In despair, I wait for my destiny - every now and then looking up to see who is at the centre.
Two more complete their viva as I wait perplexed.
I start to inhale heavily and blow the air out of my mouth. I feel miserable.
Suddenly the nerves to my brain seem to be cut off. Except for the ones that send the signals of fear and anxiety. They seem to be working overtime for now.
I do my routine of looking up ... a couple of times. I then turn to the outside to see what Arun and co. were doing outide.
While the other three are standing quietly, Arun seems to be chatting with someone...someone I can't see from my desk. The person is standing behind the door, but the conversation, to me, seems serious. I desperately try to have eye contact with Arun, who understands my situation better than the moron sitting next to me. Karthik is useless in these situations. All my attempts to get Arun's attention are in vain.
While this is happening, Mrs Sheila is getting closer to my number.
Finally Arun looks at me and smiles mischievously.
"Bast..." I call him. "What kind of a person would have fun at a friend's misery?" I wonder, forgetting totally that I was enjoying every moment of their session with Mrs. Sheila.
"Excuse me madam" enters a new voice from the door. This time it is Balakrishnan, the other attender. Balakrishnan in contrast to Pitchaiah is very young and kind of mischievous. He has a different style and is closer to students, especially Arun.
"Was it he who was talking to Arun?", I ask myself. But my brain does not respond to anything but fear. So, I wait wondering.
"Yes, Bala, what have you brought?" queries Mrs. Sheila.
Mr. Simon wants to meet Arun, Nandakumar and R. Rajesh immediately. He wanted me to bring them and the other team members from the other classes to talk about the cricket match this Saturday.
"Now?", asks Mrs. Sheila.
Before Balakrishnan could respond Mrs. Sheila summons us to go.
"I am not even in the team", I think as I walk towards the door.
Nandakumar stops. "Ma'm, I have not completed my viva.", he says; to add to my agony.
I turn hesitantly to hear what Mrs. Sheila has to say.
But to my fortune, Mrs. Sheila responds, "Go ahead, we can do that tomorrow."
"Yes", I vanish. I run as fast as I can to get out of the scene. I wait at the stairs to thank Balakrishnan.
He comes smilingly and accepts my gratefulness with humble grace.
"You should really thank Arun", he says. "At first, I didn't want to risk it. But then.."
My friendship for Arun grew stronger. I am not sure if I would have done this for him. But now I am out and that is a huge relief.
Balakrishnan leaves us alone to take care of other stuff. I thank Arun for a while and all that... for sometime. We laugh about it for sometime.
I then resort to some stern resolutions. Today I will go home and immediately complete the work. This is a wake up call from God.", I pledge with all sincerity, only to trigger more laughter among Arun and Nanda, who comes to term with the happenings and the blunder he was about to cause to Arun's master plan. "All's well that ends well" is the look in my face.
We just chat for the rest of the hour and go back to the class, ten minutes after the bell rings to avoid crossing Mrs. Sheila on the way. By the time we get back, the next class has begun.
I am very anxious to learn what happened during our absence. But everyone is busy trying to solve Mrs. Ambujam's Maths problems.
I desperately distract Karthik, who anyway has no clue about Calculus. "What happened?", I ask.
"Nothing much. Mrs. Sheila just continued with the viva and everyone was done except you guys.", he replied much to my satisfaction.
"Also..", he added,"she gave another homework".
I collect all the details and just keep reminding myself of the resolution that I took near the bathroom in front of Nanda and Arun. I still want to stick by it.
The school day ends with nothing more to add.
On my way home, I see that the boys in the street have already started to assemble.
Kumar spots me, "Rajesh, come quickly. The toss is over. We are batting."
I hesitantly "Mmmm Okay two minutes.".
I quickly go home - shed my bags and change my shoes - all in one action.
As I run out to join the boys, my mother asks "What happened in school? Wait...".
No answer as I run to get into the game. By this time I have totally forgotten about school and my resolution near the Toilet Room.
It is already 6:30 and the game gets over. Everyone returns home.
At around 7:30 I decide to sit and complete the homework - after dinner. I studiously unpack my school bag, take the Physics text book; keep it aside and look for the notebook.
From behind the Computer book, I take out the Physics notebook.
Now I have everything in front of me and nothing to distract my concentration.
I sincerely begin writing the assignments.
Flick..Flick flick.. Oops the electricity goes away.
"Oh ! my God", I say to myself. Even God does not like to watch me this way.
I, with a dejected face, go out. Already Kumar and others have assembled to discuss cricket and girls... our usual topics when the power is out. I join them and again make merry of the situation.
By the time the power comes back, it is 11:30 pm and I hit the bed right away.
This time, I don't even think of getting up early and completing the homework. I know I will never be able to get up early enough. My only option is to complete it before the 4th period.
Will I procrastinate further and get caught?
Let's see in Part 4..