banner
.
Story: The Fake Degree
We are, forever searching for something in our lives. And tragedy begins when we actually find it. Yet search is integral to life and it can culminate both in joy as well as intrigue. Risk has to be taken and life has to be accepted as it unfolds, whether it is to our liking or not. Dev realized as a School boy that mainstream medicine was a farce. He studied medicine and became a Veterinary Doctor. Torn between precept and practice, he realized that farce is far more ubiquitous phenomenon in society than he had ever imagined. It is like all running in a direction simply because others were running in that direction, without knowing where to.

1

They were on friendly term after a long disconnect.

Dr. Dev Purohit and Dr.Mukesh Prajapati spoke to each other on their cell phones daily. Prajapati was in the process of selecting a suitable match for his daughter, Vinita, a school teacher. Dev was doing the background check of a boy – Vikas Verma, who was shortlisted as a prospective groom.

Based on his verification, Dr. Dev reported that the boy wasn’t suitable for Vinita and suggested that they look for a different match. Dr. Mukesh Prajapati felt the boy was perfect. Could Dev give reasons for his unfavorable opinion?

“Boy is eccentric and a loner. Doesn’t socialize much. He suffered nervous breakdown during his Post Graduation. His father Col. K. K. Verma is a social misfit. No one invites him to any social ceremony. He broke away from his brothers and sisters, and even his parents.” Dev explained.

"You can’t give a diagnosis by picking up one or two symptoms. The boy is a merit scholar. I have talked to his teachers. His father’s follies shouldn’t be put on him,” Mukesh countered.

"It’s the question of your daughter’s life, Prajapati, and not a chapter in clinical diagnosis. Basic human nature never changes. I suggest you select some other match from your shortlist, or float a fresh matrimonial ad,” said Dr.Purohit. He had done a thorough check on the boy, Vikas Verma, working as Asst. Registrar at Ramjilal University, Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh.

Vinita would marry Vikas if all went well.

Dev and Mukesh were batch mates at Mathura Veterinary College, and best friends too. They did their graduation and post-graduation together. Dev found placement in poultry industry, and Mukesh in Dairy. For the 10 years of their service they remained in touch. Then, they lost touch.

Mukesh was searching matrimonial alliance for his daughter. One match was from Meerut. Who else could do a better check on that family than Dev, a domicile of Meerut city? With this objective in mind he searched for Dev’s whereabouts and found him.

Dev and his estranged wife, Parul Purohit, had married off their one and only daughter, Veena, 2 years ago. Estrangement with his wife had ruffled Dev hard. Many of his friends, including Prajapati, distanced themselves from him. Who wants to be friendly with a broken home?

Now camaraderie was returning.

Search for a groom injected new life into the fading friendship. Dev and Mukesh, the famed PP (Purohit-Prajapati) duo of college days bonded once again.

    

2

Marriages are made in heaven. Vinita got married to Vikas Verma, the same guy who the two friends, PP, rated differently. Purohit rejected him and Prajapati, the girl’s father, accepted him.

Following marriage, Vinita resigned from her school teacher’s job. Vikas, her husband, got her employed in Humanities department of Ramjilal University where he himself worked as Asst. Registrar.

Some unpleasant developments saw Vikas sacked from his job. Vinita continued teaching there and the couple lived in the staff quarters in the University campus. Vikas was sacked for his alleged links to a fake degree racket. A band of policemen descended on campus with mark sheets bearing the logo of Ramjilal University. All these were fake and carried signatures of Vikas Verma. That was shocking for Verma. Someone may have fooled him to sign them. Off and on he had been a Public Relations Officer, Hostel Warden and even Information Officer. Multitasking made him extremely worked up but he stayed put, hoping it would end someday. He was post-graduate in computer engineering and was selected in University to teach computer science. He hoped that multitasking would end someday and he would be able to concentrate on his primary job - teaching Computer Science.

Over the course of his multiple assignments at the university he signed countless documents including student identity cards. His signatures could have been lifted and planted on forged mark sheets. University, however, was in no mood to listen.  Vikas was dismissed from service following a report submitted by the Disciplinary Committee. Report accused him of signing forged documents for antisocial elements, who then sold those documents to gullible students.

Vinita already had serious problems adjusting with Vikas, and his parents. Vermas were fussy and meddled in her affairs. Vinita put up with them stoically. Her parents counseled her to be accommodating. Vikas took his parents' side and slighted Vinita, even raised his hand on her on a few occasions.

