Talent or lack of it, and hard work or lack of it had driven him to the Institute. One might argue could have achieved better by working harder. But, he had not at least idled out his time. Like all of his generation, who grew up in post liberal India, and crept to youth in the 21st century, he too had the desire of fulfilling his parent’s intentions. And though they never forced him, he could understand very well what they wanted.
As a boy he grew up wanting nothing, asking for only childlike desires, and almost always following his heart. He was a stranger to the new avenues, but he wanted the newer avenues to shape or reshape his destiny. He had gone with the crowd and taken up computers, but he hardly knew why he had done that, and what he was ultimately going to do with that.
One day at a Graphics class, and the struggle through programming lessons made him aware that this was not a world for him. He had to cope up with adverse circumstances. The misty past was no longer there, and future beckoned. But he was nowhere.
Slowly, he found people to talk to. Suddenly, a few hits on the face and a few minutes of chair-session made him feel like hell. All the interest seemed to be lost, and he found that human beings could behave much differently from his family and friends. The world seemed to collapse and then get up again. He thought it was time to adapt.
The old man who lectured on social values seemed so nice till, l of course when he appeared the exams, when the same man expected him to write a story for a question that was expected to be answered in two minutes!! “Guess who is polluting the papers now??” he thought to himself. And that too for a subject which was so different from computers!!!Still he agreed and moved on, giving his best for the inconsequential subject as well!! Every now and then, he thought about what a fool they were making out of him.
Then was the turn to meet the Binary-Man, who paid attention to the perfectness of an answer. Perfect or Zero philosophy was hard to digest. No one was a superman, but here in this Institute you had to be. Imperfect people were like second-class citizens. Just get them admitted, and never care whether they pass or fail, or even live or die. And at this point of time the old Social-Man seemed to blissfully disappear. It was mythology. The gods could do no wrong!!!
If the Binary-Man was not enough, there was a Great-Man who thought that students securing less than half the mark should fail, though the convention was of one-third the marks. He guessed that the education system would improve if the same subject was repeated over and over again. There was a friend of his, Back-Man who believed that at least a tenth of people should repeat the subject for the sake of excellence.
All these philosophies could not enter his mind, but he had to adjust. After all it was not his Institute, but of the all-powerful gods, who had assumed the avatars of men. He should have considered it his privilege to learn from the gods. He had no say, indeed he was not supposed to have any voice. That bounded area seemed out of the purview of Indian Democracy, it seemed like a filthy dance of power.
Now that the time had come to move on, he knew that the four years of living amidst non-humans and humans together shaped his career. After all he found humans who gave him a shoulder to cry on, a dream to express, a word of praise for the worst of his works, and inspired him to a new level of existence, people who brought him out of dismal moments, and urged him to move on. He might have emerged morally deteriorated to a class of people, but he knew he had shaped himself into a better man. This shy boy found pleasure in talking to people, and looking at the world though a lot many eyes.
But at what cost? At the cost of losing his individuality? Perhaps not. Only time will answer!!