91.2%. The number gleamed on my screen. It wasn’t just an aggregate of my marks but it was an aggregate of all nighters that made me exist in a different time zone, unbridled passion for subjects i loved, violent forceful passion for the subjects i hated and bullishly ambitious desires. I couldn’t see the 91.2 percent, I could see stars. What I didn’t know that one of these stars was a Conditions Apply asterisk ‘ * ‘. And the * had “Only if donation” written in shamelessly bold yet strategically hidden font.
I visited college in Mumbai which was my first choice. The sun shone brightly on us but my eyes shone brighter. Thinking I should shield other people from my overtly bright eyes, I thought of wearing my sunglasses backwards but then decided that wouldn’t really go with the intellectual vibe of that school. Laughing at my own lame joke, I began walking towards the main office. If my eyes encapsulated the sun, my father’s eyes had the ocean. Knowing that this college was his darling daughter’s dream, he couldn’t help but cry as he was seeing so many years of hard work finally give yield. I lived for this day, to see happy tears in my father’s eyes. At that moment, I thought how unbelievably perfect my life is.
I stood in the line waiting for my turn. “Next” the university representative said and I stepped into the office. And then my perfect world fell apart. “You will need donation! 10 lakhs. Okay?” he said casually. Casually he had catapulted the sun in my eyes into a black hole. Casually he had caused a draught in my father’s ocean-happy eyes. Casually he had put in my life’s toughest dilemma. I looked down with the confusion of a KBC participant who was asked “Who is the prime minister?” and didn’t know the answer. I looked up with the confidence as if I was the prime minister myself. I had to choose between my morals and my future. I had to choose between living with guilt and living with knowing I am saying no to my dream. I don’t think my toughest question faced was that numerical in the business studies paper or that tricky question from economics paper. It was this. “No” I said crisply. The crispness slashed my dreams but not my beliefs
CONTEST ENTRY # 13
Name: Simran Mohta
JAI HIND COLLEGE
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