With Vikas now jobless, Prajapati family was worried all the more for their daughter. Vermas too felt guilty about their son being a financial burden on their daughter-in-law who they had been insulting and harassing for long.

Mukesh regretted ignoring Dev’s advice. But it was too late now.

         

3

“Stand up!” Professor of Gynecology, Dr. H.C. Pant threw a chalk in a corner of the class room. Mukesh was hit. He stood up meekly. There was pin drop silence in class. “Sorry Sir,” stammered Mukesh, trying to figure what could have annoyed Dr. Pant. Why was he talking to Dev? Dr. Pant demanded. Mukesh cleared his throat and explained, “Sir we discussed reproductive physiology yesterday when Dev told me that pituitary is the master of endocrine orchestra. Since you said the same thing in the class, I just looked to Dev to acknowledge that he was right.” Dr. Pant cooled down and moved on with his discourse.

Dev and Mukesh, the PP – duo, talked long and deep on all issues of life, death and beyond. Post-graduation (PG) hostel was often frequented by parents searching suitable candidates for their daughters. Dev had a brush with 2 proposals which he declined politely. News broke out in hostel and congratulations poured in.

“When is the party?”

"No such thing, why….” laughed Dev.

Reading matrimonial column was popular pass time. Rakesh called out, “this is the match I am responding to.” Goverdhan looked into the newspaper and laughed, "Stupid, are you gay, going for same sex marriage? Ad is for bride, not groom!”

Fun was the way in hostel life. Be it boycotting exams or going on a strike for new furniture in the common room.

"Look at the carpet,” said Dr. P K Shrivastav, “seems like a handover from the emperor Jahangir.”  He was lustily cheered and warden was forced to approve new furniture and upholstery for the common room.

Those lucky to get married while studying in college were forced to give `running commentary’ of their first- night.

“How many times did you do it?”

”Well, there can’t be a count. Once begun, you go on and on…” said Kunwar Pal (KP).

 Dev and Mukesh were going to attend KP’s marriage when they were way laid by thugs and stripped of their belongings. PP duo skipped marriage and stayed in police station to register an FIR. Was that foreshadow of KP’s tumultuous married life?

Kunwar Pal’s wife, in course of time, was diagnosed as full blown case of acute Schizophrenia. In a bout of depression she jumped into a canal along with her 3 children. Passersby rescued her, and her two kids; one kid drowned.

      

4

Prajapatis arranged a sitting with Vermas. Ailing marriage of Vikas and Vinita was the topic of discussion.

Col. Verma was blunt and unrelenting. Girl must do boy’s bidding. Ground reality though was different. Vinita did her best to keep Vikas in good humor, but failed. After several face offs, it transpired that Vikas suffered from bouts of mental depression.

Vinita was married to a professional who turned out to be mentally weak. Her nightmares began right with the seven rounds of the holy fire. As the priest read out homilies for the couple, Col. Verma objected, “Why should the girl’s consent be necessary for all that the boy does? Husband is head of the family, not the wife.” Vikas was seen grinning from ear to ear. Vinita was upset but occasion demanded restraint.

Patch up meeting ended on a discordant note. Vermas stuck to their line that Vinita was trying to dominate them as well as their son.

Dev, while attending Vinita’s marriage, had felt ill at ease. He met the couple - Vinita and Vikas, seated on ceremonial throne, and gave them his blessings. He then sought permission to leave and walked out of the venue. On the way back he got a call.

“Aree yaar, at least you should have taken dinner,” it was Mukesh calling.

 “Well I gorged on drinks and snacks. Dinner then would have been a mistake. You know how fussy I am about eating. Please relax.”

Dev was abstemious eater and iconic health freak right from his school days.

5

 

Walls have ears, winds can see, nature can predict. This happens in films, in stories, in real life too.

Dev was gifted a piece of cloth for a 3 piece suite in his engagement ceremony. He gave it for tailoring. On delivery, he was shocked. Suite was horribly loose fitted; twice his size. Obviously his measurements got exchanged with another customer. Tailor apologized profusely and purchased another piece of cloth, of Dev's liking, as compensation. Next delivery was a perfect fit.  “It is a bad omen. Wedding suite got swapped… what next?” observed a colleague.

Dev didn’t believe in luck. He argued over it with a class fellow in school. The classmate believed in preordained destiny, Dev didn’t. Don’t work hard, don’t plan well and then blame destiny for failures, Dev reasoned. The class fellow gave a wry smile, as if to say ‘you will learn it the hard way’.

