Shashi was greatly relieved to find his name in the list on the notice board of his college. He had finally qualified for the engineering institute in the city in his third attempt.
“Are you sure?” Back home, his mother asked in disbelief with a lump in her throat.
“Yes Ma. I have re-checked my name at the exam center.”
Shashi’s father used to always double-check things. After his untimely demise, Shashi had adopted this habit.
“But, that center is the other side the mountain! You had just recovered from a leg sprain.” His mother said holding him.
“These mountains I can fathom even on one leg; you know it Ma.” He embraced his mother, who had already burst into tears of joy.
The news of Shashi’s success spread like a wildfire in the village. Hardly anybody knew that he was preparing. Secrecy had always acted as a booster to Shashi’s determination.
Closer to the date of his departure, Shashi’s mother gave him an iron trunk to pack his things. That was the only thing she had at home for such a purpose.
The trunk was large and heavy. It could accommodate almost everything Shashi wanted to pack. He could even place the big poster of Sylvester Stallone, which he had adored since boyhood.
At the central lobby of the engineering institute hostel, Shashi witnessed hundreds of students waiting for room allocation. All were with colorful luggage. Some luggage had wheels.
“These bags could move miles with tip of a finger! My trunk moves an inch even if I give best of my force.” He murmured.
“Hey Trunk boy, take your key.” The old caretaker shouted from a distance signaling him. All students looked at him and his trunk. Some with sympathy. Many with contempt.
He got the nickname ‘Trunk boy’ in no time.
Among the several things he witnessed in the city, the glittering gymnasium near to his hostel caught his infallible attention. The transparent glass wall displayed the modern machines and the fitness freaks moved with the machines in different rhythms.
The gym ignited Shashi’s childhood fantasy to get a perfect figure. But unfortunately, he could not afford the forbiddingly high fee.
That day, for the first time Shashi despised his poverty.
My friends and seniors are no wrong in calling me ‘Trunk boy’. Who on earth uses a trunk in twenty-first century!
A glance at the Sylvester Stallone poster on the wall reminded him of the actors’ old school training in one of the movies.
My trunk is not my problem, but my solution. He thought.
Shashi started practicing body building covertly inside his room daily using the trunk as the instrument. Being from the mountains he had a fit body. He only needed to shape his muscles and get those curves. He put different things inside the trunk to get variation of weights.
To everybody’s surprise, the Trunk boy emerged as the Mr. College of the year.
The trunk remained as Shashi’s pride companion forever.
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