I could only see a textbox on my computer screen in which I was typing my roll number. I was preparing for this day for last one year. I was holding a storm of anxiety inside me; butterflies were flying in my stomach. If I could not get through then my current life-at-halt would start drifting backward. My life was at halt after I completed my engineering. My college was among one of the colleges in the country that gives you the degree and prepared you to stand in the never-ending queue of frustrated unemployed youths. These colleges push students in some ‘Big-City’ of rat-race where they learn, how difficult is to exist in this world.
A year back I decided to achieve success on my terms and choose to prepare for Master’s degree entrance test rather than to search job in those ‘Big-Cities’. But it was not sufficient, I had to compete 20 million engineers of the country and the probability to succeed was less than 1%. If I study day and night then I could increase tsome probability but no surety. It was a great risk, I did not have any alternate but to choose that, as million do the same each year.
I typed 3245263, which was my roll number, in the textbox and pressed enter to see the result. I could hear my heart beat as I was sitting on the mountain of expectations. I did not know what would I do if I do not get selected. My two friends, Amar and Vaibhav, also decided to take the same risk as I did.
We shared room in the college hostel and a common interest that is, Love for Science. Amar’s father was a doctor in a government hospital but he never asked Amar to follow the tradition and become the doctor. Vaibhav had a family retail business and his family wanted Vaibhav to be a great engineer. Vaibhav and Amar were also from a small town like me where ‘First-Class-First’ was never less than to be like great engineers like Abdul Kalam. Amar was always excited to do anything and his excitement was his greatest strength and enemy as well. He was called as the calculator of the class as he played with numbers like toys. Vaibhav was calm and composed, he had his own world. He could design the most complex circuits in our Labs.
None of us could get the campus-placement. In fact, only five students got placed out of a batch of one hundred and twenty. Some self-acclaimed ‘Experts’ says that these students got other skills with technical skills but I would say that only one student can be selected out of every twenty four students or four students in hundred students. Other have to join the rat-race in some form or other. We heard that IIT’s have 100% placements so we thought to prepare for IIT’s. Later we came to know that the probability of getting into the IIT’s is less than 1%. Filled with motivation or perhaps we did not have any choice, we resolve to crack the GATE exam.
Today, we are going to get the result of our decision that we took a year back. The display was delayed on the computer screed due to the heavy traffic at that time. With every second I could visualize all the hard-work I put last year. All work could go in vain. I was not powerful even after being an engineer, I was feeling helpless. I failed to understand ‘Whose Fault Is was?’
Whether I am a good engineer or bad engineer does not depends on if I am a good engineer or not, but all depends on the performance of other candidates. I was told to do competition with yourself but life is showing everything is relative. If you are getting 90% marks in the class, which you have never got in past, and the average marks of class is 92% then you are not good. Hell with the creativity and all forms of education that does not guarantee more marks. My main objective was not to get good marks but more marks than other students. And I got the best strategy for that; suck more and more days and nights and vomit on the answer sheet as much as you can. Try to use the slip to vomit more that I prepared last night. In a nutshell, I had to get more marks than others. My question remains same ‘Who Is At Fault?’
The screen refreshed this time and could read two numbers, 253 and 74. First numbers was my all India rank and other was my score. There were all darkness of happiness in front of my eyes and I could not understand that how could I express my happiness. I picked-up my phone and called my brother, his works were encouraging, as always. I informed mom, dad and my sister about this great success. But nothing was greater than ‘First-Class-First’ for my mom. She only said her favorite line ‘The one who works hard never get defeated’. There were two more persons who did the hard work; my two friends. After an hour of celebrations, I phoned Vaibhv. The phone ranged five to six times and I disconnected it as I was impatient to know their results quickly. I called Amar, he picked up the phone, in the dull voice he said “My rank is 2500, buddy”. It meant that admission in IIT’s was extremely difficult, if not impossible. As a newly-turned-expert I said “ Don’t worry brother, many students don’t take admissions as they choose to go for PSU’s, you will get the admission, I am sure”. Inside I knew that it was impossible. I was just lucky if I compare myself with my both friends.
“What about Vaibhav?” I asked. “I’ll let you know when I reach the flat” he said. “He must be sleeping, as he watched movies last night”.
I got three messaged in a row from Ankita, Anubhav and Priya, all were my classmates. Same message in different words “Congratulations”. I was so excited that I wanted to take the admission at this moment only. I will be getting IIT Kanpur at this rank as per the last year’s records.
My phone beeped again. “Some congrats message”, I thought. But this time the message was from Amar. I read the three-words message and I felt like somebody pushed me back very hard. I fell down on the nearby sofa. Those three words were “He hanged himself”. I struggled to find out his roll number which I wrote in some of my notebook. It was written with pencil at the end and I got it.
I inserted the number in my computer and saw Vaibhav’s rank was 22,000 and score was 32. “It is impossible”, I said to myself. But the truth is in front of me. And again the question came “Who is at Fault?.