Due to a quirk of fate, I had joined this not so prestigious college. It was depressing for someone that young. Thankfully, very soon – despite my aversion to everything in that place – I met some amazing people. Two of those became very good friends of mine. Deshvir and Jasbir. Its very rare to find someone with my name but I somehow managed that. Just about.
Deshvir was a jovial, friendly, very impressive, hard working and intelligent Sikh boy from Kanpur who had come to Delhi to study. His Punjabi was weak but his Hindi was typical UP type. He loved Pan Masala. In fact, thinking back, he might be the only Sikh guy I have seen hooked on to Pan Masala.
Jasbir was different. He was jovial as well but had a tinge of seriousness and an innocence that’s very difficult to describe. He was the son of a businessman. His father ran a transport / taxi service where they had a fleet of cars and vehicles. “I love corruption!!” he would remark. “That’s the only way I can get the to front of the line even though I have no connections!” That made complete sense to me. He knew his strengths and and how to get things done. Only he wasn’t good in studies. Or so he thought.
The first year finished. Deshvir topped the class and college and I was a close second. We both wanted to move to another.. “better” college. Deshvir went to one and I went to another. Jasbir was left alone. Initially he didn’t make much of it, but gradually he and I realized that we had created a bond of friendship that was very strong. We had spent hours discussing our lives and riding on his Yamaha bike all over the inhospitable Delhi roads.
“I want to be in the same college as you, Desh”… he once said. It was very late in the second year. I suggested that we should discuss with the University authorities if that is possible. He used his charm and ways to get the “information” out. Migration in second year was normal. But unheard of in the third year.
When he came back he was dejected. “I need 65% to migrate” he said. “Then? Where’s the problem”, I questioned.
“Desh, you don’t understand!! I have NEVER got anything beyond 45% in my entire life. No matter how hard I studied.”
“So, Jasbir, if it can’t be done. Then, it MUST be done!!”
We were quiet for a while. Then I said with some bravado “If you do EXACTLY as I say, study EXACTLY what I ask you to, I can promise you.. that you will get 65%.”
He thought I was a lunatic. I insisted again with all my sincerity and a confidence only a Leo can muster knowing fully well he is talking complete nonsense. he agreed. Intrigued.
The exams came. This time the exams were different. I not only had to perform well myself, I had the responsibility of another soul.
Everyday my phone would ring every half an hour. “Desh I just finished those pages. What’s next?” And the next set of pages would be told over the phone. Each and every question to prepare was shared. The more Jasbir studied – which was remarkably a lot – the more I had to study.. probably harder still.
On every exam day, I would give a peppy speech to him. It was more a speech for myself to boost my confidence hoping that I could do well on my side. Jasbir was just collateral damage! Luckily he listened and believed it was all for him. He got things I had never said.
After every exam, I was more concerned about how Jasbir had done than how I had done. This drill went on for a couple of weeks.
Once the exams were over, the agonizing wait started. Jasbir would call me late at night sometimes, wondering if some miracle could even happen to him? As was my wont, I would give him more confidence than I had myself in the mythical powers that I had probably conveyed to him. He thought I could actually get him those marks. I had no idea how to get them myself!! I knew fully well though that belief has great power.
If you believe something will happen with your complete passion, then it does. I was banking far more on Jasbir’s amazing and intense passion, than he was on my guidance.
Results were announced. I was second in the college and had even topped in Economics in the entire University. But that was not important. I went to Jasbir. He was very happy.
“Its very good yaar!” with excitement faltering in face of a disappointment when your “Gods” have failed!
“Bol na” (Tell me!)
Something didn’t seem right to me. Now, I had started believing in my own lie to a point I knew it was a certainty! I could fail, but Jasbir’s intensity and passion could not.
“Re-evaluation!! I want you to file for Re-evaluation of your results.. right away!!”
“But, Desh you know that’s all hogwash. Nothing happens from that. Moreover, 63% is great, Desh! So what if I can’t join you?”
“i don’t care!!! Its not about joining me anymore. We just have to go for re-evaluation”.
He reluctantly filed for re-evaluation. Now, he was sure of what I had always known. I had given him a lie to work with.
I waited for two weeks with baited breath. Then one day I was out when Jasbir had called and left a message to have me call him. I did.. right away.
“D-E-S-H!! You are amazing!! My marks got changed. Its 65% EXACT!!
Little did he know that his intensity and belief had done the wonder that he was forcing on me. Belief, even blind and born off of falsehood, can create “miracles”. A person who had never seen a mark over 45% was able to push himself to 65% within a few weeks.
He went onto join his Dad’s business and had grown it quite a lot. We meet sometimes – when I am in Delhi – to reminisce that amazing set of events. He still thinks it was me. The narcissist in me just can’t help smiling at the importance it gets!