“Very original, this is ..” Prof. Agarwal looked at Siddharth with wonder, who stood there perplexed with no clue about why he was called to meet the Professor . .
“Sir?!” Siddharth was confused and surprised at the same time. He could clearly smell the sarcasm in his Professor’s statement.
Siddharth was a second year student of the Undergraduate course in Architecture. His long uncombed hair & 4-day stubble, mated with his affluent dressing.
“Well, I have not seen this kind of building in my life across any media, the name too sounds unfamiliar. From where did you copy it?!” Prof. Agarwal’s eyes were transfixed on Siddharth’s.
“Copied?!” Siddharth’s questioned Prof. Agarwal’s confidence as if he was hearing the word for the first time in his life.
“Yes. Unless you yourself have designed it?!”; replied Prof. Agarwal, with a gentle smile.
“Sir, I copied it from a book in the library.” Siddharth replied after a small pause, suddenly deciding to divulge for safety; and he knew there was no point in referring to any website, Wikipedia or Google here. By now, Ankit’s episode had reached all corners of the college, including peons and even canteen staff.
“Which book?” Professor asked as he pulled his glasses off and placed them carefully on the table.
“Ssir.rr..”, Siddharth faltered as he couldn’t recall any name here; in his three years of association with this college, he could only tell where the library was located. For him, the library was only a meeting place for giggling couples who chose to be there when not in the gardens or the campus fringe.
“Bannister Fletcher? That thick book?” Prof.’s clue partnered the gesture for the thickness of the book with his thumb and the index finger; with his eyes firmly stuck on the boy’s . .
“Yess..Yes Sir..” Siddharth felt some relief.
At this, the Prof. took a deep breath, placed his elbow on the armrest of the plastic moulded chair, supporting his chin with his hand, but eyes still stuck on Siddharth. He stared at the boy without blinking.
“Sir, actually I copied it from a friend’s sheet.” Siddharth gave up.
“Hmm. good. Which friend?” Prof. continued his enquiry further.
Siddharth tried his best to evade this question. Friendship is above everything else. And, it is an unwritten rule in Institutes that even if you are caught, never ever betray. There was silence, . . which was disturbing Siddharth. He chose to look down at the floor, but from the corner of his eyes, he could see Prof. Agarwal still staring at him.
Siddharth’s defences weakened, like the beginning of a cascade . . .
“Srishti..Srishti Pradhan, Sir.” Siddharth broke the silence with a lot of difficulty. “I copied it from her sheet.” He ended.
“I see. It was anyway supposed to be copied. No?! From somewhere or the other . . ”, Prof. Agarwal confused Siddharth further. And, he was right. There are some subjects in Architectural education where you are not expected to exhibit your creativity, . . it was an unwritten rule, born as an organic norm. History, being one of them . .
“Sir?!” Siddharth’s confusion still couldn’t muddle the clear reason why was he called . .
“Did you draw it yourself?’, this was another googly by Prof. Agarwal. His expressions were killing and Siddharth had to save himself. There was something peculiar about Prof. Agarwal, that students could not lie much in front of him. At his heart, Professor was very kind, students knew . .
“Sir, it is a GT (Glass Tracing).” Siddharth confessed.
“Yes, I can see that. Where is the original sheet, from where it is copied? Take it out.” Prof. Agarwal asked Siddharth pointing at a bunch of sheets lying on the table.
“Yes Sir.” Siddharth went near the bunch and tried looking for the original sheet. He pulled out one sheet and kept it in front of Prof. Agarwal.
Prof. Agarwal looked at the original sheet just for the second and then turned towards Siddharth.
“I see. You have even traced the text and the composition! Wonderful, but there is one difference. Look at this sheet carefully, Siddharth.” Prof. Agarwal pointed at the original sheet and smiled.
Siddharth stared at the sheets and then looked at Prof. Agarwal.
“Can you spot the difference?” Asked Prof. Agarwal.
“Yess. Sir..The building is slightly tilted here..” Siddharth replied pointing at the original Sheet.
“Yes dear, and that is why it is called The Leaning Tower of Pisa.” Prof Agarwal explained with a lot of emphasis on the word ‘leaning’ gesturing some sort of a tilt . .
“Sirrr..I thought she made a mistake while drawing, so I straightened the building a bit..” Siddharth stammered a bit and explained.
“Come on Sid, you idiot, couldn’t you simply copy as true as a copy could be? What was the need of trying to be smart here?” Siddharth was now almost muttering to himself. The reason why he was called there was at last clear . .
“A bit? You know you have done something in minutes which experts are trying to correct since many years; Siddharth? Excellent..” Prof Agarwal’s sarcasm was at its best.
“S..ssorry Sir..” Siddharth said with his head hanging down and his wrists behind his butt.
“Thanks. Take this with you.” Prof. Agarwal put his glasses on, concluded his enquiry by handing over Siddharth’s sheet to him and continued with assessing remaining sheets.
Siddharth sheepishly walked towards the exit and as soon as he stepped out of the room he ran towards his studio on the first floor, where some of his friends were curiously waiting for him.
Siddharth narrated the entire story to his group of friends, which resulted in loud bursts of laughter that echoed in the otherwise serious air of the studio.
“But, I do not understand one thing…” Siddharth tried to hold his breath.
“What?” One of his friends asked.
“Don’t you think, there is something wrong with the syllabus?” Siddharth asked something which amused his friends.
”What do you mean?” Now his friends were curious to know more.
“I think even last year we had studied this?..This..Pisa thing .. no?” Siddharth pointed out.
His friends looked at each other and again laughed out loud, holding their stomachs.
“Sid, you are impossible, man.” One of the friends said trying to hold his breath.
“It is not the syllabus, it is you, who is repeating the second year..dude” . . the laughs gave way to giggles all round . .
“Oh yes, stupid me.” Siddharth said to himself and plonked himself awkwardly on the drawing board.