“Come stay with us in the hotel tonight. You can go to college from the hotel tomorrow”, Ashish’s parents urged him. However, Ashish was adamant that he had to return to the hostel in the evening because he had to finish his lab report for class the next day. Thus, he took an auto back (when parents are in town, you don’t look to save money) to the campus. And by 10 PM, he was back in his room.
He knew the drill well. He kept the door to his room slightly ajar, played Floyd on his computer and kept the lights switched off. When Atul stopped by his room to ask him for the nightly sutta, he politely refused and pretended that he had an headache and needed to sleep. Atul, uncharacteristically did not pester him and left by himself. Ashish knew that even that was the part of the drill.
He had been lying awake on his bed for nearly an hour when the clock stuck midnight. It was now that he had to pull on his comforter and pretend that he has been woken up from deep slumber when his gang of friends will storm his room. He played the rest of the drama in his mind. His friends will drag him to the grounds, strip him to his underwear, kick him, and then someone will pour a bucket of cold water on him. Then there will be the cake with something absurd written on it, which will be eaten less and smeared more. And then, there will be some vodka and chicken kababs at the inn across the street (The money for the treat had already been transferred to his wallet).
It was a couple of minutes past midnight and there were no signs of people gathering near his room. “Well, my watch must be fast”, he concluded and continued to pretend to be asleep. And then, it was 12:05, and he said to himself “They will be here any moment”. Slowly, the clock ticked to 12.30, and by then Ashish knew that his birthday was not going to be celebrated in the hostel that night. He walked into Atul’s room and asked him if he would like to come for a sutta, hoping that Atul, will suddenly remember on seeing him. That did not happen, and the two of them walked upto the sutta shop discussing Spain vs Netherlands.