On May 17th 2009, a long gap of over 5 years since the incident, Ambuj Kumar confessed to having slapped Nimesh Priyodit in the dark RajMahal theatre of Jaipur. This information was shared with his remaining eleven batchmates and it was a euphoric day for all of us.
Aside from immediate curiosity about the slap protagonists, you may also be wondering why such a nonsensical confession is precious to us. Here's the full story. Trust me, it is absolutely superficial and quite bizarre.
The slap took place during our IIT Kharagpur Architecture Dept's annual tour in December of 2003. The tour involved close to 40 students, two randomly selected overzealous professors with a broad objective of introducing us to the best of architecture across India. Overall it was a wonderful 12 day experience except for the architecture elements. As evidence for their interest and observations, the students had to carry sketchbooks.
The quality and quantity of entries in the sketchbooks would rapidly plummet as we went from 2nd Year to 4th Year of the course. A few devious ones would take the farce one step further. Having carried an empty sketchbook through the tour, Swapnil would authenticate his virgin sketchbook with some ill-copied sketches, some imposed creases and tears, a few original entries and some creative streaks of dirt and scum for finishing touches. The final output was a masterpiece.
As you can imagine, the notebook was at best an outlet for misguided creativity and at worst a deplorable symbol of conformity and loyalty to an ill-designed architectural course. It signified everything boring and imposed about the tour. So at Jaipur when Nimesh took charge of managing all 36 notebooks, we were in no doubt that it was a stupid thing to do. A slap was inevitable.
Day2 at Jaipur ended with a movie at the RajMahal theatre - meant to be a rejunvenating experience from an exhausting tour of the city's wonders. The theatre had some ostentatious, gliterring interiors meant to seduce Indians into a mock elite experience. But apart from that, it was a normal theatre designed to impose darkness during the movie - the least ideal environment to distribute 36 repulsive, identical sketchbooks amongst 36 students who didn't want them. But Nimesh thought otherwise.
Hence during the movie sketchbooks began to flow from one end of the seating rows, with intermittent excessive instructions from Nimesh. His blocking the view of the movie screen didn't help either. Some tried to stall the flow of the sketch with some muted expressions of noncooperation. But that only increased the quantity of orders from the top. All the notebook passing, frowning, twittering, squinting drove people mad in the theatre. And suddenly Nimesh received a slap in the dark.
The beauty of the act was that any one of the 35 students could have done it. We all had enough pain within us slap him that night. Hey, make that 37 - even the professors could have planted that mighty whack! The mystery haunted us all these years - who could have done it? The villain (hero) never owned up to his act till last week. But now we know it was Ambuj.