Science doesn’t negate supernatural. Sir Isaac Newton defended Astrology. Don’t underestimate a science which you haven’t studied well, he warned his friend who laughed at Astrology. As life unfolded into rough terrains, Dev remembered the class fellow who believed in destiny and gave him a wry smile. He was right, Dev mused. There is a limit to what labor can yield. In the long last, it’s destiny that prevails. Horoscope of Dev’s sister did not match with the prospective groom.  “They will fight like cats and dogs,” said the priest who matched their horoscope. Dev’s father, Harichand, a handicapped teacher but a man of modern outlook, went ahead with marriage, regardless. Marriage was short lived. Sister returned to live with her parents. Her husband re-married.

There are higher forces that govern human life, said Bal Gangadhar Tilak at his trial for sedition, “and it may just be that the cause I represent prospers more by my suffering than (my) remaining free.”

Do estranged couples suffer a divine diktat? Pitted together by higher forces to promote their respective cause? Was he destined to marry Parul because she was brought up to be a conventional home maker? And he grew up with revolutionary ideas of eating raw food, and living under the open sky, like animals do, i.e. as close to nature as possible? Does it represent some kind of balancing act of destiny?

Nature never plays dice, said Einstein. It shouts aloud what’s about to happen. It’s we who ignore the elephant in the room, and choose to see only what we want to see.


 

6

 

Vinita taught English at Ramjilal University. Her sacked husband stayed with her, hoping for reinstatement. He might have committed a bona fide mistake, he never signed any unauthorized or illegal document, he argued endlessly, but to no effect.

A sacked employee staying in campus was against the decorum of university. But being spouse of a teaching faculty, Vikas had every right to stay with his wife. Could Vinita be sacked, somehow, to see Vikas out of the campus? Idea was mooted by the management. But Vinita was too good a teacher to be sacked on a flimsy ground. She had also filed an FIR against the University for injustice meted to her husband by the University. She could definitely file another FIR to defend her own job. So, the idea to sack Vinita was dropped.

Recording reasons for his dismissal, the University had declared Vikas a patient of Schizophrenia, unfit for university job. Vinita was determined to save her husband’s career. If at all her husband needed psychiatric help, she would get him treated. Mental disease, like any other ailment, can be treated and cured. So what if her in-laws weren’t cooperative; she will make it on her own. Her father, Mukesh, despised Col. Verma and his wife for being indifferent to his daughter's needs, but could do little to mend their ways. No father can mess with his daughter’s marriage. Balraj Sahni played father in ‘Neelkamal’. He had a brawl with in-laws of his daughter, and got injured in the ruckus. Seeing him bleed, daughter, Waheeda Rahman, shrieked, “papa blood?!”

“It’s not blood my dear,” said Sahni, choking, “it is water. Were it blood, wouldn’t it boil in rage, and burn this world to ashes seeing you suffer like this?”

Same for Prajapati. Being father, he had to keep a low profile. He reasoned with son-in-law to no end and met anyone and everyone who he felt mattered. Finally, there was a ray of hope. When Vikas was sacked from the University, Col. Verma agreed to put him on intensive psychiatric treatment.

 “Have you seen the film, a beautiful mind? Consider your husband as the genius professor of this Hollywood film and you will know what you have to do.” said the attending psychiatrist after taking the medical history of his patient, Vikas Verma.

 “I will….I will...,” nodded Vinita.

 “Good luck, take care, see you next week.”

 

 

 

 

7

 

 “Dedicated people have troubled married life; a man like you shouldn’t marry.”  This came from Dr. D. P. Sharma, Professor of Veterinary Pathology. Dev too believed being single was best for his eccentric life style. Not eating in hostel mess. Living most of the time on fruits, raw vegetables and snacks. How the lady he marries, would react to his eccentricity? Yet, nature is intrinsically feminine. Woman is part of life, even as sages and seers have deemed her as barrier in their search for truth. Biological life cycle is incomplete without a woman. Not completing your life cycle; won’t that be a significant loss?

In school days Dev was a movie buff. Often he wished `the end’ extended a bit to enable him see hero and heroine live in bliss. But the hall lights switched on and audience moved out. How he wished the story continued little more. His wife would love him like heroine loves hero on screen. He would miss out on this if he decides to remain bachelor.

