The first thing I remember is that I am sitting in some classroom and struggling to learn something. Bhanukiran walks upto me and says, "Dude, it's quite late, it's night time. And you're sitting in the dark staring at something I can't clearly make out what! Is something troubling you?
I stared at that thing again and then replied, "Nothing".
The truth was that I was nervous. And something was troubling me. I was in a situation that I wanted to do something but didn't have the courage to withstand the wrong consequences.
Our college was one of the colleges selected for some martial arts fighting competition and it was to be a 'team fight'. As far as I can recall six members were there. One of them was Gaurav, not sure if Atul was also a part of the team. We had a teacher who was an expert and we had evening sessions for a couple of months.
Evening sessions were cool. I learned some nice stunts/tactics about self defence but the idea of taking a punch or kick in the face is what was making me nervous. Luckily during evening sessions, nothing of that sort happened!
After the two months of training, we were trained in weapon fight. We started with a Bo. It reminded me of Donaltello of TMNT cartoon series. I eagerly learned each and every move with that Bo, but getting a stick in my face added to the list of my fears! :(
Our first match was against some local college which we won convincingly. We traveled in a bus to that college and returned late at night. The task was simple, make all the opponents fall on the ground. I tried to use the Bo as Master Splinter of TMNT and it worked in a few cases because the other team was also smart. I was the first one to fall to the ground from my team but I made 2 people fall before falling. I was happy and thrilled never the less because it was my first experience in a combat and my face was not hurt!
There was a machine which had crawled the whole web, indexed every information available on the web and had made a graph of the hyperlinked structure of web. Our college had built that machine and had given it to students to test run it and tell the bugs and limitations. Me and my team were the only ones left to test it.
The machine had a large bluish screen with a complex graph structure on it. The machine could sense if a person nearby is there to use that machine or to do something else. As we went close to it, a digitalized female voice started speaking and giving instructions. It was simple to use and felt like a person was standing on the other side of the machine and teaching us how to use it. My friends gave a lot of queries and were impressed by it's accuracy in fetching just the relevant documents. It seemed like high level of AI and sensors were used. I gave the name of my old friend as a query since I wanted to find out where she was or what she was doing and I had googled her earlier but it couldn't find any result.
I was again disappointed when this machine displayed at the screen that no result could be found and apologized (which was amusing because the female voice also announced it as "No results found, sorry")
Next week we had a match against a local college in Madras (now called Chennai). Looking at our good performance in the last match, our teacher decided to teach us the use of Katana Blades (or sword). He gave each one of us a sword and asked us to become comfortable with it. I felt it heavier than the Bo and also didn't have much degree of freedom in holding the sword. I lifted it and brought it closer to my face, it's pointed blade pointing to the roof of our practice room ( a wooden room with thatched roof). I looked at the shine of the blade and saw my face in it. My fears were confirmed now... I now feared a long scar on my delicate face! :(
As I got into the bus for leaving to Madras, all I knew was that I was nervous and also had to be very careful... I recalled the conversation I had with Bhanukiran last night and now all I wanted was my face to be safe.