‘Beep Beep’ – The mobile alarm penetrated through the many layers of slumber in my ears, and I woke up with frustration; not because of the alarm, but because I had to wake up when the majority of the city was still asleep. With a multi-protrusion surface of hair and a shaky body, I made my way to the bathroom. A look into the mirror gave me a sense of happiness, because every morning, though my hair looked like a disturbed bed of weeds and my face still carried the lazy notes of musical hibernation, (I call it musical because songs of my relationship and detachment with my bed keep playing within my mind) I loved the way I looked. After having done with my bath which was a spine chilling and mind waking encounter with cold water, and also other rituals, I was now standing in front of the mirror in my room. My hair was wet, and my face contained waves of freshness. After getting slipped into my usual casuals, I was off to my IIT classes. One good thing about IIT classes is that they don’t look at your dress, but at your performance; and I was pretty bad at the latter, but I really didn’t care. (I always used to give importance to the way I dressed)
I ordered a plate of pongal at the small hotel where I usually have my breakfast. Pongal came hot and delicious, and I began to dive into it with peace. Sambar and chutney gave me company. I paid the bill and left for the bus stop. One very good thing about Chennai is that you have a bus running and coming every half a kilometre and half a minute respectively. My bus arrived in less than ten minutes, and my mind was filled with bliss when an array of empty seats presented themselves before me. A cool morning plus a seated bus ride equals a day of energy and enthusiasm. And such a ride, I would say, would be one of the best in the world.
‘One, Ashok Nagar.’ I told the conductor. He plucked a ticket from the ticket pin and handed it over to me. ‘6 rupees’ He said. I pulled out a hundred rupee note from my wallet and was about to give it to him, when he looked at me as if I have done one of the most stupidest things in the world. ‘No change.’ He said with a scowl and left. I realized right then, that ‘Change’ is definitely a problem in our country. An elderly man beside was kind enough to exchange my hundred for ten tens. I bought the ticket and pushed it into my wallet. And then, my head turned to the outside, where I could see tea stalls and parotta shops, flower ladies and cobblers, washer-men and petty hotels opening for their daily businesses on the great Indian pavement.
I got down at the stop, and a ten minute walk to the coaching centre awaited me. The traffic had come out alive for the day, and as I walked, everything under the sky except IIT danced in my mind. I reached the coaching centre, unchappalled myself, went to the classroom and had myself seated at my traditional desk; the one that is located at the farthest point from our professor. Minutes began to melt, and soon the room was full. ‘Surprise Test,’ our professor said. I tasted shock for a second, but then had this beautiful realization that having a test is the same as no test, as all the IIT stuff always flew over my head. I smiled within myself and looked at the vast multitude of nerds before me, who, as usual, were discussing either mathematics or physics or chemistry; it was all the same, no change. Never in my life have I heard someone talking about dreams and visions at a coaching centre. ‘Change’, is indeed a problem in our country, I thought.