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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!