Kasim Raza Alvi is in the final year of Mechanical Engineering, a prestigious course in New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, a central university. Alvi knew of the consequences of taking up engineering, and that too mechanical. He sacrificed a much more attractive alternative of taking up English Literature. His current batch has only 7 girls. 4 of them already committed 2 confused and the last one actually laughs in Sajid Khan’s movies, so he keeps a distance. “I take a detour on my exit, and cross the English department,” says Alvi with a chuckle.
Alvi is not alone. Actually he is, but there are other singles and some sly ‘complicated’ guys along with him. All high-and-dry in the semestral desert. Soon, there will be an oasis for all of them. Zakir Husain Library (ZHL), Jamia’s central library is getting a lot of enquiries ever since girls were found in Aligarh Muslim University’s library. The hopes are high, once again.
Nazish Fareed is a regular visitor of the ZHL. She brings on an average 3 male students with her, setting up library book issuance rate by a visually-appealing-percentage of 10.01% per shift. “I feel proud to be able to ‘teach some lesson’ to these boys, if only in figurative terms,” says Fareed. She flips through her course-books and is later joined by a boy from her class. One boy follows him to the library. The library is open for all.
Some of the boys have discovered the library for the first time. “I thought it’s a Mughal era monument, as only people with thick-rimmed glasses went, or groups came here to sit, chat and click selfies. But now I get to know that there are actual books, spread across five floors. And there are boys… and girls Would you believe that?” exclaims an excited Raajeisssh, who goes by his first name, to ease up filling online flash sale forms. He gets tatkal ticket every time because of this, he says.
The library is suddenly the hotspot of activity. A small cafeteria nearby is already planning an extension, to provide a place to sit, for students who fail to secure a seat inside. Space is not a crunch thought, at least not yet. Nandlal D. Ram, the librarian, is happy that he can justify his pay now. “More students come to issue books and sit in the reading room. Some of them pick-up strange books on anthropology which haven’t been read by anyone, since they were written. And strangely, they return it in the same condition,’ tells Ram.
But with all the controversy and attention, girl students are still visiting the library. “The comments have always been on us. Chowmein, mobiles, jeans and now a library too has been barred. When our educational institutions are pushing such stereotypes, how can we feel change is on the horizon?,” says Neha with mock-anger. Her sight slips to the gate. Kasim Raza Alvi enters. He has decided to stop taking the detour now.
This-claimer: The above is a satirical piece, meant to be taken in the way satires are meant to taken, and written with the purpose satires are written for. I hope I made myself clear.