Film `Choti Si Mulakat’ impressed him deeply. Boy and the girl get married in childhood, then there is time gap. They meet in college as grownups. Boy (Hero) recognizes the girl (this though is revealed at the end of the story) but girl doesn’t, albeit she knows she was married to someone in her childhood. As college goers they fall in love. Story climaxes with the lady unable to decide which way to go, to the boy she had already married, or to her college love. Her late father’s counsel resonated in background: when on cross roads, follow your conscience. Accordingly, she decides to go to the boy she had married, and knocks on a door. Her sister-in-law appears and runs back saying: maa, bahu aai hai (mother, your daughter-in-law has come)! Then walks in a man, clad in dhoti-kurta, and she is shocked to see him. He is the same, her college love.

 “You should have told me,” she cried on his shoulder, “that we were already married. Why did you make me suffer?” Embracing her, the hero said: “Sita must pass through her agnipariksha (a ritual to prove chastity by passing through smoldering fire, as done by Sita after she returned from the captivity of the demon king Ravan), the trial by fire.”

The film ends with title song saying: I saw you, liked you, and worshiped you; that’s all my fault, nothing else.

Growing up Dev had wished this film to continue beyond `the end’. Why would a woman come in way of a man’s search for truth? Woman stays loyal to her husband, come what may, so nothing wrong in getting married.

 

 

 

8

 

Dr. Mukesh reminisced about his daughter’s disturbed married life.

Boy is highly suspicious and that irks my daughter. He is post graduate engineer, but behaves like a school boy. When he suffered nervous breakdown while doing his M.Tech, no dedicated treatment was given to him. All that Col. Verma did was advise him to drop M.Tech and sit at home. Vikas wisely decided to continue his studies, encouraged by his friends. Now Ramjilal University has sacked him saying he suffers from acute Schizophrenia. I understand Schizophrenia is extremely difficult to cure. I met his Professors before finalizing the marriage. None of them told me any such thing. They said Vikas was a brilliant scholar.

Vikas was fussy and argued on trivial matters. Why you took so long in bathroom? Why you did not wish my senior? Why did you laugh at my cousin sister? Saying sorry was best way out for the young bride. Vinita did just that and waited for matters to improve in course of time.

One day, post-midnight, Vinita was woken up by a rude shake. It was Vikas, his breath smelling of alcohol. She suppressed anger but Vikas caught her emotion and felt sorry. His friends forced him to drink, he said. “It’s alright,” said Vinita fighting her stupor and resting her head back on pillow.

Dev heard Mukesh patiently and consoled him. He understood the pain of Prajapati family. His own sister was forced to leave her in-law’s home and live with her parents. Nothing lasts, he advised Mukesh, neither the good times, nor the bad ones. God has blessed Mukesh with an intelligent and competent daughter like Vinita. He should have faith in Vinita’s ability to solve her problems.

“Why do people marry? Is it a social necessity, biological need, or both?” was being discussed in hostel. Most opined that it was a biological need. Dev disagreed. It was social necessity, not a biological one, he said.

“So you mean to say one can remain a celibate, a brahmchari, whole life?”

“Yes, why not?”

“Say about yourself, are you a celibate?”

“No I am not. But I do try to be one. Sexual purity is difficult, but it isworth trying for.”

 "If a dedicated man like you fails, then surely it must be impossible.”

“Who told you I am dedicated…” said Dev, “…I am not. I don’t fall into the category of the really committed and dedicated people. Sex is an outlet of chaos within as well as outside of the human body. Some succeed in controlling the within chaos, some outside. Controlling both is like riding two horses at a time. Children grow up hearing cuss words, innuendoes and insinuations with sexual overtones. That is the chaos outside. Hormonal and physiological changes they encounter on the way to adulthood are the chaos within. Children thus grow up riding two horses. Slips therefore are bound to happen.” 

“Heaven on earth can be felt in three things...,”  said Dr. Kunwar Pal Singh, “... in the pages of a book, on the back of a horse and in the arms of a woman.”

“Yes,” observed Dev, “that’s an Arabian saying. Heaven lies in her arms, not the nether region. Male of Bolinia worm lives in the genital track of the female. Man shouldn’t.”  House was in splits.

A man saw his wife in labor and developed aversion for sex, said Dr. Garg. Wife informed her sister who decided to mend him. She took him to a pond covered with green algae and threw a stone in. Ripples formed in water tearing green surface into two parts. As water stilled, split green sheet closed in and became a continuous green cover once again.

