Friday, April 27, 2012

Untitled Because I Can't Find the Right Words

I'd set the alarm for 8 in the morning, thinking that I'd at least be up early on Doomsday: 26th of April 2012.

Of course, I switched it off and snored away until ten. Though how I managed to sleep is something that still amazes me - after all, at precisely 11.30 am, my destiny would finally present itself. The SSLC results. The cause of sleepless nights, the subject of my nightmares. While all seniors and adults may mock or scorn my words ("You have much more to face, my dear"), let me remind them that this was my first experience with a major exam and I was perfectly entitled to freak out.

That day, the sky seemed to be sympathizing with my mood, perhaps the mood of every 10th standard student. It was overcast, a sombre grey, as if mourning the hopes that were to be shattered soon. The light drizzle further dampened my spirits. I quietly went through my morning routine and picked up the newspaper, staring vacantly at the article on the announcement of SSLC results. It sprouted all the usual rubbish: completion of the evaluation in record time, expected pass percentages...

My mom's order to sweep the house finally broke through my inertia. After a little bit of complaining, throwing dirty looks and futile mutinying, I set upon the tedious chore, dragging out a job of fifteen minutes into an hour. My eyes kept flitting nervously to the clock all the while. Eleven o'clock.

Propping open dad's laptop, I drummed my fingers nervously on its edge as the screen flickered to life, humming the signature tune of Windows. Even the normally quick-to-respond PC seemed a bit sluggish. I opened up four different sites; three of them were as blank as my face when asked a sports-related question. I turned to the fourth webpage, the one by the IT@School venture, which brought on a small grin on my face with its cheery colours of blue and green. The Submit button below the text box for entering the Register Number was disabled.

The next half-hour progressed slowly, painfully.

11.30 am. My heart seemed to be doing a marathon. Calm down, I told myself, trying not to think about the only A (for Maths, duh!) among the crowd of A-pluses. Nothing's going to happen if you lose an A+, I soothed my panicking mind, It's not the end of the world.

That dormant being in my brain suddenly woke up and snorted. Who are you trying to convince?

Before I could even shut that annoying voice out, the 'submit' button was enabled. I furiously punched in 193213, with my family peering anxiously over my shoulder. Anticlimactically, the screen showed the familiar Error 404 - File not found. Biting back a scream of frustration, I tried once more. Same result. On the fourth frantic attempt, however, there was no sign of the 404. The page was taking its time to load. This is it, I muttered, clenching my fists. The I-can't-breathe sensation in my chest intensified...

... And the results flickered onscreen. My eyes immediately sought the Mathematics column. A little, black A+ stood against the stark white background.

What came out of my mouth was a semi-hysterical squeal, loud and shrill enough to rival an ambulance siren.

The following hour was a blur of congratulatory phone calls, SMS-s and Facebook posts. My joy knew no bounds as I learned that my three best friends scored A-pluses in all subjects as well. I mentally yelled, "In your face, suckers!" to all the so-called 'cool' gangs in my school who looked down on us as a quartet of book-loving mutants.

A little while later, when the exhilaration began to subside like a receding tide, I withdrew into the little room upstairs. The feeling of isolation it exuded had made it my favourite spot to brood. Now I found myself looking back upon the past eight years - the time I spent at Presentation - marvelling how, in retrospect, eight years felt like eight minutes.

For a moment, I wished for my world to continue like this, a celebration, forever. For things to stay as they were, not blotted by regrets of the past or worries about the future.

But then, with a smile, I remembered Percy Jackson's words to Annabeth Chase in The Last Olympian, though they were spoken in quite different circumstances: I didn't want things to stay the same for eternity, because things could always get better. 

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P.S. In other unrelated news, the blog has crossed the 1,000 page-view milestone! A thousand thank-yous to every single reader who has contributed to the success. Keep reading and commenting!

2 comments:

  1. Well done. I took maths again about 10 years ago, because I thought I had only done so badly at school because I wasn't trying hard enough. Still only got a D.

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    1. Thanks! And I can empathize with your state, though my grade has not gone below a B... yet. :D

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