That was the first day of Navratri, Ghat-Sthapana day. That evening most of the ladies had put on gorgeous dresses and were in a merry-making mood. They all were awaiting the garaba to start in the evening to show off their dancing graces, the dancers forming circles around the image of Goddess Amba.
Satish, who had joined the management institute for further studies in management, was strolling with his new friends to see the different garaba performances taking place in various societies in the areas nearby the management institute. The graceful movements of the elegantly dressed ladies, in rhythm to the melodiously tuned devotional songs, was a big attraction for the entrants of the management institute coming from all over India.The group was moving from society to society to watch the attractive performances of nicely dressed ladies. The young minds of the ambitious students were noting some impressive faces of the performing charming ladies, Satish too noted a face who had impressed him. After returning to the hostel, while lying on the bed, he thought over the personality, who had made a place in his heart. He was wondering whether he would be able to see her again.
After graduating from the remote town of Marathwada, Maharashtra in agriculture, Satish wanted to do experiments in farming on his ten acres of land. The only son of a mid-size farmer, Satish wanted to achieve something extraordinary in farming. He took experience in an agri-industry for three years, and then he wanted to learn some new management technics, to carry out the latest methods of farming more effectively. With this goal in mind, the robust, handsome young man sought to get admission for post-graduation studies and joined the FABM course in the management institute of another state of Gujarat.
After a couple of weeks in this new atmosphere, Satish adjusted himself to the hostel life. He was amazed at the wonderful environment of ambitious, brilliant youngsters. Everyone there was focused on his goal at the same time nurturing his extra-curricular talents. He wondered if anyone on this campus would be interested in Kabaddi, his favourite game.
And on the day of planning sports activities, Satish voiced his ideas about Kabaddi. To everyone’s surprise, there was a warm response to his ideas. They included an inter-class Kabaddi tournament. Satish was entrusted with the responsibility of managing the competition.He was delighted.
In the following days of Navratri, Satish’s eyes were searching for the face of his interest, but his visits to the adjoining societies playing garaba did not help him. He could not locate the same impressive face. Disappointed Satish did not have the courage to open out to his new friends to seek help in searching for his heartthrob.
And on the final day of Navratri, the institute announced a garaba on the campus open to the participation of staff as well as the students. A wave of enthusiasm was aroused on the campus.
At 7:30 in the evening, some students dressed in traditional Gujarati dress, and the youngsters of the teaching staff got together at the venue in the presence of most of the students and the campus residing families, the devotional music began and the participants of garaba started moving rhythmically around the image of Goddess Amba.
About 30-40 youngsters got involved in playing garaba, whereas the rest of the crowd on the campus was watching the lively performance. Satish was one of the enthusiastic spectators. He was hoping to find the face he had noted in one of the neighboring societies earlier.
And he was exhilarated to find the same face. Satish did not know how to react but he was very happy that he was contemplating how he should use this opportunity to know that lady more.
When the Garaba got over after a couple of hours, everyone intermingled and Satish could not trace the lady who had made a place in his heart. Disheartened Satish had a ray of hope to meet that person since she had some connexion with the campus.
At the end of this festivity, Satish forgot about the impressive person who had kindled a small spark of love.
After the initial introductory topics, more detailed, new subjects were discussedin the class.All the students were getting curious about the subjectand the teacher with whom they would be interacting with. The subjects of quantitative methods and operations management had already created ripples of enthusiasm.
The new subject of introduction then was Micro Economics. Those students already familiar with economics had already found out who would be the person responsible for their classes.
“A new professor who has a doctorate in economics will be taking the classes.”
“I think that is Dr.Vidya Parekh. A local Guju lady.”
“None knows how she would be with the students.”
A sort of unsureness spread in the class.
At the time of the start of the class, a charming young lady entered the class with a pleasant smile. There was a pin-drop silence. She took charge of the mike on the lectern.
“Good morning. I am Vidya Parekh. I will be taking your classes for microeconomics.
This will be an interactive class. Let us start with the term Economics. What does it mean?’ in an authoritative and pleasant tone, she threw a question to the class.
And the class started. Every student, male as well as female, was impressed with the disposition of the new teacher. Satish had a mix of emotions. On one hand, he was happy to see his heartthrob but at the same time disappointed with the idea of her being at a much higher position than where he could reach. His mind was wandering somewhere else and was not in the class. With a lot of effort, he paid attention to what Dr. Vidya was saying.
After all the classes were over, Satish went to his hostel room. Confused about his mental state, he was not able to decide how he should control his feelings.
After 2-3 days, Dr.Vidya at the beginning of the class made an announcement.
