After Rajesh went away from there, Vijay and Priya continued sitting there on the steps of the college staircase for a long time completely engrossed in their thoughts.
‘But how did he so pitiably low marks?’, Priya broke the silence and asked.
Vijay did not utter a word.
‘We both secured so nice marks and that poor fellow who studied equally with both of us got so low a score!. How can that happen?’, Priya exclaimed sadly.
Even then Vijay continued to maintain the silence.
‘I think there is some mistake in the checking of his answer sheets. His marks must have been allotted to somebody else by mistake and somebody else’s marks must have been recorded against his name. it happens like this sometimes, my father was telling me once!’, Priya was not willing to accept.
Vijay was maintaining the silence completely.
‘I think he should apply for revaluation of his answer sheets. It may bring about some difference!’, Priya suggested.
‘Listen to me Priya! How many marks do you score does not just depend on how much study have you done!’, Vijay remarked.
‘Then what else does matter?’, asked Priya surprisingly.
‘Your ability and intellectual merit also plays a lot of role. Why do you ignore the fact that all throughout he was getting similar range of marks even during the practice mock examinations too. Then why should he expect some miracle to take place even in this real examination?’, Vijay concluded.
‘But all the while he was claiming that he had not faced any problem throughout all the papers of the whole examination. That is what he was always claiming!’, Priya surprisingly asked.
‘Even during the mock examinations he was talking the same. What this only means that compared to his ability and merit he was giving good performance!’, Vijay explained.
‘You are quite right Vijay! But it is really saddening to discover that the one who studied so hard equally well with us ended up obtaining such a poor result and that is bound to make us feel sad slightly!’, Priya agreed.
‘Yes! Feeling sad is quite justified and even he deserves to feel it that way but I am sure he will recover soon and that is why there is no reason for us to feel worried or anxious about him!’, Vijay explained again.
At least now Priya felt fine because she would feel convinced only after Vijay would explain her properly and Vijay too would explain every such thing in a proper analytical manner suitable for her to understand. Furthermore time passed in complete silence.
‘Oh! Yah!’, Priya murmured as though she was coming out of deep thoughts.
Vijay looked at her with a questioning face.
‘Our topic of discussion that we were talking about is not yet completed!’, Priya exclaimed.
‘What about?’, Vijay asked.
‘About our admissions to a common medical college!’, Priya answered.
‘There is ample time for that!’, Vijay replied in order to avoid that issue.
‘What ample time? We have hardly eight days in hand to decide where we need to secure our next admission!’, Priya explained.
Vijay again sought to remain silent over this.
‘Yes! Now tell me please which medical college should we seek our admissions into?’, Priya again raised the same topic.
Vijay only glanced at her and again got engrossed in his deep thoughts while watching the Asoka trees and their waving branches in front of him with the flowing wind as though he was unwilling to discuss this topic.
‘Indeed! By staying constantly together with both of you a nice group of we trio was formed and now I cannot even imagine of leading a life in the absence of both of you!’, Priya whispered.
‘But it appears that Rajesh won’t ever be able to stay with us together!’, Vijay expressed himself sadly.
‘But at least he can secure an admission in the same village where we may take our admissions!’, Priya sought to find an answer.
‘Who knows? Not everything happens by our desires and priorities!’, Vijay said.
‘But now I do not think that even that is possible anymore!’, Vijay finally gave the right reply he was avoiding to talk about and even now he avoided looking straight into Priya’s eyes.
‘Why do you say that? In fact, is it not that you alone always insist for positive thinking?’, Priya annoyingly asked.
‘That is because I am going to seek an admission not in medical stream but in the engineering!’, Vijay replied with a resolved tone.
A deep sense of melancholy spread over Priya’s face instantly to hear that.
‘What? You never spoke this so far!’, Priya exclaimed as though she was bitterly shocked.
Vijay was maintaining his calm after being deeply engrossed in his thoughts.
‘But why? You can easily get an admission in medical? And besides that only a fool can think of going for engineering when he can easily get an admission to the medical stream?’, Priya spoke angrily.
‘You call it irrationality or foolishness or anything else you may like but I am going to seek an admission into engineering only!’, Vijay declared his resolve.
‘But why? Will you please at least tell me that?’, Priya argued.
‘There is a reason for that!’, Vijay replied.
‘What is that?’, Priya reiterated herself.
‘I wonder whether you will fell convinced by it or…..!’, Vijay doubted.
‘Will you please disclose that as early as possible now?’, Priya was about to explode by this never-ending sequel of fruitless questions and answers.
‘It is high time for me to secure a job as early as possible. It is my topmost priority to restore the pride of my home and if I am to secure a job as early as possible then I do not see any other alternative than engineering!’, Vijay briefly replied his problem.
Priya was now appearing to be sufficiently calm and quiet. She was not uttering a word now because probably she was convinced by the reasoning given by Vijay but the shadow of grief was glaringly visible on her face even now.
While thinking about this subsequently she again angrily said to Vijay, ‘And you are telling me this now. If you were to have told me this earlier would not I have taken the Mathematics in my HSC course?. I definitely think that you had long ago decided to distance yourself from me!’.
‘Priya you are really crazy!. What one should do for something always carries its own limitations. I knew this very well right since early days and that is why I did not tell you because it could not have ever been acceptable to me that you should destroy your own life like a fool for my sake!’, Vijay calmly replied.
Vijay said this and all of Priya’s emotions started flooding through her eyes overwhelmingly, ‘Is this what you recognize my worth for?’, Priya started attempting to restrain her sorrow and tears.
‘Are you crazy?’, Vijay got up and went near her to console her, ‘Wherever we may go our friendship will remain the same!’.
‘Listen to me Vijay! Till the time you came in my life there was no direction to my life! There was no meaning to my life and I was only living the life just because I was supposed to live it!. You came in my life as a true guide and altered the entire course of my life!. Only because of you I could secure so many marks!. If you were not to be there in my life I wonder whether I would have been able to even pass in this examination!. You gave a purpose for my life and taught me to live and now if you are to leave me alone how am I to survive in this journey of life?’, Priya argued and started crying vociferously.
Vijay could only pull her near him and kept patting on her back. He was aware that howsoever effort he was to take to convince her it would not yield any result so he only continued patting on her back calmly.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)