Freshie Hari is on his way to insti for the first time. Will he make it? Of course he will. This is not that kind of a horror story. Read on to see how.

‘Did I Pack…..?’

‘Mom! I have everything I’ll possibly need. Even if I’ve missed something I can buy them there. It’s not like I am going to live in a forest!!’ Hari’s mother raised her eyebrows at him. ‘Fine! But it is still a forest in the middle of a metropolitan city’, he shrugged. She gave him a curt nod and reluctantly closed his suitcases. The alarm on his father’s phone rang (Yes, they had set an alarm so that they wouldn’t miss the train) and they promptly left the place he lived in for the past 17 years of his life. Even though he had a tinge of ‘I don’t know why, but I feel weird leaving home’ tugging at his thoughts, he was excited for the life ahead of him.

To no one’s surprise, they reached even before the train came, rechecked the platform a hundred times, and sat at the edge of the platform benches. Why? To be able to get up quickly and rush to their seats on the train that would only leave an hour later.

After they had finally settled down, Hari’s thoughts drifted to why they, a sane bunch of people, had been acting like nut-cases the past one week. It is just that getting admitted into the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras is a big deal in India. Nobody, including Hari, thought that he had any chance of getting in there. They had logged in through all the devices in their house and reloaded the result page so many times that the already faltering ‘Enter’ key in his computer gave up and sunk into the keyboard. All of this just to check if the college name indeed read IITM. For a minute, his parents even considered that it might be a mix-up and that this was the result of some other person having the same name and initials as him. Now wait! This wasn’t because he wasn’t smart enough, his smartness being irrelevant here, but because he hadn’t done as well as he expected to perform in JEE (Advanced) and that his mock counselling results had only been IITs in temple-towns (which his parents believed without a second glance).  

When the train finally started moving, his parents began contemplating what could go wrong with the train, the cab from there to IIT, and his life on reaching there. 

“Will he wake up on time to class?”

“Knowing him, he probably won’t… But that’s his problem now.”

“What if he doesn’t wake up early in time, misses all his first few classes and they send him back?”

“I don’t think it will only be a few classes and also they probably wouldn’t send him back for that. Fail him in the course… Maybe…”

His mom retorted with just a cold glare.

Hari was glad when an old lady requested him to switch seats with her, but he regretted it immediately. She didn’t realise what an avalanche she had triggered by asking his mother “where to?” What ensued was an extremely detailed graphic retelling of the past two years of his life, a punishment that’d make JEE appear like BuzzFeed quizzes. 

Their return tickets had been booked. Freedom was near.

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