“I want to meet all the students who are sharing the responsibility of any extra-curricular event. Sports, drama, and arts such as painting, music, etc. Since we want to organize an event to mark the Diamond Jubilee of our institute, we have to chalk out our plan. Who is heading the committee of any activity from this class, please stand up.”
Two students stood up.
“Please introduce yourself with the event type you would be representing.”
“My name is Swaminathan. I am heading a music event”
“I am Satish, In sports, I will conduct an Inter-class Kabaddi competition.”
“Great. Both of you be present in the auditorium tomorrow evening with some rough plan of your event.”
Then Dr.Vidya continued, ” Yesterday, we got some idea of the price index of consumer commodities. Now, we will look into what role inflation plays in microeconomics.”
And every student was absorbed in the economics of the family.
In the night before sleeping, Satish prepared his plan for the inter-class Kabaddi competition.
The next day evening in the auditorium, 8-10 students along with Dr.Vidya gathered. Vidya presented her idea about the celebration of the diamond jubilee of the institute.
Then the students put forth their plans. After the exchange of various ideas, a tentative schedule was made which would be taken up with the principal for his approval. Everyone dispersed with full enthusiasm. Later to have the final dialogue with the Executive Committee, a core committee was formed which included second-year student Amit Ghosh representing drama and Satish representing sports. They had regular interaction planning and shaping the arts & sports segment of the diamond jubilee celebration.
Instead of keeping himself away from Vidya, Satish was getting more and more involved emotionally. Satish was a mature man. He knew how to control his sentiments. But he too was getting some indications of his finding someplace in Vidya’s heart.
And one day Vidya called Satish to her office room. When Satish reached the office, he was surprised that the other core committee member Ghosh was absent.
Vidya was at her table.
“Yes, Satish. Come in. I wanted to finalize the time slot needed for every event and decide the date-wise schedule. Ghosh is having some meeting of Marketing management and he can not join today. We will update him in our next meeting. Let us see the time requirement given by each wing of the event which they have sent promptly. Let us start,” saying this Vidya opened up the excel file that she had compiled from the inputs of heads of events.
Satish loved every moment with her. But he refrained from indicating his feelings to Vidya, his teacher.
The diamond jubilee celebrationpassed off with enthusiasm and enjoyment. The managing team was appreciated.
Satish was doing very well in his studies because of the inspiration received due to the sheer presence of Vidyain the vicinity. If some assignment did not permit him to see Vidya,Satish used to miss her and he used to look out for some reason to contact her. Satish had realized that Vidya too was getting entangled with him.
They were getting involved with each other, but the line of division – of being a student and the teacher was being respected by each one of them.Both of them were aware of their soft corner for each other, but at the same time, they were mature enough to focus on their career. He wanted to get his Management degree and she wanted to establish herself as a competent teacher.
Two years passed quickly. And the day of convocation arrived. Satish was ranked first in the overall performance. After the function was over, Satish realizing the day of his separation from Dr.Vidya was coming soon, went to her office to see her.
Dr.Vidya was sitting with a few first-year students. When she saw Satish waiting to see her, she said to the boys, “Well, we will discuss the rest of the matter tomorrow. You can go now.”
As the students left, Vidya came out of her cabin and called Satish in.
“Congratulations Satish, for achieving the first rank. Wonderful. But I did not understand you keeping on hold of the fantastic offer from the multinational company. Anyone else would have jumped at it.”
“ Before finalizing my future career, I wanted to consider another aspect. I had to choose the right course in my life.” Satish said.
“ Okay. But then what does it depend upon? What is holding you up?”
“Madam, the decision is very delicate. There is some dividing line appearing making the decision, difficult.”
“The top ranker of the management institute shouldn’t find any situation without a solution,” Vidya said.
“No. I am not saying the problem is without a solution. But have to gather some courage to attack the problem,” Satish.
“Come on Satish,” Vidya said staring at Satish.
Satish cleared his throat and with grit & determination said,” Will you be my life partner?”
“Oh my God! Why did you take so much time to ask this question? I was waiting to hear these words from you. If I answer your question with a big yes will you be happy?” Vidya said.
“Of course! I am ecstatic. Extremely happy.” Satish did not have any further expression to indicate his being on cloud nine.
“What was the borderline which was bothering you?”
“I being your student.”
“Oh! Such imaginary ideas should not have bothered you. Okay now, what next ?”
Before Satish could gather his ideas to answer the question, a taxi entered the campus of the institute. With a screeching sound, it halted near the entrance of the building. A handsome, blue-eyed young man got out, and taking a glance around, he straightway headed to the Director’s wing. His authoritative disposition impressed everyone around.
That was Dr. Rakesh Chopra. He had taken up the position of Deputy Director in the institute. He had got his doctorate in the field of Economics.
