When the whole auditorium was filled with applause after hearing the speech of Srini, there was one person among the crowd who cheered with hope in his eyes. It was Ashok.
Ashok is from the south of India, a lean tall boy, an introvert, who always tries to hide in the crowd.
On his walk towards the hostel from the auditorium, he looks around and finds there was a change in the air, in people too, also within himself. There was something awaken in him. He couldn't tell what it is, but he could feel it.
He thinks of how a speech can turn over everything upside down, from the speech of great leaders and change-makers. One thing about the speech of Srini which stuck in his mind was, about the innovators.
As the wind from the trees touches his face, cheers from students touch his ears and music playing far away touches his heart, altogether it takes him to his childhood memories.
LIFE OF A MIND MAKER
Ashok as a child was treated differently in school as well as in-home. In a competition when all the students built a volcano with soap powder and vinegar, he would build a transmitter with the broken radio and an unused antenna to send radio waves to space to communicate with the extraterrestrial life.
He would ask questions frequently to his teachers who would scratch their heads often for the answers. His parents would get second-hand books to keep him shut. Parents banned their children from be-friend with him. He doesn't have a true friend.
His favourite place used to be the library which was not a normal under middle-class family, a daily wage father and maid mother, which they find it weird of him not playing with other children and often would build up things which were beyond their imagination.
His parents don't know how to react to this. Proud of to be afraid?. But old people would say he is cursed.
His parents would sometimes take him to a priest for his unusual behaviour. He faces this throughout his life until he gets a scholarship and joins in vnit, where new place, new people, a chance to identify himself.
Ashok walks to his hostel, finding the broken gate which is stuck to the ground, finding thorn bushes around the hostel. Gets in the building, closes his nose from the smell from the common bathroom.
Walks to his room sit in his bed and look at the door, his memory plays a scene from where Srini walks in, when goons of Rahul were stopping the first-year students to vote. When Srini asks what was happening and why are they sitting like this, Ashok was the one who answered that "it was nothing" when the two goons stepped inside the room.
Now he felt shame for his cowardness. If he stood up then against the goons, others might also have joined him, like the present fourth year did when once they were first-year who did join together against ragging, as the result of his braveness the fourth year would have won and they would have made the hostel clean as they told in their propaganda. But now everything remains the same.
Ashok thinks of the speech that has changed him. The speech was innovative in itself, whose outcome satisfies both groups (which is rare) by winning the culture feast for the people of the fourth year and praising people of the third year as innovators.
The speech changed many things in college but not everything. Ashok thinks about the hostel remaining the same, irrespective of both parties winning their titles. Now he decides to do something about what they both have missed.
CLEANSING THE MIND
On the final day of college, Srini was talking with everyone, with hugs, with a farewell punch. Ashok walks towards him and wishes him a good future. As he walks away from Srini, Ashok stops and walks back towards him and asks him if he could spare some time for a little talk. Srini nods with a smile and both walks away from a crowd and sit at the bench at the bottom of a tree.
Ashok clears his throat and tells Srini how his speech at the fest has changed many things in the college but not the hostel. Srini looks at him and smiles and asks Ashok what is it that he wants.
Ashok tells him, he has a blueprint of a machine that could clean the floor, toilets, bushes, also has a robotic hand which also could weld the metals and repairs the gate. Srini asks him how did he get into this college. Ashok tells him he had made a kind of similar machine in his village people which got him an award as well as a scholarship. Srini asks him why is he telling all this to him?
Ashok tells him that he has fear of people and also Srini could talk with people, connect with them more like in the auditorium speech and can make them accept the project among students as well as the faculty. Also can bring some hands of volunteers too.
Srini gets up. Whistles at everyone around, call them to him. He tells them he has an important announcement to make. He looks at Ashok and tells him, you have to face your fear before making a revolution. Srini tells everyone that they all need to hear what Ashok wants to tell. He then sits and picks up Ashok.
Ashok first hesitates. Srini tells him that "everyone doesn't know everything" and to look at them as the people of his village.
Ashok looks at all the people around him, the first to the last year. Ashok wipes his sweat and looks at Srini.
Srini waves him up. Ashok starts to speak.
I always believe in change. So if we need a change around us, we first have to change ourselves. Look at all around you. If you need something to change, dont wait for the others to change, you change it. In my village, diseases start to spread among children when the waste from the factory starts to mix with the water. We went everywhere from collector to the savers of the environment. But they could only just watch.when my sister died of the disease,I needed a change for the other children.
When my parents were under protest against the company. I collected money from my villagers and built a machine that could separate the chemicals from the water. I saw the change in every children's smile that day.
The first year hostel, where I sleep with bugs, drink and bathe in contaminated water, walks in thorns. I now again needed a change. Mahatma Gandhi says "sanitation is more important than independence".
With me, I have a blueprint of a machine which could clean all the toilets and floors. As a son of a cleaner, I know how it is. I spoke to the college administration about it. But they don't see to consider it. Now it is our time. I ask everyone to volunteer to be a part of this change.
Budha got his enlightenment under a tree, I got it when I burnt my sister's body under a tree.
Now we all stand under this tree. Change is the only thing that doesn't change.
Everyone claps at him, he looks at Srini. Srini nods at him and gives him a proud look.
BEGINNING OF A CHANGE
Ashok walks out of the administration office with his files. Look at the faces of the people waiting outside the office. He nods in failure. As they follow him with a sad face. He stops them and walks past them towards the administration building again. Walks towards the entrance stop at looks at it. Sits in the ground and starts to shout "we want. . We want. . Changes to happen"
Later with a student of 100 people joining him shouts along with Ashok "we want. . We want. . Changes to happen"