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Act two, scene one

education Updated: Jul 02, 2013 16:25 IST
Kritika Narula

After our journey through the various Delhi University colleges, it was finally time to make a choice.

Time: Midnight 26-27 June

Venue: Virtual world

Disclaimer: This article is a work of non-fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons is ­entirely intended.

Characters: College ­aspirants, rather DU aspirants­

Take one: Which college are you seeking admission to?

A question which remains unanswered for want of a ­definite response.

A question which always elicits a toothy smirk from the inquisitive sadist asking it. A question which always agonises the soul answering it in faltering words.

Careers teeter at the altar of cut-offs. The past and future are on a nagging spree.

Finally all school-leavers-turned-college aspirants glued to their respective gadgets (or newspapers) confronted their fate. It all began with Ramjas College. With the major courses gifted to those in the 97+ club, we were in for a rude shock. But this was just the beginning. Hans Raj, Delhi College of Arts and Commerce and Kirori Mal followed, accompanied by despair.

By the time most colleges had launched their missiles, thousands of dreams had been shattered. It was midnight which made it all the more dramatic! Facebook and Whatsapp statuses read tales of perturbation, sorrow, pain, misery… you get the drift. Amidst the abominable lull of midnight, the cut-offs of all the DU colleges were staring at us right in the face.

The diabolic sting of the demonic cut-offs is tormenting us to the core of our heart. Aren’t these numbers too exaggerated? Does no college wish to harbour a student scoring 90?

Each one of us – from the introvert to the rambunctious, from the nerd to the carefree, has something to lament about.

The commerce students, Jasmine, Vritti and I, bemoan the bleak prospects of getting into our respective dream colleges, and how terrible it feels to see the highest requirements for our stream. Jasmine laments, “ Instead of being a normal step towards higher education, admission into DU has become a coveted prize.” To make matters worse, we have “additional eligibility criteria” to fulfil, which thwarts whatever little possibility exists. Premanshu, the only science student, while basking in the luxury of choices, keeps up the good humour by fretting over the PCM ­roadblock. Geetika is one of those few humanities students who despite unexpectedly high cut-offs have the good fortune of being able to make a choice for themselves. Ummang, already sorrowful at the absence of any alternative to the bachelor’s in journalism and mass communication in DU, accepts the gift of fate. Tarana has another realisation. “All my life I did not argue with my teachers for one mark but it is now that I understand how much difference it makes,” she says. While we are all in the same boat, Ali, who will be studying in Japan, is happy because he “has a yacht running at an arm’s length from this boat.”

Somehow, we all want this crucial period of excruciating agony to come to an end, and never return. For once, we all thought we should have a ­distinct reservation for each one of us as well. Even tears refuse to come.

The first cut-offs have made our careers cliff-hangers. But optimism, like an old habit, dies hard. Many of us took admission for the sake of securing ourselves a seat, but we still look forward to get our course and college. The dilemma, the quandary about giving preference to course or college gained attention and debate, yet again.

Feeling rejected and dejected, we eagerly await the second cut-off list, ­hoping it would rescue us from this abyss. By the time you read this, the second cut-offs would be out. And hopefully each one of us would have landed at a place of their choice. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

EDITOR’s LIST

How can a second term as the editor not be delightful and exciting?

1. Setting up the edit meet
We gathered rather clumsily so the feeling of being the editor, which I became by a quirk of fate, sank in quite late. Nevertheless, I resumed holding my Parliament session

2. Theme of the week
After much discourse and debate, the theme was decided as life after the much awaited DU cut-offs which we knew would be unrealistic and exorbitant

3. Tasks set out
Waiting for cut-offs, stating the cut-offs, berating the cut-offs, rating the cut-offs. In short, hating the cut-offs

4. The most disciplined journo
Amid Tarana’s timings, Vritti’s sanguinity, Ali’s expression, Geetika’s reminiscence, Ummang’s metaphors, Jasmine’s pithy comments, Premanshu’s surprising sincerity, it is difficult

5. Work I did this week
Loathing the cut-offs myself, imploring the CJs to submit the articles and blogs, and being called ma’am!

6. ...and next week’s editor is
Vritti Gandhi handling the theme of our final destination.

Kritika Narula, St Margaret Senior Secondary School

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when cut-offs slap you in the face; and when the soul of a teenager long unfettered gets deterred.