After a state of awe for a few moments, coming down to his senses, Satish wondered who that person must be.
“There was a buzz around of the new Deputy Director joining this week sometime. That must be him.” Vidya murmured.
“Forget about him. Now Satish, when are you coming to my house to meet my parents?”
Delighted Satish with this question, answered,” whenever the time is appropriate.”
“Actually, it has to be as early as possible. My parents are already contemplating the match-making process. Before they take any further steps, we have to make them clear with our plan.” Vidya said firmly.
“So, what do you suggest?”
“Let me talk to them first and decide about our meeting.”
“Then Satish, let me go home now, and I will talk to them, today. That should be the beginning of our relationship.” Vidya said and hurriedly left the institute.
Satish went to his hostel room eagerly awaiting Vidya’s call about the timing of his meeting with her parents.
But he was disappointed that he did not receive her call till late evening. He was getting impatient. At around 9 in the night, Satish called Vidya. She picked up the phone.
“Satish, I am sorry I could not talk to you earlier. But there is some problem.” Vidya said.
A shriek of disappointment splashed in Satish’s mind. He was not ready to hear anything further from Vidya.
“Ok. I do not want to hear anything further.” Satish somehow uttered these words. “Don’t try to jump to any conclusion. My auntie and her family met with a serious accident. Auntie and uncle died on the spot and my cousins, a brother, and a sister are struggling for life in the hospital. My parents had to rush to Veraval immediately and they left in the evening only. I am also so much upset and don’t know what to do. We will meet in the institute tomorrow morning at around 10:30. We will discuss the matter then. Pardon me please!”
Satish was moved to hear the tragic story.
“Don’t worry at all. We will meet tomorrow at 10:30. Take care. “ Satish consoled her but Vidya could not control her sobs. “Please, have courage and face the situation courageously. If I can be of any help, please let me know.”
“I want to be with someone very close to me. “ Vidya babbled.
Satish wanted to go to her house and share her sorrow. But he refrained.
“Ok, Satish. “
“Vidya, first you take care of yourself. Don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything, any time.” Satish assured her.
Vidya disconnected the phone.
The next day, Satish was waiting for Vidya outside her cabin at 10:30. But she was not to be seen. It passed 12:30 but still, she did not come to her cabin. Disappointed Satish went back to his hostel room.
He was wondering, why Vidya did not send at least a message to him. At 4:30 in the afternoon, Satish went to Vidya’s cabin. But he did not find her. This total disconnection from Vidya was puzzling for Satish.
At around 6, Satish saw Vidya coming to her cabin accompanied by the new Deputy Director. They were laughing and exchanging some jokes. Satish was getting upset. On one hand, he was happy that she had come out of despair due to the serious accident of her relatives but Satish was upset that she was happy with the new Deputy Director.
When Vidya along with Dr.Rakesh Chopra came near to where Satish was waiting for her, she saw Satish.
“Satish, what are you doing here?”
“I am waiting for you.”
“For me? Haven’t you seen my message? “ Vidya in a low voice asked.
“About the condition of my cousins. They are out of danger. Satish, now I am extremely busy finalizing the curriculum for different courses. It will take at least 2-3 days. We will meet after that.”
Satish was shocked. Vidya had forgotten the important ideas about their life they had decided to finalize. But she was no more interested in that.
“Has Dr.Chopra taken over his place in Vidya’s heart? ” Satish had goosebumps.
Vidya moved ahead with Dr, Chopra.
Satish was completely disillusioned. He was dead sure that Vidya was no more interested in him. Dr.Chopra had impressed her and she was happy to be with him for her entire life.
Disheartened Satish had packed up his belongings and left the Institute campus forever not to come back to this place not even to accept the lucrative job offer. He even did not talk to Vidya before leaving the campus. With a heavy heart, he boarded the train.
And he was woken up by the ringing phone. He looked for his cell phone. Picked it up. He saw 7 missed calls from Vidya. Confused, Satish answered the phone.
“Hello,” Satish said.
“Where were you Satish? I have been calling you for nearly an hour. Are you ok?”
“What do you mean by Sort of? We were supposed to meet at 10:30 in the morning. You did not turn up. What is the matter?”
“How are your cousins? Are they out of danger?”
“Yes. They are out of danger and are improving very fast.Their other family members are attending them. So my parents are returning just the day after tomorrow. We will meet today after my classes get over for the day, in the afternoon at 4, and chalk out the details of our meeting with my parents first and your parents later.
Now Satish, do not forget our meeting at 4 p..m. I will be waiting for you.”
Vidya hung up.
Satish was relieved that Vidya’s involvement with Dr Chopra was just a bad dream. Vidya was his and only his.