“May I come in sir?” I asked bending down a little and maintaining a tone as servile as possible.
A spectacled face nodded as the torso bearing it comforted itself on a chair in the Registrar’s office. He was the Exam Controller of the University. I entered the office.
“Yes, I am Anish Desai, ID Number so and so” I said repeating after the Exam Controller as he read out those details from a pamphlet.
“So you want a branch change?” he asked looking up to me. He as looked up, I had not only his attention but also the attention of two other people in the office sitting with him. They were the Dean and the Registrar.
In a nervous voice I said, “Yes sir.” I stopped, but then continued as I felt their eyes getting reflexes from the brain, which had in turn received a message from the ears which wanted to hear some more words from me. “I am currently in IT. I want a branch change to CE.”, I added.
“You’re in SFI; there are seats in CE SFI. You’re okay with it?” the Dean said. “Yes sir, Yes Sir” I said again in a submissive tone just to give my impression as a usual tamed DDU student.
“Okay, so find your name in the list and sign beside the ID number.” the Exam Controller said handing over the pamphlet which adorned his hands formerly. I did it ardently, holding the pen as gentle and carefully as I would hold my child immediately after it were born. “Okay, so from IT SFI to CE SFI”, he said. “Yes sir, correct. From IT SFI to CE SFI”. It is always good to repeat things however boring it may seem when it comes to sensitive matters like branch change. “Okay it’s done, you can leave now”, the Dean said. “Thank you sir”, I said twice again bowing down as much as my back allowed, following the trend of servility in DDU students. I should have repeated it thrice though as there were three authorities, but they were people too high in stature to mind such petty things. I left the room with my nervous steps advancing towards the door.
Some fifty odd students waited outside, some of them in a queue of excitement and expectations of a BRANCH CHANGE. My eyes looked down, sad and bewildered over the panorama of past five minutes. My eyes looked for Bhargav, the person whom I called a best friend and actually meant the superlative it when I prefixed it with ‘FRIEND’. I rushed towards him, hugged him tight with my heart just overflowing with mixed emotions. We stayed clasped to each other from some thirty seconds. I shed a tear or two when I held my head on his shoulder, but manage to wipe them off so he couldn’t see them. I had a repute of a stud after all.
This was 8th July, 2011 – the day of BRANCH CHANGE, a religious day in DDU, when you could wash all your previous academic sins by diving in the river called – BRANCH CHANGE. I dove, not with a will but with obligations.
26th July 2010 was our first day in DDU. I had got my admission in IT Engineering, the branch I loved and was most passionate to get into. I kept announcing the merits of IT Engineering, some factual, some by my own fancy through various mediums – blogs, FB comments and ofcourse the best mode of publicity –WORD of MOUTH. I had got into DDU (DDIT), one of the most reputed Engineering Institutes the state had and I felt God had blessed me with more than I had prayed for. I was all quenched till 26th July 2010’s night till a conversation between me and dad happened.
I sat with mom dad that night, discussing about the orientation day in college, future life, placements and so much as a repercussion of my oven-fresh college mania. “So you finally get into DDIT, IT Engineering”, dad said with a neutral sigh. “Yes, I do. Feels good.” I said in my reply. “We had filled for Computer Engineering in choice filling right? You didn’t get it though.” he said reminding me that I had not made into one of the highest cut-off options of admissions. “Yes, but IT is almost like CE. You’ve same subjects, same job prospects, just the name differs. It’s equally good” I said expressing my content for IT. “Okay, so IT is final right, you cannot get a change, reshuffling something?” he said in semi-inquisitive tone. “Well yes, there are things like BRANCH CHANGE. You come into some Top 5 in your branch as the VC said in his speech and you’re offered a BRANCH CHANGE” I said informing. “Oh okay, but Top 5…. Seeing your hard work so far, I don’t think you’re gonna make it anyway.” he scoffed. I had paused for several minutes before my next reply as I felt extremely ridiculed. He said the previous statement as if I had flunked in my 12th standard. “Well, let’s see”, I gave an uninteresting reply to end a conversation which I was not liking any more.
I had forgotten this conversation and commenced my DDU Days. But that conversation had conquered my second mind (the one which Paulo Coelho talks about in “The Valkyries”). Unconsciously I had been thinking about that all day and night till a year. I never wanted to mug and cram in college like the so called brilliant ones do. Studying every day, regular journals, assignments and homework were something that Anish never did. I didn’t spoil my own image in my mind and continued not doing things that a typical Anish never did. But still I somehow scored well in exams by God’s grace. I scored even more lavishly in the 2nd Sem. I was informed about my 2nd Sem results on phone by Bhargav.
I was in Mumbai then in Oberoi Mall, Goregaon with her. I was discussing life with her and life was what came up soon then. I informed her of my results and we celebrated together, the best thing that could ever happen to me. I had previously informed her that I would not want a branch change. I wanted to be IT’s kid. If I took a branch change, I would feel like a traitor. There was a Prof. in IT department who had some good feelings for me. I performed well in his subject and he had been very good, kind and concerned about me. He was once very happy as I had solved a tough program and he told me, “You know, I see a bright future for you. I will be seeing you till 8th Sem. And I see you getting a very good placement.” I felt like a son to him. He felt like a father who was telling his son that he would one day find a very good girl for him. But as soon as the thought of branch change came to my mind, I felt like that son who would be informing his father that he had already found a girl for himself.
5th July 2011 – the college reopened in third semester. The notice on center foyer read that the branch change forms were now available. That night I asked dad if I should apply for one. “Ofcourse” he said. The next day I filled the branch change form with preferences and submitted, taking a leap of faith. Two days from 6th to 8th July, I thought and thought relentlessly. I had parents on one end, who might be extremely happy I could get into CE. DDIT’s CE had one of the highest cut-offs in the state and no wonder why people went too gaga about it. Their happiness is what had meant the most in my life. Seeing a smile on their face was my 1st Rank and my FIRST CLASS DISTINCTION. Hardly anything else could make them happier than my BRANCH CHANGE to CE. On the other end, I imagined a girl who was waiting for me to be hers, my wife-to-be who also meant the most to me. I had to be able enough to take her responsibility. That meant having better placements and better job prospects. Most of my friends suggested that CE had all that. I hardly needed any more incentives to make my mind up for CE, provided it was offered to me.
Time and destiny opened their cards on 8th July, 2011. The BRANCH CHANGE merit list was put up in the morning that day; I was 7th in the list. The rumors said TOP 10 in the list made it. The offer came and I accepted. I hugged Bhargav, the person whom I was going to miss the most in CE. “You’re not in IT, but CE now.” I said to myself several times before I dialed mom and dad to give them the news. Needless to cite that they were more than happy. Mom did notice the ‘speaking silence’ in my voice. Ofcourse mothers are mothers, they can beat Gods too, and sons are mere mortals.
The day had changed a lot of things. I entered DDU as IT’s baby but I will pass out as CE’s product. IT had given me a lot – Friends, Well Wishers and above all, its investment of lifetime in me –THE MEMORIES. I still miss all that. But at the same time let me tell you, I’ve received a lot of love from my friends in CE too. They made me feel equally ‘their and there’. It’s a year today since then and the saga is still on. But 8th July was one day that had changed it all. I woke up as an IT Engineer and I slept being a Computer Engineer…
Love & Regards,