Kota, the land near the Chambal River, the Educational Hub of the country, and a place where the dreams are turned either into a soothing reality or sometimes gets shattered to be rebuilt again. A home for around 2 lakh students who come every year to crack some of the most fierce and toughest competitive exams for XII passed students. For a year (sometimes years) long preparations to get through a very small opening of elite Engineering and Medical colleges of India, these students leave their homes, their cities to prove their mettle.
Though Kota, is the home of hard-core studies, but is also the land of some very amazing memories, a student forges over there with time, which no college life or the school life will ever give.
#1 – The daily dose of Sins and Blessings
The DPPs, aka Daily Practice Papers, more commonly known as daily paap (sins) and punya (blessings), are the everyday homework consisting of around 10-15 questions in each subject which is supposed to be done by the students at their home. Come the next day, the subject starts with the prayer of discussion of the answers. Both the questions and the teachers had no mercy on students when the questions of DPPs come. The sun may start rising up from the West, but these doses for success in every coaching institute never failed to miss a day.
(Daily Practice Papers sold on Olx)
#2 – The nightmares of Exercise II
Apart from DPPs, which mainly focus on a day’s lecture, the students are also given a sheet for every chapter they have completed. The sheet consists of mainly three to four exercises.
- Exercise I- Question bank of introductory and easy problems. (Teachers expect not to have any doubts in them)
- Exercise II- The mother of all the exercise. Even the actual exams are easier than the questions found in them.
- Exercise III- Previous years’ entrance exam questions related to that particular chapter.
Of these three, the Exercise II is the brand ambassador of all the sleepless nights devoted to studying. The difficulty level too high, the correct questions too low; no doubt after some months, most of the students even stop doing that Exercise.
Both these points, during a student’s stay though become a torture, but after leaving that place when he just walks down that memory lane, it gives him an immense pride that he lived through it and made something positive out of it.
(The Legendary Sheets of the various Chapters)
#3 – The Never Ending Tails of the Institutes
After five hours of being grilled (one and half hour of each class with a fifteen minute break) at the institute, the last thing any students want is more flyers being shoved on him about the “Best Faculties of Kota ready to help you” as soon as he steps out from there.
But it does not end there. After coming to his room, trying to cool down the heat, he thinks of listening to music at local FM stations, and again, there is a shower of advertisements about all those individual subject teachers calling out students to join them.
This is not the end. Even with those big guns, the bullets change their magazines as soon as something more lucrative is offered to them. The local newspapers frequently publish the news of a H.O.D of a reputed coaching institute resigning to either form his own temple of learning, or to join the already established gang. The game of thrones is more clearly visible over here than one can see in the real battleground of Delhi.
#4 – Let’s Hunt for Food
Every starting of the month starts a new hunt for a proper mess which will serve proper food. With numerous options comes more confusion. And that is what the students most of the time face.
The taste and the menu going boring or be it the urge to try something new this time, or how much one can save money by switching to different mess; such questions cloud the mind of the young students more deeply than the complicated integration problems.
#5 – The addiction of Cyber Cafés
A little change to the original quote-
I don’t do drugs, going to the cyber café is enough.
Every street, every corner, every area might not have a proper department store, but they will have two – three cyber cafés. Fully loaded with the latest movies, T.V. shows, multiplayer games like Counter Strike, D.O.T.A, and the most important feature- the Internet; these cyber cafés are cheap and sole sources of entertainment of most of the students.
Though they are also the one of the main reasons to make students astray from the purpose they are actually in Kota at the first place, but still for those who want to take an hour or two to give some rest to their brains, these cyber cafés are a short respite for them.
(Scene in one of the Cyber Cafes)
#6 – The Early Morning Breakfast
The pohas, kachori, jalebis, etc. in the morning is what most of the students have for their breakfast. Decorated on pushcarts, the sellers start their morning exercise from five in the morning and till the night time feed their yummy eatables to the students.
#7 – The Home Delivery of Snacks at 4 A.M.
Yup, that’s right, it is not 4 P.M., but 4 in the night. Those group studies which are actually started with the mission to complete difficult chapters when the night is at the darkest, but mostly end with non-stop talking when the light first breaks through in the morning. In between those talks and fun, one might have to take care of the hungry stomach.
Fear not, Kota has many restaurants who offer food delivery service after 11 at night and till around 7 in the morning. The food delivered can take around two hours to reach your doorstep, but still those sandwiches tastes better with the added flavor of those stupid and endless talks.
#8 – Maajhi Cycle
Not so sure in terms of real facts, but I have a strong feeling that Kota has the maximum number of residents using bicycles to commute from their home to work. From the morning of 7 to 9 at night, Kota is covered with all forms of bicycles adorning its roads. Most used means of transportation by the students and mostly their only means of exercise, bicycles are the best friends of their owners.
It is understood that the sellers of bicycles have found a “never going into a depression” business in the city.
(Yup, these are all cycles.)
#9 – That was a Sunday
Sundays, are the best day of the week. I know there is nothing new in that, but ask those tired students who, after a weeklong scribbling on their notebooks finally are blessed with a day to take some rest and prepare for the coming week, what is it the importance of Sunday?
But once a month, on a very unlucky day, comes a Sunday, when these students have their monthly test, which is the basis for their improving their cumulative ranks and a possibility to come a little closer towards their goals.
Mostly this test goes on for 8 hours (Two 3 hours tests with a 2 hour break in between). And as the clock strikes 5, those students who earlier would have done anything to have a proper sleep, forgets all about their mental tiredness, and just look for a proper way to celebrate this undefined freedom.
The waves of students in the mall, in movie theatres, in restaurants are enough to tell the local resident, that a battle was fought today and the end of it, these warriors have earned their right to relax.