The Diesel King’s English, or our suspicion about it, grew proportionately with the passage of time. Rishi was okay with few moments of misery thinking about the growing gap because he had ways of stifling the stifling feeling. I had no such option, so I went another way. But this is not my story. Right. We’ll focus on the King who went to the second year of his M. A. It was the final year and the final stage or his victory lap, and he was more than just prepared. He was born to do what he was doing, like fish are born to swim (some can fly too). Our confidence in his abilities were absolute as we knew that he was a natural and adept user of the language he was studying. What disturbed us very much was his percentage in the first year. It was an indictment of the faulty system, and actually confirmed our faith in the blindness of the whole evaluation machinery in the universities of India. That was 2003. It took more than a decade for the government bodies and big universities to recognize and make amends.
We were in volatile rage: ready to organize group of protestors against the injustice and meet the head or dean kind of things. Some of us did meet the head and the professor who had checked the sheets for some of the papers for first year. They defended their system and refused any kind of rethinking. As far as the knowledge of the texts in the prescribed syllabus was concerned, I knew that he was good enough on that front to score well. He could put on paper, in decent language style and without errors, what he knew. These two factors combined logically lead to the conclusion that he would score very good marks. His actual marks did not meet our expectations and I still feel some kind of rage against the injustice done, not just because it was done to a friend, but also because it was totally wrong and completely impossible.
We could not do anything then. The King started teaching English in a school, no need to mention the particulars (the King is the hero, not the school). I left my city and could not return for many years. We were not in touch for four years. When we met for the first time after a long gap, he filled the long blank with information. He had more than just vindicated himself and us by joining another M. A. in the same university and scoring the highest percentage in his class. He had achieved the dream, his and that of most of the middle class Indians of our generation: of getting a government job. Not only that, he had hit some kind of jackpot if the content eyes and his pride in the object of his affection are taken into account. He had found the right girl and had married her.Jumping a couple of years takes us to a proud father and owner of a property in Varanasi. I can’t help but insert a full paragraph on my god daughter here. I’ll put the inserted section in an italicized block that may be skipped without any loss if one wants to read about the King only.
This section is about my god daughter Anahita. It’s the name of the old Persian goddess of river/waters. She was a very powerful deity and was widely worshipped in Iran. I suggested this name to my friend, the King, for his princess. I also appointed myself as her godfather. She is known by some other names too, but this name that I chose for her has been finalized and formally established too. It’s been a great honour. I did not think it’d happen, because names are not kept casually in India. It’s done after consulting the horoscope and names are generally suggested by the family elders and finalized in a joint (real or virtual) assembly of the maternal and paternal sides. Still, “as luck would have it”, the name stayed on, along with my self appointed godfatherhood.
What else could he ask for? What else could he be granted? His dreams are more than just fulfilled. He has a secure job and future with pension benefits (correct me if I am wrong) and property in his hometown, a complete family, friends who are great (some even greater than ….) and has established himself in his school and among the people of its locality. His students love him and his bosses can’t live without him. He has a very bright future to look ahead at. He is happy as a horse and fit as the summer sun. That’s how stories should end.
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