(Continued from Part 1)
There was a sense of skepticism in the air of celebration, somehow a hand-written request with a signature is not going to change the policy.
Next day, Abinash called me to inform me, “VC’s signature alone can’t change anything, and nobody gives a damn about it. One single man can’t change anything, it’s the policy that matters, not the VC and his assertion.” He further added, “These people are increasingly becoming offensive for our north-east origin.”
We called for another meeting in the evening. This time, we would give the final decisive shot. Many ideas were generated. The mostly discussed idea was doing a sting operation, by putting a hidden camera and recording how a few of DU intellectuals perceive about people from north-east. Later, it was rejected, we looked for an ethical solution to this unethical attitude problem.
We finally prepared a script, rehearsed for a drama, a complete drama to put our emotion on the table of top DU executive. Next day, we visited the Dean of Student’s welfare. But, nothing went according to our script as he turned out to be a very genuine human being. He sympathized with us and also expressed his inability to do anything in this matter.
Our next protagonist was the Dean of Science Faculty, already popular amongst us for his offensive attacks. The drama happened, but it backfired.
As a part of the script, there were topics given to Abinash and Indrani to create an emotional impact on this officer. But if that becomes effective, Indrani will start crying to make the situation more intense.
In the real stage performance, Abinash asked the Dean of Science faculty to understand the plight of north-east students who came to study in the capital but suffer due to improper policy. He replied, “You north-east folks come to Delhi, contaminate our culture. You are good in wearing indecent clothes and disseminating disgusting environments to other Delhi kids. Don’t you have any other colleges to study? Ask your Government to build colleges for you. If everyone comes to Delhi, where would the Delhi kids go?”
Receiving this awestruck reply, Abinash started pleading to him with folded hands “Sir, please understand our condition, think of us as your children. Try to imagine how would you have felt if this would have happened to your children?”
“My children? See your face in a mirror,” the Dean reiterated, “My son is in London, and how I can even imagine him as someone who belongs to jungles?”
Abinash started crying, with folded hands. Nobody expected about this while writing the script. His tears were not scripted, these were genuine and bearing the testimony of contempt and impuissance.
Indrani, on the other side, remained speechless. She was just standing there agape with grief. She forgot how to cry.
“You are a man and crying like a woman. Look at your friend, how she is able to remain calm. Grow Up!”
When both of them came out of the office, we could sense something had terribly went wrong. After a few minutes of silence, Indrani started, “Sorry Abinash, today I couldn’t cry. I just can’t fake it.” After hearing the complete story, I asked Indrani why she didn’t cry as per the script. “No Jyotirmoy, I can’t cry just like that. In fact, I don’t think I will cry even on the day of my wedding. Moreover, I don’t think my tears would have any effect on that chap.”
Staying within a friends circle that consists of majority of non-Assamese people, I couldn’t even imagine that there are people with such disdainful mentality sitting at the top most strata of the most revered academic institution of India.
In the evening, we revisited Mamoni Baideu’s quarter. She suggested us to meet the VC again and raise these issues. Her direction was loud and clear. “Raise your voice, and brief him about your experience. Let him know about the reality inside DU. Don’t expect any outcome. I just wish God will guide you my sons!” She said with a quivering voice. We couldn’t help but thank her wholeheartedly. She again called someone and fixed an appointment for the kids in the VC office.
While walking down the lonely road near Arts faculty of North campus, silence prevailed. For me and Parijat, it was a revealing experience of the darker side of DU, an institution that offered learning of lifetime during our 3 years of graduation. We felt like losers in front of Abinash and Indrani, thanks to DU and some of its people.
This time, we wanted to have more disciplined approach, the full and final shot. I just wanted to write down a proper letter of grievance to the VC of DU with appropriate explanation of experience. Justice, equality and conscience were the elements that we wanted to implement. And the last option? We would like to know who is at the top of Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.
Seeing off Indrani at her PG, we walked into a nearby Cyber café. Our intention was to create an exclusive write up addressing all our grievance, not a mere handwritten application for like before.
Next day, we were there at the VC office waiting outside in the security office. The security guards were already informed about our appointment and they offered morning tea and snacks to the distressed kids. They said, they would pray for us.
There was a strange atmosphere in the office. One by one, we could see the top academicians entering into the office. The dean of student’s welfare also appeared amongst them, he gave a faint smile to us. The dean of Science faculty, whose son was in London J, gave a crooked look to us through one corner of his spectacles. He had the “Admission Prospectus” in his hand, trying to hide in hurriedly inside his coat. One guard informed us “Some important meeting came up, you guys have to wait till it’s over.”
We knew, whatever was discussed inside, our agenda would be a part of it.
“The meeting might take quite a long time, all top bosses are here today. Hope they are here for you”, one guard said while pouring more water into the water-cooler.
At around 4:30 PM, the dean of students’ welfare came to us greeting us with a smile. He handed over a printed copy of the new “policy announcement” to us. He welcomed the duo to take provisional admission in DU and asking them to submit original certificates before 15th of August. “Good job guys, All the Best!”
This is the moment we were waiting for. I couldn’t help but look up and say “Oh God, I know it was you! Thanks”. After long celebration, when we left the VC office, even the arrays of flowers in the famous Jawahar Gulab Batika outside the VC office seemed to be greeting us with beautiful colors and butterflies around.
Aftermath, it was just a matter of 3 days. Abinash enrolled for M. Sc. (Chemistry) program at Delhi University. Indrani was now a student of M. A. (Environmental Studies) at Delhi University.
We went to Mamoni Baideu’s place again to express our gratitude and seeking her blessings. She was proud and happy, her kids were victorious.
Hardly did we know that that would be our last meeting with her. She passed away in 2011 after prolonged illness.
The Real Twist:
On August 23rd, Abinash called me up with a big news. His father got a letter from “Rastrapati Bhawan”. A glimpse of what the President of India had said goes like this:
“Dear Mr. Goswami,
This is in regard to your son’s mail that I’ve received. The matter has been taken up with the Vice Chancellor of DU, he will look into it. Your son should be able to enroll for PG program and provide the documents in a later date. I have also asked the VC of Dibrugarh University to declare the result before 10th of August.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
The President of India”
I didn’t know how to react. It was a simple realization for me that the God whom I thanked was the President of India.
On the day we visited the cyber café, we googled to know if the VC can’t do anything, can the Chancellor do something? After visiting the website of the president of India, I simply pasted a copy of the grievance letter in the “Contact me” box. For further communication, I had put Abinash’s father’s name and address in the details form. We had no expectation, we were just optimistic.
Kudos to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Sir, you are not a president anymore. But your humility and excellence are equivalent to supremacy.
While this real-life incident is being written down, Abinash is doing PhD from a reputed university in the United States. Indrani, the lady luck of the group is an environment activist, traveler who is happily married.
Let’s give a big round of applause to the finest president of independent India: the missile man of India, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. Kudos.
(Note: The content of actual letter mentioned here are not the exact, only the essence has been used.)