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A Night in the Life of… by Vrinda Ravi Kumar

Disclaimer : This story is completely fictional and any resemblance to
characters, living or dead is purely coincidental. Also, accepting
things at face value is underrated.

9.16 pm

Rohit woke to the sound of someone ramming their fists against his
door. He stood up groggily, cursed and looked outside his balcony. The
sun had set, so he concluded it was probably night. Being a student in
a national college geared towards research in science was gruelling.
So was the persistent sound of the fists. Blast.

He threw open the door and his friend, Anshul was standing outside.
Anshul was tall, very thin, fair and had perpetual dark circles under
his eyes. He lived on the fourth floor, but he was always seen around
the third floor, which was where Rohit’s single room was. In contrast
to Anshul, Rohit was shorter, stockier and had green eyes. He had an
inexplicable fondness for hip-hop jargon.

“Mouse hai?”, Anshul snapped, “Jaldi de, saale.”
“Mujhe bhi khelna hai.”, Rohit said. He shot a quick glance at the
alien-green laptop lying on his bed and suddenly realised how hungry
he was. The food he got was not, he felt, worth eating. He was used to
completely melted dal and legumes floating in water did not appeal to
him. Walking to the canteen, he looked downstairs. He saw three men
standing near scooters, one from Dominoes, and the other two from     
Pizza Hut.

He went listlessly into the canteen and ordered a pav bhaji. Anshul
came up to him with a mug of coffee in his hand.
They listened for a while to a pretty, fair girl argue heatedly about
how biology contributed a lot to gender identity, watched a small,
short, brightly dressed girl sit next to her broad, tall boyfriend.
They wondered for a brief moment whether all Punjabi couples came out
as surprises then went to Shivesh’s room to play the electric guitar.
If that idiot Varsha hadn’t taken away his amplifier that was.

**
10.45 pm

Anandi stood at her balcony watching the scenes going on in the
canteen. It was a very lively place, she mused, and though all her
interest in social activities had dropped to a non-existent level
since the second year, she was still curious.

She dubiously watched a group of boys laugh raucously, and smirked to
herself, imagining their reaction if a girl joined them then. She
never understood why most of the guys in her college were either
disdainful of girls or intimidated by them. The end result was the
same. No conversation either way.

She winced as loud music suddenly started pounding from somewhere
opposite her balcony. She caught a glimpse of a guy with an eyebrow
piercing. “Eminem fans, sheesh.”, she thought. And went downstairs to
collect her Dominoes pizza.                                                                                        

**

11.05 pm

Samar ran fast all the way to the basketball court. He was annoyed. He
hated how the smallest incident of no significance got blown out of
all proportion in this college. He hated missing quizzes and he had
been sitting in the quiz since 9 pm before Navdeep’s call at 11.

He stopped awhile in front of the bus that just had come back from the
city and watched the PhDs alight. “Weird how most of the pretty ones
landed up in biology.”

He found his friend pacing up and down the court furiously. Navdeep
was pissed. He had an ego the size of Mount Everest and this slight to
his esteem was going to be repaid in full. Samar sighed, accompanied
Navdeep to the room of his adversary, and stood by while Navdeep
threatened and yelled for what seemed like an eternity, till his anger
subsided. He checked his watch. It was 2 am.

He grumbled into his lemon tea, on his way back, “Saale, teen ghante
chaud marne ki kya zaroorat thi?”

He walked back into the quiz, which went on for an hour more, but he
had missed a great deal.

Going back to his room, rinsing his feet in the flood around the water
cooler, and almost breaking his neck because of the stupid, uptight
girl with her hair in a bun, he slammed the door shut. He was tired,
angry and sleepy, but things needed to be downloaded and with the net
speed he expected the song to take all night. Looked like an
allnighter for him. Well, he wouldn’t attend the classes. He had no
guilty conscience about bunking. Atleast the physics major students
were united about one thing.

**

3.15 am

Mitaali was four floors above Samar, and she was rinsing her feet too.
There was a sudden flood of cold water from the partition that divided
the boys’ wing from the girls’. She idly wondered why someone would
want to pour water through a partition that was clearly very solid.
She supposed it was funny.

Walking to her balcony, she caught sight of the floor above the
canteen. With a pang of annoyance, she observed that it was never
empty. Didn’t people ever sleep in this college?

She turned her thoughts to the single cultural event that took place
the entire semester. She wanted to dance, but not the type of dance
that inevitably took place every Republic Day and Independence Day.

She went downstairs to fill her water bottle. While passing the dark
canteen, she thought she heard something move behind her. In a panic
she ran outside and found herself wading in a sea of different
coloured bins. These environment people. God. She tripped her way past
them and almost slipped, saving herself just in time before
decapitating the boy with the sour face.

She walked back to her room before the gurudwara started their morning
prayers and she cursed her luck. She wouldn’t be able to sleep again.

**

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