Those who know me, knows I’m jinxed! Like I have said before, exams and I- aren’t the best of buddies… it is not my frenemy… not even enemy… exam is my nemesis! We are fated to battle a raging war every time we come face to face! Ok, ok, I might be getting a bit over dramatic, but you get the point!
I was in first year graduation. Being a free spirit, I didn’t even attempt to stay in the college hostel. I probably would have got kicked out either for insulting a nun with my non-conformist views or for bitch-slapping some silly girl. My parents knew me well, so they rented an apartment for me. All I had there was a gas connection, a mattress on the floor, a suitcase full of clothes and two suitcases full of books. This was my haven. I was in a girl’s college like I have said before in another story. Miraculously, I did make a close friend. It’s a mystery how we became friends and have managed to remain so for over a decade now! She is the girliest of girls I have ever met. This friend of mine, Abhishikta is a tiny little thing- petite, pretty and very feminine. I kind of rescued her from her P.G. like a knight in shining armor within a month into our new session, and she started sharing my apartment.
Fast forward to couple of month later- our first semester exams. Now those familiar with Mumbai University schedules would know that the first sem exams are held during Navaratri for some weird reason. Abhi (Abhishikta- I nick-named her so) and I, both being Bengalis live for Durga Pujo. But since we were in Mumbai, we decided to celebrate in Mumbaikar style. So instead of driving to a Durga Puja Pandal miles away, we played Dandiya and Garba in our own society with our friends in the evenings. But we also had to study for our exams. So, we’d come home every afternoon from college, study for couple of hours, go down in the evening, celebrate till 11:00pm, and study for couple of hours more. We had got it all chalked out.
The day was Maha Ashtami. The next day was our last exam and the scariest of all- Economics. We dived into our books right after the exam of the day, in the local train on our way back. We filled our empty stomachs with some kind of street food outside the station and kept our noses glued to our Economics notes. The afternoon flew by and the sun dipped out of sight in the horizon. Scary exam or not, we were not going to miss out on our Ashtami fun! We discarded our books, got decked up and went down. We played Dandiya to our heart’s content, laughed like maniacs with our friends at the silliest of things and kept up our Bong tradition of making the most of Ashtami eve. But, as they say, fear is one’s worse enemy… the fear of the subject called Economics got better of us and we ended the fun early. In our quest to utilize every minute, Abhi and I decided to skip making dinner and bought a couple of packets of chips and biscuits. We went home with our very healthy dinner (those who don’t understand sarcasm, I truly am sorry!), changed quickly and dove back into our books by 10 pm-ish, while we munched our so-called-meal.
The minutes ticked by and the hands of the clock was nearing 11pm. I opened the front door and discarded the empty packets in the dustbin outside. Abhi came running, calling my name. I never got to know why she came out after me that night… what happened next made that question irrelevant…
TO BE CONTINUED…