A couple of days ago I was at my cousin’s place and we were talking about schools, exams, lab, etc and a smile came to my face already. She asked me what it was about and I had a story to tell as usual!
That year was my first year in a student hostel as my family had shifted to Chennai. It was also my final year in school before I entered professional college, we had the final lab exams and a weekend break before the written exams were due. Just before the lab exams, we had a few days off as study holidays. My best friend Kappa and her mother Suguna Aunty had asked me to come and stay at their place.We did a bit of combined studies and a lot of talking, window shopping and eating out! During one such visit, I had seen a huge teddy bear, liked it and mentioned it to the crowd and walked on. It was very sweet of Kappa’s brother Karthi to have bought that teddy for me as a surprise.
Finally, the day of the exams came and we came to college together. I was going back home to Chennai that night so I had brought my bag of clothes and the teddy with me. I got off the car, asked her to go ahead and I said I would drop my things off in my room and bring what was needed for the exams. She got off at the science block and I decided to walk to the arts block. On my way, a lady stopped me and my teddy bear and asked me for directions to the science block. I gave her directions and walked away! I dropped my clothes and ted in my room and headed back to the lab, only to realise that the external invigilator for my exam was the lady that had asked me directions to the lab! Imagine my embarrassment! The lady had a wide grin when she saw my red face!
Then came the fun bit. I did something I had never done before or after. The girl that was standing beside me for the exams had a blank look on her face. She was one of those bright students who did very well in studies. I realised she had blanked out, I’d say more out of fear. I thought about it for a minute, then took my log book that I had, wrote down everything she needed to know for her experiment and put it in front of her and walked away to do my experiment. Needless to say, she was happy and so was I, and we never spoke about it ever after that! I haven’t met her since I finished school too. I should say I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I also know that this girl is among the brightest in the class, it is not that she didn’t know the answers, it was just the fear of exams had made her mind blank and I didn’t think twice before I did what I did.
Anyways, that finished well and I went home for the weekend and was coming back on the train on Sunday night from Chennai. My parents had dropped me off at the station, told the TTE (Train Ticket Examiner) to keep an eye on me as I was travelling alone and left. I was chatting away with a girl who had the same name as me when the TTE came to check my tickets, just as he was doing so another person walked to him to ask him about some details which I answered. The TTE had a surprised look on his face and asked me how I knew.
I said I travel regularly on the route and I was on the same train in the opposite direction on Friday evening. He said I couldn’t have been as he was the TTE on the same train on Friday evening and he hadn’t seen me. I told him the coach and he went “Oh, now I remember, you were the girl wearing the blue salwar, hugging a teddy bear and sleeping in the middle berth! I decided not to disturb you”
Ha ha… was ted that noticeable? Well, he stayed on with me till I had my children. They played with ted too and I think 26 years later, he is still sitting in the house in some cupboard.
It is amazing how a single comment from someone can bring back some beautiful memories! 🙂