. I knew I had done enough to make it to the college. And I started to look for a room. At that time, the other colleges had not started the admissions, so most of the flats were empty. I got a good  one with lesser. But it's on a little walking distance from the college. But I don't think you would mind. A little physical exercise is always good for your body. Since then, I have been looking for a roommate."

I looked at him giving all these details about his flat. Like he was salesman, one of those brokers I met during my PG hunt. And I was sure he could sell one seat if not more. His confidence was impressive. He can talk out of any situation. How do you get such confidence? Do you have to do the deliberate practice of speaking through difficult situations repeatedly, or does it come naturally? I thought the latter was true. Some people are naturally talkative. I was not one of them, luckily.

On the way to his flat, we talked about our classes. Sangeeta Madam's class was the favorite of both. We only liked Abhinav Gupta's class a bit. He said that he didn't even like his attitude. That's nothing like if we pass out from this college, we would be scientist or something. We were going through the day again, and a funny thought came to me.

"When you said you were good at labs, I thought you were telling the truth."

He laughed and snapped his fingers. "You got me there. To be honest, I was anxious. I thought I could not find my lab partener. Who would want to do the experiments with a sports quota admission."

I could feel him. "I was feeling the same thing, bro. I know no one here, and I was feeling left out." 

"It's okay. I am sure you would fine lots of friends here."

"I doubt that." 

After walking for two more minutes, we were at his flat. 

"It's upstairs. We have to climb up. Mohit said as he led the way, and we entered the stairway. He closed the steel door behind us and climbed two floors. To my tired lags, it looked like we were climbing a mountain. After what seemed an eternity, there it was: Mohit's flat.  

At first glance it looked like an abandoned house. It was smaller than my expectations. It was supposed to be a 2BHK flat, but the second room seemed to be merged into the hall. 2BHK was not the definition of this. It can either be 1BHK or 2BK. It's funny how they sell those flats: tweaking through variables and making the most money out of it. It's like those political cartoons in the newspaper, you know that it's wrong but you can't point your finger on that. It's just right in the legal terms.

The hall was empty except for a bed in one corner, a chair, and a round table. I looked around myself. I could smell that it was freshly painted. The wardrobe was built into the wall. I walked toward it and opened it. The stored dust welcomed me. I coughed and closed it without opening my eyes. There was a window with old frame on the side wall which made way for the sunlight. I opened the window and peeked outside. The view could have been better, but the area was considerably cleaner. I could see the flags from the Gurudwara at a short distance. I stood there for a minute, staring at the buildings outside. I looked back and found Mohit waiting for me.

He unlocked his room which he had locked for double security. His room was large and dark. The sunlight was blocked by thick curtains on the windows. He switched on the lights. His room was clean except for the scattered equipment from his cricket kit. The gloves and pads were all over the floor. Three bats were standing in a line beside that. He might have been practicing last night and didn't bother to put things back into place. Then my eyes found his unmade bed, with his nightclothes and towel on it. I could guess he was his mom's favorite and never learned to make his bed. Or he might have woken up late and rushed to the college.

He caught my eyes and quickly picked things up. He was indeed surprised to find a visitor today.

"Is this your first year living away from home?" I asked him. I had already guessed the answer.

"Yes. I have never left my house." My guess was correct.

He had decorated his room well with posters of cricket players. Photos of various Indian and overseas cricket players were blinking at me from all directions. Virat Kohli's face could be seen in many of them. I recognized the 2011 world cup winning team's poster just above this desk.

"Is Virat your favorite?" Again it was more of a statement than a question.

"Yes. Virat is so good, isn't he? He is so hardworking, fit, and fine. He is the number-one player in the world right now. No bet. I idolize him. Who is your favorite?"

"Rohit." I ended the answer in one word.

"Since when? After his five centuries in this world cup?" he took that seriously.

"No. Since Rohit's double century against Australia. I was watching that live."

"Yeah, I was watching that live too. Rohit ran Virat Kohli out."

That means he didn't like Rohit very much. 'Oh boy! This is going to be fun.' I thought.

"You explore it a bit. I will make tea for you." He said quickly and walked out of the room. Funny how people assume the answers. I didn't tell him I wanted a cup of tea. He just took that my answer would be a yes. He forgot that we had tea less than half an hour ago. I thought it was too late as he was already out of the room. But for the sake of friendship, I will sip one more cup.

