17334187656857General  Body-Meetings


As I entered the classroom I found that there were only five girl students sitting on the last row of chairs . On seeing me they all  turned around  and then there was a sudden hush-hush talk.

“I think , he is a new student in our class.” I could hear some voice in between giggles.

I moved in and sat on the first bench. Opened my bag and took out a notebook. And tried to look into the blank  black-board  on  the wall . I knew that in college  Zoology as  a    subject  generally had few boys but here it seemed there were no boys in  the  class. Its going to be very difficult, I thought. I had come from a  boys school and was very uncomfortable in front of girls. Here the giggling from the rear  benches seemed to have moved closer. I think the girls had moved ahead. From the corner of my eye I could see that they were now occupying the row of chairs just one row  behind mine. Being first day in the college in Mumbai I was actually worried about being ragged by the seniors but here it seemed the situation was worst. I looked at my watch nervously and pat came a comment from the rear.

“We still have 5 minutes for the class” the pun was accompanied with a laughter.

The class room was very small room with just five rows of six chairs each. The chairs had a book rest on which one could write. I Thought there is no point in sitting here in the class, let me wait outside and let the girls have fun alone. Why should they have fun at my cost. So , I got up to move out of the class room , and suddenly a girl got up from the rear row and came to me.

“Hi I am Minal” She said and extended her hand for a shake.

I was taken aback at this intrusion. Till now I had never shaken hands with a girl. It was not so common in small town culture from which I hailed. Even if we wanted to do it   in our heart of hearts , the girls would not appreciate it and our extended hands  would remain extended in thin air only . So we never extended our hands in thin air infront of girls. Here I had a delicate hand in front  of  me to  be  shaken and as I looked up , a pretty face .

I was tempted but I was scared.

How  it would be to shake hands with a girl?  I did not know the  answer. Everybody seemed to be watching as there was a pin drop silence from the rear benches. Almost five seconds passed in this stalemate and the nubile hand was in front of me.

“Come on, I am not a untouchable. This is apartheid” She commanded.

I could not decide what to do. So I left the decision to my hand.

“Hi, I am M Joined the college today”. I replied and my hand decided to stay in the pocket only. I wanted it to come out but it held steadfast to the principles which the master had taught him for years. I respected the decision of my right hand .

The nubile hand  widrew slowly. And then another girl got up and came ahead.

“Hi I am Yasmin” said the second. Without extending her hand.

“Hi , I am Arpita”said the third

“Hi I am Geeta”said another .

Then the last to come ahead was seemingly the ring leader of girls. I could see from gait of confidence about her.

“Hi , Do you believe in General body –Meetings?” She said curtly giving me a sly smile and looking at others simultaneously.

“Which gereral body meeting? Departmental?” I said innocently.

“No I mean just general body-meetings” She said trying to be serious.

But just then my eyes quickly scanned the other girls and they had kept a hand on their mouths and were laughing.

It dawned on me what she was hinting at. But I didn’t want to get my leg pulled further so I showed ignorance.

“I don’t know” .I replied.

“tch, tch … so sad” she said looking at her friends.

“Whats your name” I asked the gang leader.

“You will come to know by yourself”. she answered arrogantly.

“Leave him , yaar, he will learn. Today is his first day.” said another one and they all went back to their chairs.

The teacher walked in and just behind him came in two guys and another girl who were standing outside in the corridor. The class started.

So in the next one week or so the class attendance was complete and we finally had a class of four boys and six girls. Among  the  classmates there was a  permanent pair of  a  boy  and  a  girl who would walk hand in hand all the time. And then another boy called Louis, who   had his girlfriend from some other class and would most of the time keep bunking . And the third boy called Dinesh was too busy all the times in his books and his goal was already set i.e to study in US so he talked of only how to crack  the GRE and so he was too boring for the girls. And that left me , whom they had given up on the very first interaction   because I was dumb and didn’t know the meaning of general body-meetings. For a number of days they maintained an ice wall.

But as the semesters passed  by  the interaction increased,  as we had to do lot of projects together. The ice wall began to melt , albeit slowly. My shyness also reduced to some extent and I started to communicate more freely. Me and Dinesh became good friends and sometimes  in the lab we both and the five girls would sit together and chat freely. Being a small class there was interdependence in terms of sharing notes and doing projects. I also came to know the name of that girl ; the gang-leader , she was Sandra. Sandra was a  bit softer now but still had her arrogant airs. Gifted  with good looks  and     fair  complexion she  knew  she  could pull crowds. Though she  was   slightly plump but  that  did not  dither  her  confidence  . She was always engaged in troubling teachers when she was not troubling the co-students with her sharp remarks.

The year ended well and Dinesh and I scored first and second position respectively. The girls too were not far behind and generally the class as a whole had done very well.

