Kota Diaries

Amardeep Keshari

the story of an Indian dropout from Harvard through Satires. Suicides and Schizophrenia.


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About the Book

‘Schizophrenia is a break up from reality.’ This is the only thing on Schizophrenia, trying to major in Neuroscience & Behavior from Harvard, was able to teach me in 3 years of college. Well, I’ve had break ups with girls but I could never relate the pain I felt for losing one girl to what a Schizophrenic would really feel - the pain of losing everyone who made his world. Perhaps, a family which has lost its only child in a crowd at a carnival could only empathy a Schizophrenic to an extent. But that is only if the family can put themselves in the shoes of the lost child and see how much he is hurt when anyone who finds him tries to convince him that the family has lost him while the lost child is so bravely fighting against his inner himself who so sincerely believes that he lost his family, instead. It’s crucial to appreciate that not every child is John Nash enough to shut down his inner voices so successfully that he becomes normal enough to win a Nobel Prize. Most of the children fail to convince himself that he’s the one who is lost and not his family even after a lifetime of fighting worth a Nobel Prize. No matter how inclined I, as a to be Neuroscientist, then, was to feel exactly what a Schizophrenic feels, the sympathetic desire to understand Schizophrenia required me to be a Schizophrenic myself, which was too scary a result I’d rather avoid, even it came at a cost of not being able to understand how a Schizophrenic feels at all. Nobody came to my rescue for long. Then came my personal hero, Steve Jobs. I went to India, not hoping something that could change my life like it did for my hero, but hoping that it would at least solve the mystery for me, 'how to understand what Schizophrenia makes you feel.' While I was in India, I didn’t choose to trust my mind to go to a mental asylum which would have Schizophrenics to talk to or never talked to a psychiatrists employed to make the lives of them any easier. I chose not to listen to my mind because I could have done that in USA, too and that ,too without having to drop out. ‘Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want.’ This single quote of Steve Jobs became my guiding principle for all the decisions I made during my time in India, from choosing to go to Kota to living a life in disguise. Over a year in India, I met exactly the right people. I met Ranjit. Ranjit happens to be an IIT Delhi graduate who works as a driver for Ola Cab he drives from Delhi to Kota Junction - the train station in Kota. He has worked in almost all major cities in the world for Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Google, Freelancer and what not ! There is a sad reason behind him falling back into India - his son whom he’d left in Kota since he was as young as one is in grade 6th, to make him an IIT material like Rudra himself. With tools you’ll discover in Kota Diaries , Kota made Ranjit’s son, Rudra a schizophrenic, instead. Ranjit lost everything he had to hire the doctors needed to help his son unlearn the false reality he’d learnt from the coaching institutes in Kota. In the end, Ranjit lost his son, too; Rudra jumped off before a train that crossed Kota Junction. Ever since then, Rudra makes the journey of over 500 kilometers from Delhi to Kota to save a student from throwing himself before a train at Kota Junction everyday. People might call him a savior if only they do not see that it’s the same boy he saves everyday - his son, Rudra ! I met Bharati. Bharati is a loving younger sister of her Kriti di, who threw herself off her hostel room’s balcony in Kota. The owners of the hostel Kriti di lived in, the local police who investigated the case, the coaching institute she took classes in and even Bharati’s parents have tried hard to convince Bharati that Kriti commited a suicide. But Bharati finds it hard to believe that Kriti, one of the brightest minds of her age who made it to the top 50 ranks on JEE Mains, which is a qualifier test for JEE Advanced, an entrance exam for Engineering colleges in India, could have found any reason to commit a suicide right before JEE Advanced. Articles that came over news following the suicides of many top rank holders of JEE Mains like Kriti were immediately removed off the web. They could however convince Bharati that Kriti’s suicide might have been a murder, instead. Revenging Stallion Career Institute in Kota - the newer coaching institute that rose just after the massacre, with the top rank holders Stallion gave on the JEE Advanced Paper who were all beaten on the JEE Mains paper by those who were sacrificed between JEE Mains and JEE Advanced, has become Bharati’s aim in life. I met Bindia. Bindia has lost her boyfriend Aayush to the fierce competition that exists in Kota - the same competition that brainwashes every student who goes to Kota to see in every other fellow student in Kota, not a friend but a foe and rival who is better dead than alive to make the already tough entrance exam any tougher ! One of those who were brainwashed a little too much by the coaching institutes for over four years is Abhishek who threw Aayush off their common balcony right after he’d aced NEET. Through sources you’ll discover about in Kota Diaries, Binidia is convinced it was not Abhishek who took her boyfriend’s life but the voices in his head of the one who made him do it, Rudra. Bharati is resolved to shut Rudra’s voices once and for all ! I met Rudra. Rudra is the elder of the two brothers who shared the same room in a hostel in Kota. Abhishek is the younger; He died in an accident four years ago. For reasons you’ll discover in Kota Diaries, Rudra blames himself for Abhishek’s death. The blame game gets so extreme that Rudra ends up imagining that he is Abhishek and that his Rudra bhaiya died. His Rudra bhaiya or the delusions of whom that occur to him due to his schizophrenia makes him hurt his fellow classmates and kill one of them every year ever since Abhishek died. ‘Kota Diaries’ is the book I created out of all the stories of the people I had a chance to brielly touch upon and interact with during my time in Kota. Even If your preparedness to sympathize a Schizophrenic is close to zero on a scale from 0 to 100, Kota Diaries to you is fun read. If its anywhere between zero and hundred, you’ll be able to see what’s wrong with India, or more precisely Kota, which does the dirty work of manufacturing Zombies out of Indians. If you’re prepared enough to take Kota Diaries from your bed or recliner to your study table, only then you’ll be able to see it’s a lot more than a book. You’ll see Kota Diaries as a wild card entry to peek into a Schizophrenic’s mind, without having to suffer from it. I promise Kota Diaries will be the best investment of your time. You can trust me because I know, if I make a promise I must also know I must keep them. - Munna, the Harvard Dropout.

About the Author

I'm an introvert; I don't talk, I write.

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