When the day starts with you oversleeping and finishing your morning toilet at the approximate time you were supposed to be setting off for your PS station on a full stomach, you concede with a minor apology to your unquenchable optimism that the day could perhaps have room for improvement. You cling firmly on to your home grown farm fresh goodwill with the noob’s good faith through the traffic jams you’ve heard horror stories about. The empty corridors of B.W.Lions Superspeciality Eye Hospital and the odd mustachioed watchman (the “Lion” as we will christen him sometime during the course of the day) don’t look too inviting. And you’ve got your DAD with you. Remember Steve Martin in Father of the Bride? Remember laughing at his antics and secretly wondering when filmmakers would get more real and provide less run-of-the-mill gags? Yes, when doomsday prophecies are made with an absolutely nonchalant face that belies the nervous prostration that is all poised to leap out any second, you know art merely imitates life.
After twenty minutes when there’s still only the Lion for company you begin to doubt whether you’re at the right place at the right time. Well doubt wouldn’t be the word for the slow cold certainty sneaking in, especially with the scary look of having expected it all that pervades dad’s face. You panic. But panic in front of dad after you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve convinced him that you’re a mature twenty-year-old capable of handling yourself for two months in a strange city, is defeat with a capital D, that too at the very outset. So you try to find out the details you should have stepped into town armed with. The name of your PS instructor, for example. Your PS mate’s contact number would come a close second. You try to get that from another friend, whose wingie this ps mate of yours happens to be. The unwanted permutation of 2 and 8 in the number in the process of information transfer kinda yields unsatisfactory results when you try to call. Stumped, and your balance doing the too-fast-for-comfort disappearing act on roaming, you call up your wingie-in- Pilani and roomie- in- town. You don’t really know why, except that she’s one of those lucky people blessed with the faculty of always having answers, even if not always the correct ones. It’s very reassuring to hear answers, any answers at times. She tells you of this place – BITS PDC - where she has been asked to report to instead of her station, and you take prompt action by calling her PS instructor. Communication is a funny thing because somewhere in the course of it- we won’t get into tangly details – you find yourself heading for that same place – BITS Professional Development Centre, Bangalore (after you recover from the shock of the Villager’s New Clothes – I mean dude Professional Development Centre??) about an enthusiastic judo kick away from the Guest House where you’ve been putting up. You go there, talk to a chap who assures you your station’s been canceled. Of course, you can’t really hide the sudden clutch of cold fingers around your heart.
“Canceled?” you croak, trying to tone the volume so that dad doesn’t hear. Fat chance. Anyway a few long-distance calls and minor scoldings later you find yourself making your way back to the hospital – your ps station – where apparently your ps instructor and four ps mates have been waiting for you for quite sometime. You wonder how you could have missed them for the half-hour that you spent in the morning. When you see the jeans-clad, floaters-shod ME-ite assigned, you recognize the guy you saw on your frenzied run out and for a brief moment wondered whether he was a Goa ps mate of yours.
There, your four ps mates are waiting in a neat line outside the chamber of the administrator, so you didn’t miss anything after all. After quick apologies and exchange of pleasantries and phone numbers, and of course the wait for Godot, you are ushered into the boardroom and thus begins your PS-1.