I am here with my short story which I shall be publishing in 3 parts.
Presenting Part I of The Joker.
P.S. - Do share it with your friends in case you find it interesting and of course do comment.
I was tucking my ocean-blue shirt in the freshly pressed black cotton pants for the third time when Taneja’s signature bike vroom signaled me to hurry down.
“Bye Mummy, going college” I shouted while hurrying out of the house unintentionally banging the door behind.
“Dude you finally shaved”
“Gotta look decent in the interview Taneja”
Minutes later we entered college with the security guard giving his signature salaam accompanied by a radiant smile. I gestured back bowing my head.
Rupam almost jumped down the stairs from the first floor before hopping towards me for a hug.
“Hey Pratyush, good to have you back man”
“Thanks dada. All set for today?”
“Absolutely dude. By the end of the day company will be in my pocket”
“Great buddy! I don’t have such high aspirations. Just a job would be okay for me. Hey since you will own the company, may be you can hire me if I run out of luck today”
Taneja hit us both in the back of head “Stop talking bitches and study”.
“Hey Taneja isn’t that the girl you were staring the other day?” My neck moved in the direction of Rupam’s vision.
Rupam continued “I think she was periodically looking at you”.
After passing a faint smile to the classified-junior, Taneja hit Rupam’s back “What the fuck is wrong with you dude? It’s placement day idiot, Studyyyyyyy”.
Without glancing anywhere else we were glued to our screens.
Within 10 minutes Rupam spoke “Remember the day when…” He stopped abruptly after glancing at Taneja’s I-Will-Kill-You expression but managed some strength for saying “Pratyush has come after such a long time yaar… I am excited”.
“Perform all your homo-phillic rituals after the interview” replied Taneja sternly.
Rupam would not dare cross Taneja’s words and thus flipped through the pdf file.
In an hour the race against time started with the first round of MCQ questions.
“Could the paper be more ruthless?” exclaimed Taneja.
“What kind of an ass sets such a tough paper? I gotta smoke dude” notified Rupam.
After two hours of waiting, the result was announced for ‘who were spending the night in the college premises’.
Three juries were sitting comfortably on reclining wheel chairs.
I greeted them with “Good morning”.
“Is it still morning” exclaimed one looking at his watch.
“No sir, it’s almost evening now but my father taught me to greet good morning whenever I meet someone for the first time. It has become a habit now irrespective of the position of the sun with respect to us”
The trio exchanged glances while the youngest one said “Please be seated and introduce yourself” with a warm smile.
“Hello I am Pratyush Khurana, born and brought up here in Salt Lake with aspirations to live all across the globe. My project is on development of Android based social messaging application. We are a team of six people and I am designing the weird smileys”
“Great. Pratyush you have managed to keep an excellent track record since the first year. Exact six pointers all the way, except in the last semester. I am curious to know how you managed this”
“Sir it’s a sacred form of art. Staying still on a hypotenuse isn’t a kid’s game”
“Well, then why did you get a seven point three in the last semester?”
I replied, “Clearly I was tired and my monkey instinct took over, thus the leap” shrugging my shoulder.
I did see a hint of smile on all three interviewers.
Half way through the interview the youngest one exclaimed
“Pratyush you seem to have a decent track record till you entered college. Eighty nine percentile in boards and two zero one rank in JEE.
A joker is not capable of getting ninety percent scholarship. What happened?”
The 1000 beats-per-minute thumping heart was stuck in my parched throat. I looked dumbstruck at the interviewer.
Interviewer continued “I will give you one option. We have ten more students to interview after which we will call you again. You will have One Minute to express why you are suitable for our company. Get out”.
I walked out with my eyes still fixated on the ground and ran six floors above, straight to the roof. The city looked color coded on a black canvas. The calm environment kept the ‘Joker’ buzzer ringing. The last time anyone called me Joker was three years ago.
—————To Be Continued