The next year my father was posted out of Mumbai and so I shifted to the hostel. The boys hostel was within the main building of the college campus. It was a five storied building with twenty rooms in each floor. All rooms were on twin sharing basis. I was sharing the room with a boy from the arts stream for whom enjoyment took far greater priority over studies. His father was a rich person and was sending him adequate money to enjoy  life in  Mumbai. Each one of us had a bed , a study table and a Cupboard all in one line along the length of the room touching respective side walls. One end of the breadth had the door and the other end two large windows. Now Paarjit , my  roommate had spicy tastes and he had a large collection of posters and centre page pin-ups from Playboy and Debonair magazines. On the very first day he displayed his collection on the wall above his bed. And along the bed he had pinned a six foot poster of his most favourite Hollywood actress , offcouse in bikini. In the manner that  when  he would sleep on the bed they would both be juxtaposed. Room Number 55 (our room) became the hot spot of the hostel and all the boys would come and admire Paarjit’s collection. He soon became a Hero of the hostel. On the opposite side my wall gave a deserted look. He told me that he can lend me some posters if I wanted but I said it is fine without it.

Second month in the hostel, one day Paarjit requested me if I could stay out of the room from 1 PM to 6 PM . I asked why did  he need the room to himself?.

“Are you going to do some more pinning up?” I asked.

“No, I am going to get my girl friend to the room. We wish to spend some time together.” He said.

“But girls are not permitted inside the boys room. You will get caught”. I said.

“Hey , you don’t know the customs of the hostel. Tomorrow is last Saturday of the month and is called ‘open day’ in the hostel. Girls , parents, sisters all are permitted from 9 AM to 6 PM in the rooms. Wake up, Mike(as he used to call me)”  He said.

“Oh, I see” I replied.

“So you getting your GF , eh? Why you need the room for 4 hours she can see it in ten minutes?” I said. It was my turn to pull his leg. I had a chance to pull the leg of the Hero of the hostel. Now I understood why he had decked up the room.

“Come on Mike, be a sport ,yaar. I have to help her with some project work. You know she is from first year class. Please yaar”. He pleaded.

“Ok, enjoy yourself Buddy.” I said and he gave me a big smile as to say how considerate I was to help him do the project of his GF.

Within a month of the first open day of the hostel the word spread in the college also. Somehow it reached the girls of our class too. One day when me and Dinesh entered the class in the morning we found the girls looking at me and giggling.

“ Am I wearing something funny?” I asked.

“No , No. when did we say that? said Minal.

“Then why are you laughing? I asked. My doubts were rising.

“nothing” they said.

“ok , then carry on laughing , if there is nothing”. saying this I moved to my seat in the front row.

There was a sudden silence at the rear benches where girls were sitting.

“No, there is something we want to ask you, Mr M”. Spoke Sandra.

“Oh, but you said there is nothing? I said. I never left any opportunity to pull  Sandra’s leg. Though she seldom gave  others a chance as it was she who would be teasing us most of the times.

“All this while you have been fooling us, eh. You are not so simple as you look. No?” She said.

“What do you mean? What have I done?” I said. I turned back to face them.

“We came to know that you have pinned up very spicy posters in your room.” She said amidst fresh giggles from her friends.

“So?” I replied.

I was enjoying this chat now. I didn’t want to defend myself yet by saying that my part of  the wall was  still  barren.

“We all want to visit your room” She said.

I was taken aback at this. I did not expect this. I thought they would just tease me and I would also just enjoy it. But this request was tricky.

“That is only possible next week when there is ‘open day’ of the hostel.”I said.

“Wake up, M , today is open day. Don’t try and dodge us , Ok?” said the gang leader Sandra .

OMG they had done  their homework, I thought.

“I will take you next month , today my room is in a mess” . I tried another trick.

“Never mind the mess. We just want to see it for a short while” She said.

I looked at Dinesh. He was smiling too. I understood this information has been leaked by him. But now I had to handle it myself.

“Ok , lets go.”  I said.

“Now? , Immediately?” Now it was their turn to be shocked.

“Yes”. I am ready.

The reaction from the girls was slightly slow but they all got up.

Within minutes we were at the reception of the hostel and then the lift. I pressed the button and the lift door opened.

As girls started to move towards the lift I stopped them and said. “All of you can’t go together. I will take you one by one”

Saying this I softly caught Sandra from her wrist and said, “first I will take Sandra to my room then all of you one by one”.

All girls were looking at Sandra now as to how she would react to the situation.

“ Why you want to take me  first?” She said . First time I could see an amalgamation of apprehension and innocence in the eyes of the gang leader.

“Because I have just decided to start believing in General Body-meetings ” I said looking into her eyes .

She jerked her wrist .

“Nooooo” she shouted and ran out of the hostel door.

Me, Dinesh and all the girls could not hold back our guffaws had a big big laugh standing there. They knew I had settled my score with her.

That day we  all went back to the class smilingly.

Next year i.e in my final year my roommate was changed and the walls were neat and clean again. I invited all girls from my class for a small party in my hostel room. And we all enjoyed. Sandra was there too. In her true form again. And there was no General body-Meeting held.

  1. All charcters in the story are fictitious, though the incident on which this is based is real.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Asheesh Agarwal on February 5, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Very nicely and lucidly written MP. I read it in one go. Keep posting 😊


  2. Posted by Nishant on February 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Nice one sir! You have a knack of storytelling.


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