I walked to the cricket kit bag he had left open on the floor. I had never seen such equipment in my life. I put on the gloves and started testing the bats. He had many things in his bag. Different types of balls, white, red, and pink, and guards. After some time when I didn't hear him come back. I went to the kitchen to check him out. He was scrolling his phone with the tea set to boil on the induction.

As he saw me, he started explaining things I didn't ask for. People always do that, talking way more than necessary.

"I have been eating outside till now, so I haven't bought the LPG yet. We will arrange everything together. For small tasks, such as tea, this induction is enough. I have brought some of the major utensils from home. We need to buy more, like a frying pan..."

I decided to interrupt him since he did not wish to stop.

"I am bringing the rest of the luggage from home this weekend. I will get some utensils too. Just make a list and hand me down." I assured him.

He nodded. I was expecting a thank you, but it was okay. We will think about thinking more and more.

We took the tea into his room.

"How is it? Do you like it? So, Do you want to live with me here?" He asked three questions at the same time.

"Yeah. It's excellent. But I have a few concerns."

"Shoot them over." He said confidently like he was a Panch.

We discussed a few topics over tea. The most important of them was that I am not living in the hall while he stays in the AC bedroom. We sorted that out. After that, we went through rent and all other things.

When everything was sorted out and a vocal contract was withdrawn, we headed to the Gurudwara to bring my things. I took out the receipt to show at the store to take the stuff from my bag and put that into my pocket.

We walked to the Gurudwara, which was not so far away. After taking the luggage out of the store room, we went nearby to find a restaurant for dinner. After dinner, we explored the market to buy essentials like mattresses, buckets, and other necessities.

I took some time aside after dinner to wash my clothes. I sat alone in the bathroom to wash my clothes with whatever was available. I dropped my clothes in the basket and turned the tap on to fill it with water. I stared at it briefly and thought about the day today. My life had automatically taken a turn and made its way to ease. Like the water makes its way automatically, it was all in the trust of the process; I didn't have to do anything. I had been searching for a place to live since I arrived here, and exactly when I stopped searching, the opportunity made its way to me. Strange! How things work out in life.

We talked about our future in college that night. He told me about his plans to play cricket for college and then play it on higher levels. Since he was not selected through cricket, he had to go through the trials to get into the college team. I liked the fact that he had ambitions. There is something he can look for in college. On the other hand, I had no goal other than to graduate. He told me about his achievements in Sports. He had played shooting state level. He said one wall in his homeroom was full of trophies and certificates he got for recognition. I was half listening to him and dreaming about his life and what it means to be popular. I was being dragged into sleep by his loose talk when he dropped the question that woke me up.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" Mohit asked casually.

"No," I answered almost immediately. Then I thought about it. Why does Mohit keep asking these unrelated uncomfortable questions?

"Do you want to make a girlfriend here?" He shot the second question immediately.

"I don't know. I am not here for just that, for sure." I chose to play safe.

"I want to make one." He told. At this moment, I was well adjusted to his habit of describing things without asking.


"It's fun having one." He paused for a second, like searching for a good answer. Then he gave up before a minute. He could not put his mind to the serious business of thinking, "You only know when you have a girlfriend."

"Okay," I said, suggesting I wanted to close the topic.

"Do you want to go play cricket after classes tomorrow? I know a place nearby."

"Sure! But tomorrow. Now let me sleep. I am exhausted."

"Okay, Good night."

"Oh yeah, good night."

I pulled the cover over my face. Mohit seemed a nice guy. He had ambitions. He could talk through situations easily. But, he seemed arrogant sometimes. Regarding opinions, he likes to force his points rather than listen to other people, as I do. He just stressed his points loudly rather than logically arguing. I noticed many times when we talked about cricket when buying stuff. He behaves like the things he likes are the best and all other people are wrong. When he said He wanted to have a girlfriend, was he joking, or was he some kind of creep? He seemed more of a jerk. I have a little problem with that. Overall, he seemed an amiable person. I would have no problem spending the following year with him.

I forgot I had to tell my sister I finally got a place to live. I realized she was right. If I talked to my classmates, I could get an apartment. And I got one. I will speak to her first thing the following day. With that promise, I fell asleep.