I had to go to the university to collect my mark sheets.
It’s been ten years since I graduated, so I knew this was going to be a nightmare.
Mostly because I did my graduation over a period of 5 years, and I had no clue which years I took the exams in. Also Mumbai University discovered the miracle of computers just three years ago.
This meant that I had to go through a few thousand names from each year before finding my name, then getting my roll number, a gist of of marks and finally being able to apply for a duplicate mark sheet.
There is comfort in chaos. This is probably the alternative motto for the Distance Learning branch of the University. After wading through a sea of students, some student-looking person directed me to the second floor to room number 45 and told me to ask someone there about my problem. I did that. Some ‘Sir’ gave me several slabs of books of about 500 pages each and said ‘Look’. And so I started.
I found my third year roll number and marks in less than 30 minutes. I found my first year roll number and marks in about 45 minutes. Then I started looking for my second year roll number and this bit almost gave me a nosebleed. I had taken these exams in either 2001 or 2002 and in either March or October. After about 4 books I found my name and slammed the table with a ‘Yes!’. Then I happened to glance at the summary of marks as a formality and… it… said… ‘Fail’!
Suddenly it all came rushing back.
I had plugged an entire subject. Ancient Philosophy. And for that, I had to take all the exams again the following year. What I didn’t understand was, how had I managed to forget all this? I mean, it is a bit of a big deal, only because I had to study the godforsaken subjects all over again, and yet I had wiped my memory clean.
I must have toiled, stayed up late, hated Plato, whined incessantly for weeks, trudged to my exam center, taken the exam again, hoping I wouldn’t fail AGAIN.
All this, for nothing.
I mean, I cleared the exam, got my degree, probably took a photograph on the day I got my certificate, but in the span of ten years this wasn’t really looked at as a worry by my scumbag brain.
Something that may have weighed on me so heavily, and constantly for an entire year till I took the exams again and made sure I passed wasn’t even tucked away in my immediate memory.
What then of worry? My favorite hobby.
“You should give a talk on how to stress on days when you should be running naked.” Mehma said this (or something like this) to me today, but I convinced her that today was pretty hectic. I mean, I could have been wrong.
It could be one of two things.
With time and adulthood, exams from a decade ago seem trivial even though they swallowed us whole at the time (to refute this, how is it that I remember my class 10 and class 12 board exams so well?)
Worrying is rubbish (Thus spake Buddha).
If I go with the second bit, I’d have a blade of grass sticking out of one side of my mouth and a straw leading to a Mimosa from the other.
I know there’s a middle ground between these two, but I haven’t really concluded what that is.
Shame for having failed so delete delete delete?
I cleared it eventually, so do I really care?
Philosophy isn’t even really a subject, right?
If I lie to myself, it will go away.
I have bi-annual epiphanies about wearing roller blades and gliding through life. Usually they’re a bit more magnificent than me realizing I failed a year, but I guess everybody slacks now and then.
I’m gonna pin it on that.
Now where’s that blade of grass?