Anuranjan Roy

Unity in Diversity

They say we all think alike and REC Kurukshetra afforded innumerable opportunities to study this phenomenon. But none so striking as the one I am about to relate to you. India may be a nation of X languages, Y ethnicities and so on but we do share a lot of common ground, and in our college's case it was the common room, home to the king of all time killers, the never silent TV. Cricket on TV brought together the country (if our batch is taken as just one small sample) like no other, and running a close second would be testoterone fuelled action movies. Crib and complain about how brainless these movies are for all you are worth, but if there was something that brought a hush in the boys' hostel common room packed to the rafters, it had to be Arnie's robotic acting or Neo a.k.a. Keanu Reeves bullet-defying moves.

The scene is set at around 10 in the evening (by hostel standards) in the common room. On air was the mother, father and grandfather of all action movies, Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Referred to as T2 in hushed whispers by 'real' action movie devotees). It is also among the most pivotal scenes of the movie when the liquid evil Terminator enters jail to kill Sarah Connor (Sorry for the details but really necessary) and after killing/impersonating his way through, he is near to completing his mission. At this point of time in the real world, enter Saurabh Shukla, legendary in the hostel for his ability to forget things. I am the only guy standing and watching the movie from behind the last row of chairs. Saurabh's eyes are fixed on the screen, which now shows the evil guy liquefy and pass through the jail bars only to have his gun get stuck in the bar. And THEN in the most curious of voices he asks me, "Yaar Roy!! Yeh kaunsee movie hai? (Roy, Which movie is this?)"

The reaction to this was startling in its co-ordination and brutal in its delivery. Each and every face that was present in the packed common room that night turned—and turned in spectacular symmetry towards the person who had committed this blasphemy. The collective gaze nearly knocked me off my feet even though it wasn't even aimed at me. Some faces showed pity, some shock, some a bemused disapproval of his ignorance and some of total disgust at this brief transgression. The faces included those of the mess workers, boys from the South, West, North, North-east, but what really got me was the uniformly quick reaction. And just as soon as it had begun, the collective look dissipated into nothing as everyone returned to watching the movie, leaving Shukla to his cruel fate which seemed so certain to get him given the scale of his crime. I saw all of India think as one that night, be it over a movie starring the governor of California! Maybe we really aren't so different after all...

—Anuranjan Roy

Originally published in Virtual In'k'sanity (

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