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Screw the board exams.

The world salutes the rising sun! And so did everyone when the 12th Board results were announced this year.
Only a few days back were the news channels flooded with live interviews of toppers of 2015’s Board exams. Family pictures along with snippets about the achievers formed major portions of the front pages of the dailies. While our ‘para’ (meaning locality in Bengali) seemed to reverberate with the celebrations going on in the houses of the toppers, there was a different environment building up in my house.

Everything turned static as I froze in one corner of my bed on seeing my Board results. “Are these really my marks?” – I asked myself after I had refreshed the screen for the umpteenth time. I watched my disheartened Ma silently walking back to the kitchen. The only voice that ruptured the sudden silence, that had been engulfing the house, was that of my dad’s – “Now find out if there’s any college that will accommodate you in exchange of that 65%! Don’t expect me to buy a seat for you.”

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Ashamed I was of myself. And this feeling was reinforced again and again whenever I met my relatives whose sons and daughters had been toppers in their times. They didn’t lose a single moment of rubbing salt into my wounds. Mom and Dad didn’t speak much to me. They seemed to be paralyzed by the social stigma that they had to face because of me. More than that, they were of the opinion that I was completely ruining my career by opting to study English for graduation instead of engineering. According to them, Arts subjects were meant to be studied by girls and not boys.

I was completely at a loss. It seemed that I was standing all alone in a deserted island with no hopes of getting back to the mainland. My applications were being rejected one by one by the prestigious colleges of Kolkata because my marks fell short in comparison to the threshold level set by the different universities.

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What stood by me all this while was my extensive collection of books! Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruskin Bond, RK Narayan, Rashmi Bansal came one by one and inspired me in their own way. They expanded my horizons of creativity and imagination. Be it day or night, one would find me deeply immersed in their works. In fact, it has been quite some time now that they have been guiding me.

And then was the day when my creativity was tested. I wrote the entrance exam for an admission to the class of B.A. (English Honours) at Banaras Hindu University. This test gave me an opportunity to prove my mettle, irrespective of what scores I had obtained in my Board exams.

Today is the day when my results came out. I see my parents holding their heads high. I see them happy. At last they have learnt to live with my decision. At last they are proud to see their son going to one of the oldest and reputed universities in India; the very same university, from where they had completed their higher studies in Economics and Sanskrit!

At last I see my world saluting me!

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The world salutes the rising sun! And so did everyone when the 12th Board results were announced this year. Only a few days back were the news channels flooded with live interviews of toppers of 2015’s Board exams. Family pictures along with snippets about the achievers formed major portions of the front pages of the dailies. While our ‘para’ (meaning locality in Bengali) seemed to reverberate with the celebrations going on in the houses of the toppers, there was a different environment building up in my house. Everything turned static as I froze in one corner of my bed on seeing…

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