It was his first day in college. A dream of studying at ‘Institute Of Science’ was about to be a reality. On the intervening night, past few years came flashing thus depriving him the luxury of sound sleep. Tossing and turning on the bed, he longed for the much needed rest. In the wee hours of the night however, his brain got too tired and sleep crawled in.
In the morning he woke up excited. At the same time, he was nervous whether he will be lost in the sea of information or sail well. Already a graduate in Zoology, he was now seeking the post graduate course. That very day the newly enrolled students were invited for an orientation session by the Dean of the Institute. He had to finish some administrative formalities later and then settle in the allotted hostel room.
As he boarded the city bus from hotel to reach Institute, the cavalry of thoughts that had retreated yesterday, marched again. Who and how would be my batch-mates? Where they might be from? Would I get good company here? How would be the canteen facility? Would I get in-house apprenticeship as lab assistance? In case I get one, would I be able to handle the junior crowd? Would there be girls in the class? What would it be like to work in the top of the end facility for research? All and many such threads of thoughts criss-crossed in his mind.
The conductor called out with a double bell, “Institute Of Science”. Shaking all the unwanted thoughts off, he realised that bus was about the start again for the next stop. He got up and rushed towards the front door. By the fraction of the second he was out and the bus zoomed ahead.
Looking at the imposing entry gate, he had a sense of pride. With firm stride, he reached the Administrative building. Looking up for signs and directions, he decided to walk down the corridor and look out for the notice board. A flight of steps started from across the main notice board. Though it was the first day for him, the institute ran all throughout the year except for holidays during festivities, summer and winter breaks. Everyone crossing him in the corridor seemed busy in their business.
As he was checking one notice after the other, he noticed something falling from the top left side. Before he could comprehend, it landed on to his left shoulder. He got startled. “Oops, whats that?”, he muttered. Pushing the neck little towards right shoulder, turning his face slightly towards left but not moving from his place, he glided his eyes to the left corner. All he could see was the massive head and long legs of the creature.
“A tiger spider!”, he reflected. Before he could think of anything, the spider moved a bit. This alarmed him more. He was about to dust it off, but it slithered into his chest pocket. He jumped back as a reflex reaction. “Oh my God” escaped from his lips. He checked around. No one took notice of him. He had a sigh of relief. ‘Good Lord, no one saw that”, he reckoned.
But the spider was still in and the chest pocket felt heavy. He grew little suspicious. He decided to pluck the pocket out and peep in. As he was about to do that, “Peek-a-boo”, came a boisterous shout from behind. He was taken up by surprise and was out of his wits. A girl and her gang of friends had come rushing down the stair case. Their laughter circled him. He was shocked first and then embarrassed.
“Expect the unexpected, Mister”, she announced with a naughty chuckle! Putting her hand across and spreading the palm in front, she stood with raised eyebrow. The laughter of the gang was not ready to die. Regaining his control over the situation and looking straight in the eyes of the girl, he took the spider out of his pocket. It was a plastic one and he was made a fool! With angry looks he shoved the spider on her palm and walked away.
A few steps ahead, when he turned around involuntarily, he saw the girl tying a thread to the spider. He by now had settled his emotional outburst. Rather he then had got curious. Giggling and chit chatting, the girl along with her gang were seen rushing towards the steps. They appeared to be undergraduate students. Away from the notice board, he was out of the gang’s sight. He decided to wait around the corner and check if he could get company in his misery! Long before, another unsuspecting student walked in. He got busy reading the notices. Something landed on his head and she did it again!
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