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ully understand his question. I kept quiet. 'Do you?' he asked again. 'Yes, yes,' I said, my voice like a convict's. 'So...why do you want to study at St. Stephen's?' A few seconds of silence followed. The four men in the room lpoked at me.The professor had asked me a standard question. 'I want good college,' I said, after constructing the sentence in my head. Prof. Gupta smirked. 'That is some response. And why is St. Stephen's a good college?' I switched to Hindi. Answering in English would require pauses and make me come across as stupid. Maybe I was stupid, but I did not want them to know that. 'Your college has a big name. It is famous in Bihar also,' I said. 'Can you please answer in English?' Prof. Gupta said. 'Why? You don't know Hindi?' I said in reflex, and in Hindi. I saw my blunder in their horrified faces. I had not said it in defiance; I really wanted to know why they had to interview me in English when I was more comfortable in Hindi. Of course, I didn't know then that Stephen's professors didn't like being asked to speak in Hindi. 'Professor Pereira, how did this candidate get an interview'?' Prof. Gupta said. Prof. Pereira seemed to be the kindest of the lot. He turned to me. 'We prefer English as the medium of instruction in our college, that's all.' Without English, I felt naked. I started thinking about my return trip to Bihar. I didn't belong hereĆ¢€"these English-speaking monsters would eat me alive. I was wondering what would be the best way to take their leave when Piyush Yadav broke my chain of thought. 'Bihar se ho? Are you from Bihar?' he said. The few words in Hindi felt like cold drops of rain on a scorching summer's day. I loved Piyush Yadav in that instant. 'Yes, sir. Dumraon.' 'I know.Three hours from Patna, right?' he said. 'You know Dumraon?' I said. I could have kissed his feet. The three English-speaking monsters continued to stare. 'I'm from Patna. Anyway, tell them about your achievements in basketball,' Piyush said. I nodded. He sensed my nervousness and spoke again.'Take your time. I am Hindi-medium, too. I know the feeling.' The three professors looked at Piyush as if wondering how he had ever managed to get a job at the college. I composed myself and spoke my rehearsed lines. 'Sir, I have played state-level basketball for six years. Last year, I was in the waiting list for the BFI national team.' 'BFI?' said Prof. Gupta. 'Basketball Federation of India,' Piyush answered for me, even though I knew the answer. 'And you want to do sociology. Why?' Prof. Fernandez said. 'It's an easy course, No need to study. Is that it?' Prof. Gupta remarked. I didn't, know whether Gupta had something against me, was

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