American Prisons – my chance for one

I had a chance to be imprisoned once in my life. It was in Carbondale, end of my first semester at SIU.

Vivek and Deva were my roommates. I shared the room with Vivek. Both were from IIT Kanpur. 1981 batch?

The apartment was far from the campus, where classes were held. When I moved in ,was told by them that they had a car and they will drop me and bring me back from school. Seemed good to me. We were supposed to share gas and repair expenses. Seemed fair.

After a week or so, they started their excuses. Since their class started at 8 AM and mine at 9 AM, they drove to the classes leaving me in the apartment. I had to walk for about an hour for the class.

It was good for health and I got used to it. Most of the time I would be the only person walking on the street.

To account for our gas expenses, Deva used to write in in the notebook in the living room. At first it was once in 3-4 days, $5 for gas. After 3-4 weeks it became $5 almost everyday. It seemed unfair that I was rarely using the car but had to pay my share of the gas expenses.

Met Praveen Mathur, IIT Roorkee guy. He adviced me to move with him the following semester.

I did that.

That enraged Deva and Vivek because they had signed the contract for full academic year, so they had to pay the landlord more.

Deva stole my books and told me that the books well be returned after I paid the entire rent, my share of the future.

I still had the keys to the apartment. One day, while expecting them to be in class, I entered the apartment in their absence, searched for and found my books, and left.

That evening there was the police at my door. They told me I entered the previous place illegally and stole 10,000 yens bill that belonged to Deva. I will have to return the money otherwise I have to go to court. I said I haven’t taken the money. The cop said the judge will be back on Monday, and therefore they had to keep me in the prison for the weekend. I thought for a short while, had a $100 bill with me, asked him, will that do, gave him, the cop thanked me, and left.

Deva was notorious for making police complaints against fellow students. Vivek didn’t make police complaints, but tried hard to trick me into eating meat. On days he cooked I would ask him what did he cook. “Beans.” I would check the garbage box and would find a can with marking “Beans and Pork.” I won’t eat but he would get angry at me for being so suspicous.

Once in Mall, he ordered Vegetable soup for us. I asked the server, what was in the gravy, she answered “beef fat” and I didn’t eat. Vivek again got angry at me. His sole goal in life seemed to trick me into eating beef.

In short, they were typical IITians.

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