There are 3 little words (abbreviated as I - L - U) which, when whispered by a sweet young thing in the ears of her suitor, makes the latter feel at the top of the world. There is another set of 3 little letters, which when added as a suffix to to the name of a young person in search of a job, opens up many a closed door to promising careers in industry and commerce. These sweet little letters are M, B and A. This is the reason why the doors of the Management Institutes are always crowded by young men and women, wishing to arm themselves with an M.B.A. degree for fighting the battles for employment.
But why does a man on the other side of forties in the middle of his career (and a generous middle in the body) take a fancy for these letters? I do not know, for I did not know my mind at that time nor do I know it now.
So, when I sat (it was 22 summers ago) at the Test for Admission to the Management Course of a University along with 1186 other hopefuls for one of the 60 seats, I did not exactly know what I would gain by adding that 3-letter suffix to my name. I did not aspire to enter the Guiness Book of World Records by degrees. (Once I came across the Visiting Card of a gentleman, about 80% of the space of which was covered with the Degrees and Diplomas he had acquired!) Luckily I secured one of those coveted seatsJ))))))
Soon after the classes started, an unsolicited title Bade Bhai was conferred on me. Most of my class-mates were half my age and so the honorific title was not unreasonable. When she heard about it, the wife consoled, “You are lucky; they are polite enough not to call you ‘uncle’.”
As I took a seat in the class room, the first thing that attracted my attention was an engraving on the desk. A name was written in the form of a deep cut on the top of the desk. Obviously, it was the work of a student who wished to immortalize his name in the manner of Ashoka, the Great, who had got the Buddha’s teachings engraved on rocks.
Then my eyes traveled to the walls. The ancient building (which was not built by Ashoka) had very high ceilings. On the top-most portion of the wall just below the ceiling, were the words in multi-coloured graffiti, ‘ELECT RAMESWAR PRASAD AS VICE PRESIDENT’. The height at which the words were written reminded me of the ascent of the Everest by Tenzing and Hillary!
A sentence at another spot on the wall read, “Girls are requested to attend M.Com Classes regularly, please.” At yet another spot, I found the sketch of a heart ridden by Cupid’s arrow followed by a declaration of unrequited love, accompanied by a notice of dire consequences, “Monalisa, if you do not love me, I shall end my life by consuming Baygon Spray.” Yet another spot carried the words, ‘Prem Kumar Pyarelal + Prem Kumari’. At the corner of the wall, there was a pin-pointed declaration of love, “Sunaki, I love your beautiful long nose.” All these reminded me of a young man who went up to a girl and said, “Please say those 3 little words. I shall win the bet with my friends if I can make you say at least 3 words.” Without batting an eye-lid, the pretty girl said, “You lose.”
It was pretty hot and I looked up to see if the fan was not working. And what I saw! The blades of the ancient fan had been drawn down in such a way that the fan had taken the shape of an inverted lotus! Such inverted lotuses were hanging from all over the ceiling. And bits of darkened wires with cut ends hanging from the upper ends of their stems looked like tendrils of creepers.
As I was contemplating on these inverted lotuses, the teacher entered the hall. When my Roll No. was called, I stood up and said, “Yes, Madam”. She must have been of the same age as my younger cousin-sister. I was reminded of the title ‘Bade Bhai’ conferred on me earlier!
Thus, I started my student-life all over again!!!
Boy: I shall tell you two words.
Girl: Go ahead.
Boy: I love you.
Girl: But those were three words!
Boy: No, 'I' and 'you' are not two words but are one!!!