Once I had to reach my college early for validating my project from my project guide but that day I got up late. I rushed to do my daily chores and went to catch the bus.
No bus came for the first ten minutes and then and when it came, it didn’t stop and buzzed away. I looked at my watch and found that I would not be able to catch the train. Everybody abused the bus driver as all of them were getting late but what else could they have done. The bus driver didn’t even care to give a careless glimpse on them and zoomed off!!!
I had no other option else than to catch the next bus. I had only forty minutes with me and it took around twenty minutes to reach the station. I thought that if I failed to catch a bus soon then I would fail to submit my project on time which would have had adversely affected my final result.
I prayed the almighty to retain my fanatic dream only within the boundaries of my subconciousness but it turned out quite opposite for me. The next bus arrived after ten minutes. I had no more than thirty minutes to make it.
Everybody including me rushed inside the bus only to get enough place for standing comfortably as it was already packed with many more frustated people. We reached talaopali in only ten minutes less or more and it took only two minutes more from there to reach the station.
I felt quite relieved as I was pretty sure that I would catch the train on time. My friends called me to know my current location and I told them with utter rejoice that I would be with them in another two minutes.
As soon as the call ended I recalled that since last night the road has been closed down for construction purposes and therefore the bus was not able to go forward.
It took more than fifteen minutes to cover a distance which could be covered in just two minutes. Due to this I lost my train which was the thing I dreaded the most. I had no other option than to wait for the next train.
Due to all this nonsense and bad luck I reached my college late by an hour. I had done nothing wrong but it was as if God had already decided to punish me that day.
After reaching Asangaon, I ran to hire a rickshaw from the station to the college but soon I got to know that the rickshaw drivers were on an indefinite strike that day against the government who had raised the fuel prices last night in a frenzy.
I had no other option to run down two kilometres to my college. I ran as fast as I could till I finally reached the college entrance gate. I was huffing and puffing and almost finished my water bottle to quench my thirst and to soothed my parched throat.
After I was able to control my heart which was throbbing uncontrollably, I immediately recalled that if I jumped from the balustrades on the rear side of my college, I could reach my lab faster than I would if I came from the front gate.
I ran as fast as I could and used all my aerobic skills that I knew to climb those ten feet high marble balustrades. I called upon every God that I knew to help me have a safe and sound landing once I jumped from those balustrades. Well no one came and I knew that it was just me who could have saved myself from my teacher’s wrath.
I quickly noticed that a heap of sand was kept close to the balustrades. As there was no alternative, I jumped over it. I made quiet a safe fall contrary to what I had thought only with a small bruise on my right knee but since I had no time to waste, I showed my gratitude to all the God’s by bowing down before the sky and continued my run.
I didn’t even go to the washroom to free my ‘ready to burst bladder’ and ran straight to the lab where the project was to be demonstrated. Though I was running only to get scolded at the end, then also I ran like it was the end of my life.
Finally after reaching the lab, I took out my shoes and entered inside. I threw my bag over that of my friend’s and tip-toed towards my group. I approached as silently as I could but I couldn’t escape my bad luck for long.
My project guide saw me coming from back but I didn’t know about it. As soon as I reached behind one of my friends, he said “so joshiji, finally you have reached!”.
I was stunned to listen that because I had no idea about how did he come to know about my presence. My eyes were fully out of their sockets and I started to breathe heavy. I did not know what to do so I kept silent for a moment only to search out a valid reason from my miniscule repository of creative excuses.
Never the less I came out with a pathetic excuse of having fever and was soon given a pitty look at him. He said “still with those age old excuses. You are an engineer, you must come with more exciting excuses which are at least close to the realms of reality”. After a pause of about ten seconds he finally declared what I dreaded the most “Get out of the room. You are late by complete one hour. When such laggardness integrates with such unworthy excuses, there is only one output”.
I stood there nonplussed waiting to listen what I knew would follow. “And that is an E grade” yelled he. Not only me but everyone including my friends and other teachers witnessed the incident.
I was both happy and sad. I felt as if both a force and a counter force were acting on me. One integrating and the other tearing me apart.
I was obviously sad because I was going to get an “E” grade but happy because an “E” does not mean an “F” which stands for fail. I thanked God that I did not completely give up because If I had, then me along with my team members would have definitely failed.
Soon I was surrounded by my team mates who asked me the reason for being so late. I told them my story and they all listened it patiently. I knew that nobody would believe me and all of them would abuse me that not only I will get an “E” grade but along with me even they will get it, therefore I kept my head low, but instead of detesting me or walking away from me in despair, they patted my back and said it’s OK.
Then I quickly took out my laptop and journals and our whole team went to our project guide so as to show our presentation on which we had been working for so many days but he said a direct “NO”. We pleaded but he was adamant on his decision and was not ready to change it at any cost.
‘Why were you late’ he asked me. I told him my whole story but he was not ready to believe it. ‘Do you think I am mad to believe your lame excuse’.
We all were heart broken and didn’t know at all what to do. We talked to other professors as to what could be done but nobody helped us.
Finally we decided to take this matter to our principal. We went to her office and reported the matter to her.
Though we were quite sure that we would have been thrown out of her office in a pretty much similar manner as with other teachers but to our amazement she understood our plight and called our project guide immediately to her office.
We were utterly surprised that she believed our story which everybody else rejected with a wry smile.
She told that she lives in my locality as she had spotted me in the Ganesh Chaturthi festival last week. She further commented that although she had a personal car which dropped her from her home to college and back, she was well aware with the condition of the public transport in her locality. She even knew that the auto rickshaw’s had gone on an indefinite strike from today as it was the headlines in every other news channel.
Finally our project guide entered her room and stood before her with his head held down as he knew he was going to be charged soon for reckless behaviour.
The principal scolded him for not letting us show our presentation and moreover giving an “E” grade only because of a reason that wasn’t under our control was literally childish and at the same time insane.
She entrusted him as well as other assistant professors to see our presentation under her supervision so that it remains fair for us the next day and ordered him to go out. Once he left, she turned towards us and told us not to be late as the same excuse won’t work tomorrow.
We all nodded our head and said a collective yes and went out.
The next day I reached the bus stop with a margin of thirty minutes as compared to the previous day but still the same problem prevailed. No bus stopped and I stood stoned as there was no reason I could have given the same excuse today. If I would have not reached on time today then everybody would have mocked on me for the rest of my college life and I was in no mood to carry such a shame.
Suddenly I saw a Mercedes coming nearby and stopped on my right side. I wondered for a moment as who would it be. I tried to make out but couldn’t till the front mirror lowered down and the lady asked me to step in. She was the principal of my college. I stood there flabbergasted and couldn’t move in till she said me thrice.
I looked at her and before she would have moved, I immediately stepped inside. I just couldn’t believe my luck and thanked her to reciprocate my favour.
We reached our college though fifteen minutes late but nobody could have said anything against me because I was accompanied by our college principal.
Finally we gave our presentation in front of everyone including our classmates, teachers and principal. Her presence ensured that there was no bias while our project guide gave us grades for our presentation.
Finally when our results were declared a month after, we all were nonplussed that we got an “A” grade and we celebrated it the whole day.
While at night before going to sleep, I analysed the whole scenario and smirked at myself.
I realised how adverse situations had gripped me and how they made me feel as the unluckiest person in the world initially and later on as the luckiest being this planet has ever produced.
I learned that it is better to stay calm in adverse situations and to maintain our inner confidence which helps us to rise above the odds and instills the feeling that our ill-starred fate may roll over any time.