Exams

What my father taught me about 'Exams'

Anshu Pande
What my father taught me about 'Exams'

It was one of those nights where I could feel my mind giving up on me. It refused to take in anything. No words, no visuals, no music, nothing. It was shutting itself up when I needed it to open, the most. Our board exams were just a week away. The tension and pressure was obvious and so was the fear and nervousness. I had to take care of my expectations, my parents' and my teachers' expectations, of course, the college application forms that were only waiting for my class 12th percentage to decide if i am going to be a part of their campus or not.

My mind cannot give up right now. It just cannot. I try to walk, to exercise, to breathe deep and to talk myself out of it. It doesn't work. Every time I look at my books, I hear myself saying that I am going to flunk. I hear myself de-motivating me, losing faith in me.

I throw away the books in anger. I cannot let this happen. Not right now. No. No. No. I keep saying No to myself and my voice keeps raising with every NO till I scream at myself and burst into tears. "This cannot happen. Please, please get yourself back. Stop crying! It's not helping!" I scold myself but tonight, it won't listen to me.

I open my contact list and start calling my best friends. No one picks up. "Why wouldn't they answer my calls!" I scream and throw the phone away. I start talking to myself again, wiping the tears away, holding myself in my arms, tightly. "Stop crying, please, everything is going to be ok, trust me, please" I beg myself.

I cannot take it anymore. I go to the kitchen, my body shaking in anger and tension. I look at everything like I am entering in the kitchen for the first time. I see glasses. I pick one of them and throw it on the floor. It broke into a million pieces. I threw another, and another till my hands lost their stamina. I broke down on the floor full of glass pieces. "What do you want from me!" I scream again.

The pieces on the floor seemed tempting. "If you don't stop crying, I will push this inside you!" I say, picking up a piece of glass. Just then, I hear my phone ring. It must be one of my friends! I jump out of the mess and run out of the kitchen, wiping my tears only to find that it's my father calling. I cannot tell him anything. He'll get worried, he'll lose his faith in me, I won't be his brave girl anymore. No. I am not going to pick up his call. He calls again. I cover my ears and pretend I can hear nothing but my screams. He calls again. Something inside me decides to answer this time.

"Hey! Guess which movie I am watching!" He says as soon as I pick up the phone. His voice weakens me. I cannot hold my tears back anymore.

"I am sorry papa." I say before shattering on the floor. "I can't do this. I am unable to." I say.

He listens patiently as I sob and mumble my apologies till my tears are done raining and all I am left with is a running nose.

"Drink some water, please?" He says.

I take a sip of water and calm down.

"Let me tell you a story. May I?" He asks.

"Yes.." I say, wiping my tears.

"There once was a little girl, who was learning to walk. She took a step and fell down. She felt bad, defeated. She started crying. Her father lifted her up in his arms and said "You don't have to walk, your daddy is here to pick you up" and wiped away her tears. A few days later, she tried again. She fell again. Her father picked her up in his arms again. This kept happening for a month until the day arrived when she walked up to her father. He was very proud of her that day. She grew up to be a beautiful, confident girl. Then one day, when she was in her teens, the girl and her dad were going for grocery shopping when suddenly they were pushed by the crowd and his father lost his balance and fell. She helped him get up and took him to a doctor. The doctor suggested her dad to take rest for at least a week, before trying to walk again. When they went home, she helped her dad to lie down on the bed and gave him everything he needed. After making him comfortable, she went into the kitchen to make him a cup of tea. Ten minutes into the kitchen she heard a thud. It came from her dad's room. She rushed to see that her dad had lost balance and was on the floor. She helped him get up and made him sit on the bed and said "You don't have to walk right now. Your daughter' is here to pick you up." Her father was beaming with pride and tears in his eyes. Do you know who the little girl is?"

"No" I say.

"You." He answers and I smile through my tears.

"There's nothing that I want more than your smile. No grades, no report cards, no exams can make me love you less or shake my faith in you. My strength lies in you. If my strength breaks, I break. And you wouldn't want your dad to break, would you?"

"No." I say, sobbing a little.

"More than anything, it's the belief in yourself that is going to get you through everything, no matter how hard the situation is. If you lose confidence in yourself, my confidence in you will be of no good. There's no Daddy dearest without her dearest daughter. Yes?"

"Yes." I say.

We talk for another half an hour before I sit back into my chair with my books, this time, without any tension or fear and whisper to myself,
"There's nothing chocolates cannot solve. But if you still feel that chocolates aren't enough, Dad is only a call away."

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