Dr Ashish Agarwal was all smiles that day. His daughter brought laurels to the family .Topped the exams and it was her convocation day. She was supposed to receive her degree, gold medal and the award of best thesis from the Governor of the state. The journalists were eager to interview her. The proud father was ecstatic to hear the countless applauds for Dr Sukanya Agarwal , Phd (gold medalist)- beauty with brain, like father like daughter, the legacy of excellence and so on.

But no successful venture is an undemanding path. The Agarwals put a lot of effort to grab it.

Dr Ashish Agarwal was the Head of the department in Mathematics in the most prestigious college of the state. His mentees achieved great heights and gold medal every year. Ironically, to his arithmophobic child, Maths was all about numbers scattered in books. Sukanya was least bothered for academics.

“Why should I pay heed to studies? My affectionate father can do anything for me.” She often tried to mask her incompetence with complacency and arrogance.

Making her love the subject was an absolute futile job. But, how could Dr Agarwal not make his own blood outshine others in the field. He didn’t want to break his darling daughter’s heart. “Even the thought of people taking jibes for Sukanya’s mediocre performance is choking me.  I used to scorn my fellow professors when their mentees underachieved. Why would they miss this chance ?”.

The more he brooded, the more evil his mind became. He found his prey in his submissive student Ritesh, a young brainy but impoverished scholar.

“I am very impressed and wish to write a research paper with you. You have the mettle to do justice with it. It will help you in getting a scholarship for your further research work. However, we should not disclose it to others till we publish it.” A selfish father overpowered a revered teacher.

Unaware of the sinful plan, the industrious and obedient Ritesh worked diligently. His humble and rural background always hindered his studies. The beacon of hope motivated him to finish the paper soon.

The rest is history. The faith in a teacher was slayed. Conscience died hundred deaths. Who cares when the corrupt and powerful are sitting on top. Incompetence vanquished intelligence.

Betrayed Ritesh was cowed by his acclaimed mentor. “Raising voice against me will do more harm than good. You better move to some other university to study further. I will not let you pass your exams if you choose to stay here.” The wicked man didn’t want to take any risk.

A naïve and meek pauper succumbed to a fat cat.

Dr Sukanya was rejoicing her success. “The credit goes to my father.” And she was not wrong.

Deceived Ritesh was shattered to his core and lost interest in research. Depressed, he returned to his village.

“My daughter has made me proud. I can retire with my head high.” A self-aggrandizer bigwig father trounced an esteemed academician.

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Ashu Singh
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