Fiction

Exam Fever


Read the previous part here

The first quarterly exams were approaching and I was forced to stay up till late on many nights. I had to study all the lessons on my own. When Papa initially warned me that the teachers here could be a little less attentive, I had not expected such an indifference.

I don’t know if it is the teachers’s fault or the students’s. It seemed like a vicious circle- the teachers do not pay attention since the students never show any interest which cause the students to ignore the studies even more , which make the teachers more indifferent – ah such a complex explanation.

In Carmel, kids used to be so competitive. There were monthly tests, bi weekly assessments, improvement tests, assignments, project works and what not. And as an icing on the cake, there were guys like Amit who would count and recount the marks on your answer sheet to make sure you did not get anything extra by mistake,  even before you yourself got a chance to go through it. Then there were guys like Vicky who would steal your notebooks before the exams so that you couldn’t score higher than him. I have seen enough of back bites and unwanted rivalry to last all my life and may be that is why I felt unusually happy when I watched my new classmates welcome exams with such a casual indifference.

“Do you guys want to do some combined studies?”, I asked my friends one afternoon. Ravi looked up as if he had not heard anything as worthless all his life. Jamshed just laughed.

“Well……”, Sreedhar gave the idea some thought, but finally said,”….why waste time!”. Girish didn’t even react. I never brought up the topic anymore, though I felt worried to see how much they ignored their studies!

Sreedhar was little different from the rest of the three.His father was adamant about his studies. Unfortunately Sreedhar failed year after year. In fact, he was the oldest guy  in our class, at least  three years senior to me. Unlike Papa, Sreedhar’s father used to beat him like crazy, he had scars all over his body to prove this. But it seemed like he had grown  immune to all the physical and emotional abuse and cared nothing about pretty much anything.

The other three were kinda free to do what ever they wanted. Ravi’s father was working in Bombay and his mother, who had  never completed her primary education ,was easy to trick. Since he took care of all the household matters with the money his father sent, he usually saved a generous amount of pocket money. Jamshed lived in a joint family. His father and three of his uncles jointly ran two timbermills in the village. The four families, including his 17 cousins -the oldest 26 and the youngest merely one, lived in the same compound. Jamshed could get away with almost anything.

Girish, on the other hand,came from a poor family, his father a carpenter. Whenever some of his workers took off , Girish’s father used to take him along instead. Girish’s plan was to go work for his father after the school and thus he never gave a damn about studies.

My case was different. I knew Papa would closely monitor all my scores, so I couldn’t take the exams lightly. I couldn’t disappoint papa, not now when he was ill. Nor did I want to be the top scorer. May be if I skip a few questions and score something decent, I would be able to maintain the balance between my new and old lives.

Read the next part here

I am participating in the  A to Z challenge this April. This is my post in the series – for the letter E

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