Relax Kid, Drinks Are On Me
A scared schoolboy’s run-up to his exhilarating exam
It was the last days of preparation before the commencement of Class X Board Exams. A year had gone by under a rather strict Hitleratarian regime right under the nose of Gandhi’s birthplace, Gujarat.
Ironical as it may be to its readers, sometimes facts are real than fiction:)
Parents can be strict and parenting tougher. A lot was to change; the most significant aim was to win this prestigious exam as was told to me the whole year. A life-changing, once in a lifetime opportunity where all my records meant nothing and one could make everything straight by making it right in this one particular test. Too much to digest, but still, I took up that pill with the gallop of determination. A façade built around its effects and impact on a child’s life; turned out my story around it meant to be different.
Parents didn’t allow TV the entire year; shunned outdoor activities, school, tuition, studies, and further late-night studies ensued chemistry, civics and maths would filter even the dreams I dreamt. At this point, there wasn’t much difference between a dream or a nightmare. The days were drudgery, and I turned myself into a walking zombie. Even though my existence seemed lifeless, Sleeping beauty in me didn’t meet with a true lover; instead, the universe gifted me with a kiss of death.
Two days before the board started, a Friday afternoon, I got my first Panic attack. My body started to shiver, trembling from side to side, and tears rolling down my cheeks. Unable to control my body, I opened my room door and barely walked to the hallway, reaching my mom; she rang my father immediately at the office. He rushed back home, and they called an ambulance to the town hospital. The doctors said the heart rate was unstable, the pulse is going down, and they must immediately take me to the city. We were rushed to the city hospital, an hour away from where we lived. The journey was very strenuous. I assume not just for me but also for my parents. The cat was out of the bag- it was a Nervous Breakdown.
The experience is close to me because everything changed after the incident. I never expected my run to the actual game would be me lying on a city hospital bed away from everyone, away from books, and just breathing, sitting back with not a textbook but a Mausambi juice in hand. I felt good; in my mind, I decided to take a break and reappear next year, give my best this whole year, and again apply myself fully. Here I have to introduce two guests who welcomed me this time, and without them, I would not have gone ahead that Monday. It was my History teacher, a very strict disciplinarian in the class, and her husband. Out of the blue, they came; they saw and took me under their wing. The next thing I know, I am in my teacher’s house enjoying mausambi juice made by her and chatting about uncle’s childhood village and listening to his life stories; surreal. She was the same teacher I used to dread in class and never really held a conversation beyond the mandatory yes Ma’am of roll calls. Here she was, a most gentle person, and we were having a good time together. I remember she took us, my mother, and herself to a small shrine on the outskirts of our town; it was a Dargah she often visited whenever she seeks solitude. A Hindu Ma’am taking out Muslim family to a dargah, such secularism, keeps hopes of oneness in society alive.
Anyway, they convinced me to give the exam with whatever I prepared the entire year, and my only condition was I wouldn’t touch books the whole month. They agreed, and we were game. Come in the next fifteen days of the exam. It was a beautiful experience; what I achieved was a sense of strength and belief,
A belief not just in me but also trust in something greater than me.
The achievement was not something that could be showed and celebrated, but it was internal, maybe more important than a medal or a trophy in a competition. The calm which I carried within those times was just peaceful. A more profound shift took place where I sensed a complete surrender and a greater sense of achievement.
It didn’t matter what result would be, but I just believed in giving my best and knowing everything will be alright, and things will turn out to be good. HOW good, and WHAT is that good? I didn’t care. I used to write my paper and stop thinking of it as soon as I walked out of the hall. No discussion and no post mortem, on to the next; that was the plan. And boy, it worked well, passed with 78 percentage, not bad for whatever it was worth it.
What was the achievement, you ask? An understanding. It doesn’t matter what lies outside of us; a certain sense of inner belief and having trust in a power guarding us all makes things pretty simple.
Is Class X Board life-altering? not sure, but it certainly changed my perspective on life. Of course, it did.
Pretty much any challenge life throws at us is just the same, over-hyped, and its solution — take a breathe and simplify. (Mausambi juice helps too)
See you again,
Fellow Writer and Reader. Please keep reading and follow us :)
~ Shubh & Faisal
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