Someone died yesterday. A student of MIT; a final year student of Printing Technology branch. The notice came in the morning lecture hours, and there was a service at 10.15 am in the MIT Quadrangle. We came down to the service, most of us irritated at this disruption of our half hour break . There were muttered curses, partly at the institute, and partly at the idiot of a boy who had to choose this day to die, because of which precious time was to be wasted, time to be better spent in eating at the canteen, or chatting with friends, romance, or indulging in interesting gossip. The sprinkling of us that did arrive were busy laughing, chatting, basically waiting for the show to begin. There were a few speculations, too, regarding the cause of death.
” Suicide kiya hoga launde ne.”
” Nahin, maine toh suna hai ki love triangle tha.”
A professor of the Printing Technology Department put the whispers and hushed laughter to rest by clearing his throat. He went on to say that it was a very unfortunate demise, and that MIT had lost one of its budding engineers. He also said that the deceased was a good student. At this point, we must note that in today’s world of cut-throat competition and one-upmanship, a person, once dead, is measured more by his achievements, be it monetary or in the field of academics, than his character. In an institute of high repute like our very own MIT, academic performance takes precedence. So it was that at the service, no mention was made about how the deceased was as a person. Nobody came to speak up for him, or to enunciate the good qualities and strength of character that he surely would have had. A passing mention was made of his parents, and their grief, which none of us could understand or comprehend. Then it was decided that we observe two minutes of silence for the dead student.
The professor’s few sentences had been too long; it was already time for 10.30 am classes. After praying for the boy’s soul to rest in peace, we left the Quadrangle and went back to class, the service already forgotten and at the back of our minds, put there with practised nonchalance. The rapidly spinning Ferris wheel of MIT was back on course immediately, regardless of the fact that it had crushed another student’s life under it. A lifetime of dreams shattered, a lifetime of love from ageing parents for their beloved son wiped out, shocked and disoriented friends left to pick up the pieces of a great friendship.
I left the Quadrangle, and went up for classes. on the way, I passed a friend. ” Did you not go for the service?”, I asked.” No dude. Too boring. Why would I go? I didn’t know him anyway. Now, have you done your workshop assignment?”
I marvelled at how quickly the world forgets; I saw the truth for the first time. Thoroughly disillusioned and melancholy, I went to class.