After the cut-offs were announced, I realised that all colleges are in the mood of gifting us bleak futures and shattered dreams. I couldn’t help laughing. After this insane fit of laughter ended, reality dawned upon me. Clichéd words like astounding, soaring, unprecedented, whopping, sky-rocketing do not suffice to describe the despicable nature of cut-offs this time. Some of the most sought-after colleges have shoved us out. At this critical juncture, I deem talking to friends a therapy. Because no matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse. Don’t do that

Premanshu Tripathi, Kendriya Vidyalaya, JNU

Cut-offs: a word which seems to create a feeling of rejection in one’s mind, but for me cut-offs are extravaganzas for the spectacular entertainment they provide. “Smiles for those who get in, hopes for those who missed by some marks but would get in after the second list, tears for those who lose all hope”. A complete package! Now which category do I belong to? The second, though with my best-of-four marks I can get into most of the colleges. Being a science student one needs to have a good percentage in PCM. I am not giving up on DU altogether and would be eagerly looking forward to the second cut-off list. I am also waiting for my National Defence Academy results and counselling. High cut-offs make you lose a lot of things; of the things I have lost I miss my mind the most

Vritti Gandhi, Holy Child Auxilium School

About a month ago, we were happily disclosing our results to the world. But then was declared the most awaited cut-off list of DU shrouding many with the dark clouds of despair. With college cut-offs soaring this year, many dreams have been left squashed. Even a decent 94% does not suffice. This increase has disappointed many students hoping to get into the varsity, especially those belonging to the ‘general’ category, which now seems like a curse. But we do have a long way to go, what with more lists yet to be revealed. To those students who feel shattered, do not lose hope of getting through all these roadblocks barricading the way, over to the other side where the grass would be greener. And remember, we are all in this together

Ummang Sharma Bajpai, The Indian School

The cut-offs are finally out and we know that the value of the dollar against rupee is not the only thing that is sky-rocketing. The scenario feels very similar to a post-tornado situation with debris strewn all about. Yes, debris is a metaphor for the aspirations of a lot of students. Especially fellow guys who, like me, wanted to go in for BJMC in DU. A whopping 97.5% in the first cut-off is enough to shake anyone up. Needless to say, that is definitely not the course I will be doing anytime soon. While I kept harping about course over college, it’s not really possible to focus on a course when only one college offers it. Hence, I turn to my backup course options. The lists, especially in commerce are unbelievably high. It is time DU realises that we need an increase in the number of seats, not the cut-offs!

Geetika Ahuja, Summer Fields School

It is the oldest story in the world. One day, you are 17, planning for someday, then quietly and without you really noticing, someday is today, then someday is yesterday, and this is your life. Gone are the days when we would observe the Great Indian Admission Process from a distance, offering sympathies and silently raising the bar for our target Class 12 percentage. As I prepare to enter stage two, I feel caught in the spotlight, clueless of my dialogues and enactments. The exorbitant hike has left me baffled. Having missed the mark for my dream college by an entire (yeah, entire) 1%, I decided to go ahead with Hindu, even though I had Miranda, JMC and Venky in the offing. Here’s hoping that the subsequent ‘cut-off’ lists don’t cut off your chances of being a part of the numero uno university of the nation.

Jasmine Bhalla, St Thomas’ School

The cut-offs are out. I feel a cloud of despair looming above my head. While I am still waiting to get into my desired college through the second list, it is disheartening losing out on colleges and courses by as much as 0.5%! How can a student’s potential be gauged based entirely on their board percentage for courses like English honours and journalism? The cut-offs made me think as if being a commerce student is a sin, which is just disappointing. What is more disappointing is that though the authorities painted a pretty picture by introducing FYUP for the students’ “holistic development”, the reality is drastically different. Or are only those who can fetch 98% entitled to holistic growth?

Chaudhary Ali Mardan Khan, DPS, Indirapuram

Imagine being surrounded by men resplendent in tuxedos with no rain shelter and rain begins to pour. But you have an umbrella. Well, that is my state! With an acceptance offer coupled with a scholarship from a university abroad, today I am impervious to this dream-shattering rain of the cut-offs. With 95% in boards, ostensibly I have got into great DU colleges. But, I think it is (thanks to my principal) is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity that once missed will be a source of regret. So, while my contemporaries yearn for 0.25 marks to get into their dream college, I wait with bated breath to board the aircraft and fly off to a distant land

Tarana Faroqi, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya

A judgement day it truly was. My relief was shaken by the buzzing of my phone with constant messages that the cut-offs are out for Ramjas, Hans Raj and Kirori Mal. A day before? After Stephen’s shattered all my dreams and aspirations, this was my only ray of hope. Going by previous years’ trends, the cut-offs shot up. By shockers I mean 97.5-98.5 in journalism and mass communication, or economics 97. I was certain I won’t make it in the colleges I want. To my surprise I did manage to get into Indraprastha, DCAC, Matreyi, Kamala Nehru and Gargi, although the subjects were not really my first preferences. But I was happy to see that the range in which my marks lie does have a lot of scope in the second cut-off. I am keeping my fingers crossed