As he loosened his tie of his rented Raymond’s, looking into the cracked mirror of the wing bathroom, the four years spent at his alma mater zoomed past his eyes. He let out a small smirking laughter for all the people whom he had left behind. He always wanted to lead the race. He was at the epitome of his success now. He didn’t have any guide; he heard everybody but listened to no one. He persevered night and day alike, each of his second devoted to his choices, which he had made very carefully. Started from scratch, but here he was, on the pinnacle. Some got gold medals, some got the best prizes while some got applauds. But he had got the best job. As he splashed the cold water on his face each drop that fell on his face, anointed his new found satisfaction. His research was impeccable as to what the company wanted. He was the best at GD, and his resume was crafted for the company. Since four years he knew what he was preparing for. The courses he took depended on what the company thinks of the subject. He knew his limitations and hid them by excelling where others were limited. His list of achievements was long and unique. He had learnt things just because he knew he would make a mark instantly in places where there is low competition. While people struggled dismally to display their zeal to show their worth, he showed them the trophies. While people foolishly pursued their passions his activities were targeted towards his singular goal. Now he had beaten them all. After four depressing years of struggle, where he saluted donkeys and laughed at dull humour of the colleagues that helped him here, he was the one who was wearing the smile. He walked back to his room his face still wet with cool pleasure. He wouldn’t be giving a treat, there was no one who wanted it, and neither did he want to share his success. As he walked through the corridor the trickling water on his face had started to irritate him. He needed to wipe it off with a towel. Thinking about the water on his face, he wondered how same things seem to work so differently in different times. As he rummaged through the mess of his belongings on his table, taking care that the water doesn’t trickle down on his laptop, he finally found the towel over his old guitar. He had left playing it three years ago itself. He covered his face into the warmth of the towel, wondering why the useless piece of guitar was kept on the top of things. “Sameer, kya mein aapka guitar lu?” It was his wingie. He nodded and gave the guitar. The boy, shouted a ‘thanks’ as he ran with the guitar to his room. “Enthu freshie…” he said nonchalantly and then suddenly with a pride of an achiever, “Baccha bhi seekh jayega…” Somewhere nearby, the sounds of strumming started. At first he just heard. Then he started tapping his foot unknowingly. Then what might have been an impulse, suddenly overcame him and he rushed to the room where such beautiful sounds were originating from. Two beds were lined up in the small 6feet cross 8feet room and there were 14 people closely stuck and listening to the miraculous tunes of the instrument played by his wingie. He stood outside watching, his wingie was playing with his back to the door. Someone might’ve then seen him, as the strumming suddenly stopped. “Aapko disturb kiya kya Sameer?” He was so overcome by an incoming desire that he didn’t even hear that, he walked in took the guitar in his hands and turned to walk away. Everyone stood there scared, waiting silently. He didn’t know what he was doing. He just knew he had to do it. He turned to face the 15 odd people in the room, closed his eyes and started strumming. Hesitated notes came out at first, then suddenly he went into a trance and it was like the three year old magic had come back to him. He played a flawless Hotel California. Seconds passed slowly, minutes had almost stopped. This is where he wanted to be- In front of an audience lost listening to his performance. He loved the guitar. He never played it because there were people who were better than him and he wouldn’t be noticed easily by the company. As he was still playing, the four years once again zoomed past his closed eyes. He saw all that he had lost- his friends, his fun and his guitar. He was afraid to stop playing, didn’t want the joy to end. He was afraid to open his eyes, it might all be just a dream that would break. But then finally his song came to an end, he couldn’t remember any more. He opened his eyes. There was silence. Then he didn’t know who started it, but every one of them broke into a very loud applause. Then, for the first time in four years, he cried… A brilliant work by Shashwat Gandhi, he wrote it during the placement season two years ago.