Hundreds of things get bouncing around in my head, and on surface I look most calm and laid back person on the earth. But inner turmoil sometimes gets so worse that I’ve to shut off my self from the real world.
This year one of my nephew and niece has stepped in Grade 4, as they call it these days instead of class 4. A faintest mention of class 4 sends me back in time when I was there, and still I dread the day when results of class 4 was declared. And to date I dread 30th April (yes in those days results were declared on 30th April, not on 31st March like now), my heartbeat goes uneven and mind goes blank, I like it when my result was handed over to me in a yellow envelope.
I was like lost-in-my-world kind of guy who never cared about anything much, but always remained in his own obsessive over-analysis of anything and everything. I used to look for patterns in everything, and after 3 years in big school gave me brilliant insight that, no matter what one does all year, on 30th April one will always get a result from school saying “Passed and promoted to next class”; it kind of become so monotonous and boring that I assumed result cannot be anything else.
And come result of my 4th class, and my imagined/boring world came down crushing, it said “Supplementary compartment in Science and Social Studies”.
Some laughed and some ridiculed, how one can get compartment in 4th class; but no one knew how scared and shaken I was then. World almost ended that day.
And then came the worst part, after results, school reopened for 15 days before summer vacations, and I was supposed to sit in class 4th only along with new promoted boys from class 3. Those were the most humiliating days of school life, other guys who failed or had compartment like me huddled together in the last rows of the class, and for other students and teachers there was no difference between failed and compartment cases. For them we were the duffers, the failures. And among those guys none of them were my friends. So I was left in a vast sea all alone, I never felt like going to school but never had courage to say that to even myself, after all I had committed the biggest crime in the world.
During recess my friends who were in 5th class used to visit me, and give me those bechara /sympathetic looks.
After those 15 days, started summer vacations of 2 months, as a ritual we visited our mom’s side of joint family, and that meant another round of humiliation and ridicule.
Anyway, after returning from there started my daily grilling, I was forced to study, study and study again and again. Even if I said that I know the stuff, no one trusted me and was forced to study again. Being youngest also made matters worst, everyone had their own way of teaching me and punishing me for not studying.
Finally the day came, sometime in June when I appeared for my compartment exam; I had to give both Science and Social Studies exam in the same day. We were made to sit in a makeshift examination-like arrangement in a section of school library. And finally came the result, and by God’s grace I passed both exams with “good” marks
And normalcy returned in my world, I was delighted to join my friends in the class 5 but was permanently tagged as one of the weak students which took many more years to shed off.
** And now I think, I’m still the same over-grown guy, who still doesn’t care much about anything, who still lives in his own world, who still indulges in his favorite pastime of over-analyzing almost everything, who doesn’t learn from past mistakes, who is still seeking something which even he doesn’t know, who still feel like a jigsaw puzzle whose some pieces are still missing and doesn’t have a clue about how big picture will look like even if he finds those missing pieces.
** Sometimes I think, what if this is, this life is an over-stretched dream sequence, a dream over which we have no control whatsoever, which can be interrupted any moment and we can’t stop it from being busted no matter how dearly we cling to it.