Subbu’s Sacrifice

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Subbu eyed the large nondescript clock on the wall. There was still an hour to go before the final bell rang signalling the end of the examination. Somewhere behind him, he could hear the padded footsteps of the invigilator as he slowly walked up and down the hall. Through the open windows, he could hear the whispering hum of the monsoon, as the raindrops plummeted to the otherwise water-forsaken ground. Oh, how he loved the rain. What he wouldn’t give to run out of this dreaded room and make a paper boat of the question sheet, and watch it float away. Well, sort of like his chances with this exam at the moment.


Somehow, he forced his wavering attention back to his desk. A single sheet with the college’s insignia emblazoned on the top right corner lay on its surface. He’d managed to answer a few of the questions from memory. But as his eyes scrolled down the sheet, his mind drew mostly blanks in response to the other questions. He was going to need a lot of luck if he was going to pass this exam.


He felt his body tingle as the nervousness started to set in. There was strong breeze floating in through the windows, but he felt warm. Suddenly, he was very conscious of the beads of sweat that were slowly creeping down the back of his neck. As they gradually slid down the arch of his back and melted into the stickiness of his off-white shirt, he shuddered. As if on cue, the tiny hairs on his arms stood up in salute. As a wave of goose bumps formed all over his upper body, he shivered from the sudden change in temperature.


Almost absentmindedly, he brought his index finger up to his lips – they were dry and rough, like the parched earth during the summer months. Inadvertently, he ran his tongue over them, gently wetting them in the process. His right leg shook restlessly, bobbing up and down like a toddler in a bouncy castle. He was going to need to calm down and think of a way to pass this exam.


Letting out an almost inaudible sigh, Subbu glanced to his right. Most his classmates were furiously scribbling away – the smooth nibs of their pens gently scratching against the rustling sheets of paper. Some of them even had their free hand over their sheets – as if to shield their precious answers from prying eyes. Somewhere behind him, he heard one of his best friends, Shiva, read the questions out loud, as if somehow the act would magically present him with the solution. A few desks in front, he spotted his other best friend, Vincent. He was staring at the sheet and muttering something. Subbu leaned forward to try and listen. And then he smiled as he realised his friend was uttering a prayer.


All three of them were in the same boat –  stuck in the middle of the sea, with no oars or paddles. And there was a storm brewing on the horizon. If only they’d studied instead of goofing around. Suddenly, Subbu knew what to do. He knew just the person who could help him.But he was going to have to sacrifice something in return – something dear and near; something that could potentially crush his heart.


“Dear God,” thought Subbu, crossing his fingers for some luck. “If you help me pass this exam, I promise to never go and watch a  Rajini movie the day before the exam again!”


Today is the final day of the #BarAThon; The prompt is : Promise

For the un-initiated, Rajinikanth is an ultra popular Indian actor. No, actually – he’s a phenomenon in India with a fan following running into millions. And even today, there are fans who will do ‘literally’ anything, to be able to watch the first show of any of his new movies. Go figure!

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  1. Wow! That is a true sacrifice for a “Rajinikanth” fan. 🙂 I hope he passed the exam though.

    I remember watching all these mundane shows the night before the exam (because they are so intriguing only on the night before) and I would mentally decide not to watch it again only to repeat the exercise the next time. Old habits die hard I guess ! Enjoyed the post.

  2. I never watched a movie before an exam and finished my revision three months before the exams 🙂 Rajnikant’s movies are something else…brilliant way to end the BarAThon, happy writing.

  3. I had two days holiday before an exam and I went out for a short trip to Chitradurga. Reached back late in the night with exam at 8 AM the next day. It was my final exam. Luckily I did not flunk. This story reminded me of that adventure,Sid. Brilliantly written. 😊

  4. Hehehe…he actually watched a Rajni movie a day before the exam?! That’s audacious! Superb take on the prompt, Sid.

  5. I always watched a movie the day before the exam. I want to tell Subbu (by the way, I was often called Subbu, thanks to my maiden name Subramaniam) – Go! Subbu. Watch the movie. But prepare for your exams. It isn’t as if those three hours were all you had to study, eh? And pay attention in class – gets easier that way”. Heheheheh. Haven’t seen Kabali yet. But I am a Rajni fan, mostly for his older movies.

    Cute story, Sid. This is the universal student promise!
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  6. Uhm, is this the right time to say that I don’t really waste time goofing around before exams 😛
    Loved the narration, Sid. And maybe God would have granted Subbu his wish, if he were to just tweak it to : ‘Never watch a Rajni movie again’ 😀
    But that’s as impossible as Rajni being a flop, no? 😛

  7. I can so relate to the above, Sid.

    Sunday evening movies used to be telecasted and Monday was always fearful cause either homework not done or test preparation incomplete 🙁

    Although your take with Rajnikant “The” movie star was priceless 🙂

    1. Haha! I know. even in the hostel that I stayed briefly in, the warden would make Sunday movie night. Weird.
      Haha…well, had to pay a small tribute to Rajinikanth the phenomenon

  8. I would say such a prayer for Monday papers since every Sunday evening there wouldbe some movie on TV and I would end up watching it 😀

    Loved your take, Sid 🙂

      1. oh glad my comment did get published.
        Typed it via my phone was not sure thus, came back again as above.

        Apologize for double comments but, since you mentioned rajnikant and the incident was so close to mine did not want to miss commenting either 🙂

  9. Haha! That was me, during my school exams!
    Loved the way you brought Subbu alive – his nervousness, his body language, everything about him and his classmates – shielding their papers from prying eyes – my ‘scholarly’ classmates would do that, I remember!

  10. Wonderfully done, Sid. And yes, I am pretty sure I had a similar prayer before my second internals in 1st MBBS. Of course, that was after watching Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai 5 times so it was a hollow promise to God that I would not go again… God didn’t believe it either, I guess, going by the marks I got.
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    1. Absolutely! Never understood why they were there otherwise. I could often smell fried vadas through the windows of the exam hall – evil people I tell you!

  11. Kind of reminded of the day I was watching the Oscars the morning of my Marathi board exam paper ( I remember Titanic took most of the Statues – the paper is a whole other story).
    PS: Your descriptions and narration – I bow down to you for the way you write. Just amazing.
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