Pitchaiah enters and he hands over the circular to Mrs. Sheila. He requests her in Tamil, to read it to the class.
Mrs. Sheila pauses her viva-voce with Diwakar and looks at the circular.
She places the circular beneath the duster and continues with her viva-voce when Pitchaiah interferes; "Madam, I have to take it to all the classes".
She acknowledges and reads out the circular:
"All students are requested to bring old clothes and toys for donation to Premananda Ashram. All donations will be collected till Friday and they can be dropped in the Library. Please make sure that the clothes are not torn or unclean."
"That's it", she ends; "You all got it".
I quickly get up , "Ma'm can I bring Jeans and T-Shirt"; in a desperate attempt to buy some time.
She replies "whatever you want, I mean you don't want".
Nalini gets up and asks "Should we put our name" - quite typical of her.
Or is she doing what I am doing? A thought just brushes my mind.
Mrs. Sheila responds jovially; "Make sure you put your initials Nalini."
This sparks some laughter and some murmur in the class.
I am enjoying every moment of it.
Mrs. Sheila returns the circular to Pitchaiah and turns to her table.
Poor Diwakar, he was standing there, half-done and anxiously waiting for the remainder of the exam to be done.
Afterall his fears are far less than mine.
Mrs. Sheila resumes her work and finishes off with Diwakar.
As she calls out the next name, I start feeling very comfortable because there is no way Mrs. Sheila can complete thirteen interviews in the remaining 20 minutes.
I begin to relax. I start smiling and sit back to see what Arun and co. are doing outside. As the hour goes by Mrs. Sheila completes three more vivas. Its just five minutes left for the bell.
Comes Pitchaiah again; "Excuse me madam".
This time Pitchaiah doesn't look much of an angel as he seemed in his previous visit. Ah! only five minutes left and what difference can this make anyway.
"Yes, Pitchaiah, What's the matter this time?" retorts Mrs. Sheila.
"Mrs. Girija wanted me to tell that she will not be taking this class for the next hour and if you want you can continue with the class." announces Pitchaiah.
"Did I hear it right?"; I double check with Karthik who sits with me. He confirms the same
I say, "Shit..."
He asks me, "What happened? Are you not ready for the viva?".
I hesitate, "No...not that. "
"I.. I did not submit the homework"; I tremble.
"What? You are going to get caught" he whispers; "What are you going to do now?"
"I don't know." I reply and turn to the other direction, cutting the conversation short .
All the worries start to seep in. My happiness was short-lived and I start to think deeply and have already submitted to destiny.
I know that there is no escape now. Mrs. Sheila now gets one full hour to continue with the vivas. She can eaisly finish atleast fifteen more . I am 10th in line.
"I am done"; I say to myself as the bell rings.
The sound of the bell triggering the butterflies in my stomach. I bend towards the desk and rest on my folded left arm.
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