“Do you understand this?” asked sister-in-law. The man understood.

9

 

            “Yes celibacy can lead to longevity but only when the idea comes from within. Not first analyzing and then going (for it).” Dr. V. K. Shrivastav, teaching reproductive physiology, was answering a query from Dev Purohit.

“What happens to millions of sperms that remain stored in body if not expelled out?”

“These disintegrate and get absorbed into the living system. Sex cells are destined to perish any way. Only a single sperm finally qualifies to form a new life, rest of the sperms die and disintegrate.”

“What about weakness that follows sexual intercourse?”

“Is that your personal experience?”

Class laughed loud as Dev looked sideways embarrassed.

“Indeed, general perception is,” continued Dr. Shrivastav, “that sexual activity leads to drop in energy level. Answer is yes and no. `Yes’ because for each peak of excitement, there is bound to be an equal and opposite low. This is law of action and reaction. `No’ because sexual arousal is a state of disturbance which, generally, can’t subside without orgasm. Mating and ejaculating removes disturbance and you can concentrate on something more meaningful. That way it is an energizing and refreshing experience. A glass of milk after the act adequately compensates for the loss of proteins in sexual discharge. Low down felt after coitus is also psychological to some extent as we grow up linking sex to guilt. Sex education is still a taboo and hence the wide spread ignorance on sex issues.”

Man is lot more than flesh and bone. Victory over carnal desires is passport to heights of spiritualism. Atmosphere that raises us, conditions our mind. Youth get drawn to sex hearing lewd talks and living with the sexually hungry relatives and friends. Dev was abused when all of 9 years. Those who defiled him were family. “My neurons got fired rather early,” Dev explained,” hence celibacy is difficult for me. Yet I pursue it, because it’s a tough target.”

“How can you be a celibate as long as you live in main stream society? Go to a jungle and become a monk if you really want freedom from sex,” said Ram Gopal, adding, “you can’t become a Buddha without renouncing this world.”

“Perhaps I can,” responded Dev.

 

 

 

10

 

There is nothing wrong with me. Why are you taking me to Doctor?” Vikas shouted at Vinita.

The lady cajoled and pampered him but failed. Finally she lost her temper. Did he not remember their last visit to the doctor!? Second visit was due today. That infuriated Vikas, and he hit her. Her upper lip swelled with injury. Realizing enormity of what he did, Vikas recoiled: “Sorry, sorry Vinita, extremely sorry,” he pleaded, “You know Vinita I love you.”

“That’s like a good boy,” smiled the bruised lady, “now follow me.”

A beeline of patients waited in psychiatric clinic of Dr. A. K. Aggarwal. They took their seat. When called, they entered doctor’s cabin.

“How are you Vinita? What happened to your lip?” asked Dr. Aggarwal.

“Nothing Doctor, I slipped in the kitchen,” said Vinita, a little embarrassed.

“Is it so, young man?” Doctor looked hard at Vikas.

Vikas was flummoxed, guilt writ large on his face. Dr. Aggarwal was quick on damage control, “it seems you don’t help your wife in kitchen, anyway, relax and get ready to answer my questions.”

“OK Doctor.”  Vikas cleared his throat.

“Tell me about your most painful memory till date.” 

“I guess when I failed in ICS exam. I felt as if hit by a lightning. I thought someone deliberately failed me. I asked my father if ICS copies could be re-checked. He laughed wondering whether I had gone nuts.”

“I see. Any other incident?”

“For my post-graduation I was denied scholarship in spite of highest aggregate marks. Reason cited was that I got supplementary in one subject. I pleaded that one supplementary should not pull down my overall academic merit, including 2nd merit position in final term. But my request was turned down.”

“How did you feel then?”

“I felt numb all over my body, cold in extremities. It was summer time. I felt strange disconnect with my body. I tried to see if I could move my hands, legs and fingers. I could indeed move them as I wished and that came as immense relief.” 

Dr. Aggarwal requested Vinita to leave the two of them for a one on one. There were some questions which could best be asked and answered in her absence. Vinita walked out.


Further read can be done on Amazon or Kindle - please refer the links below (available world-wide)

Buy This Book
Available on Goodreads

Visit the book's Goodreads page

Buy Paperback
Buy The paperback book from Amazon website. Now available worl-wide

Read eBook

Read ebook on Kindle app

KahaniStore Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Math Captcha
+ 82 = 86