As far as I remember, the day I got my Tenth Standard board exam results has been the most memorable day in my life, until now. Not that I value it as much as I remember it in the frenzy of those youthful days, but if I have to pick one memorable day in my life it will be that day.
In most middle class families, especially in Chennai, there is no achievement bigger than academic achievement. At that age, although it feels strange now, I too believed in that *all encompassing* mantra – Academic Excellence.
To add to my convictions, I studied in a school where 38 out of 40 students would score above 80%. The remaining two will not be far behind! So there was always this fierce competition among ourselves, especially during the Board Exam years.
Even before Tenth Standard, I always took academics seriously. Although I had never got a first rank (except once in UKG!), I was mostly one among the Top 10 ranks. This might surprise some of my friends who know me from later on!
I started studying the tenth standard syllabus right from the ninth standard annual holidays. In the first mid-term exam, I got the fourth rank in my class and I got the highest marks in both science and maths, my focus subjects for the year.
I missed Centum in maths by one mark, that too because of a simple addition mistake. Just imagine: Getting 100% in maths was my dream from a very young age. Unlike others, I was not upset at missing it, but was actually happy that I was able to get so close.
I think my rank dropped a bit in the subsequent exams and even touched 14 in one of the revision exams, but I was inspired enough and backed it with solid preparation. I remember we were shifting to a new house during my board exam study holidays, but I was sent to my grandmothers home so that my studies will not be disrupted! Actually, I had finished studying everything by then, and only had to revise, but still . . .
And then came the board exams. We had to (for the first time) go to a different school and write the exam there. All the exams went as per expectations, but maths, my favorite exam, threw up a shocker of a question paper! I mean, when you are going into an examination hoping to get a Centum, and you don’t even understand a few questions, just think how you’d feel! Fortunately, the tough question paper was compensated by lenient correction.
Then came holidays and I read most of the Michael Creighton, Sidney Sheldon and Jeffery Archers books during that time. And then came the day of the *much anticipated* results. They had struck all our marks on the notice board and I hurried to the school once I got to know about it.
Guess what, I was second in my class and fourth in my school! Not even in my dreams did I expect such a result!! The euphoria that I experienced then remains unmatched until today. Of course, all my friends and family were congratulating me left, right, and center (#together), and I was in the limelight as the first rank holder didn’t come on that day and no one expected me to finish second!
Little did I know that these results were the lull before a great storm. And those stormy moments will teach me much more than these happier moments. But all that for later.
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