Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Unsuccessful Student

Let me recount an incident that left an indelible mark in my memory.

It was December, the last month of the academic year. Students had done their annual exams and they were waiting for the results-declaration-day which was just around the corner.

For few days that followed I worked deep into the nights preparing results (academic transcript) of students of my class. Out of 34 students, 4 had failed of which three were girls and one boy.

Finally, the most awaited day, the result declaration day came and most students were accompanied by their parents or guardians to sign their results as announced by the principal the earlier day. Some of them had nobody to come as their parents or guardians were sick or not at home or they did not have.

I delivered the results of the students who secured 'Pass' results with pride but I was discomfit when I delivered the results to the four students who were unsuccessful.  However, I had to swallow the bitter pill and after two hours I finished handing over the results.

I stretched my body in relief and stood up to go home. I switched off the lights and as I looked out through the window, I saw the school which was busy few minutes earlier empty and quite. Everyone had left eagerly for winter holidays.

As I walked out of the class, I noticed an image few feet beside the door. It was the boy who had failed. He was leaning against the wall. His head was low and he looked unhappy. I saw the result sheet rolled in his right hand. It immediately suggested me that he was not happy that he failed.

I asked him ‘Lad, why are you still here?’

He  slowly raised his head and stammered ‘Sss….sss….sssir, my father will kill me.”

Quite surprised I asked ‘Why would he kill you?’

‘Because I have failed’

‘How would he kill you?’

‘Sir, he's a very strict man. When he is angry he is fierce. He already warned me that if I fail he will bash me with electric wires. And what worse, this is my second’  

‘But how could your father be so brute on you? He might have just given you a verbal warning. He won’t do that. I am sure. He won’t.’ I said with an air of reassurance.

‘Sir, He keeps his words. Last year he bared me naked, dragged me to the toilet and battered me black and blue. Look sir-’ He rolled his sleeves up and showed me several marks on his body. Only then was I convinced that his father must have been a real monster. 

‘Sir, please do something’ he pleaded.

‘What do you want me to do?’ I asked him and I thought he would ask me to do something that would help change his father’s nature but he said something unexpected. 

‘Sir, if you could make some changes in my result. Please sir, please.’ He was almost on his knees.

I immediately disagreed to it. ‘Wai! It is insane of you to say that. I cant do that’

But when I looked at him, he gave me a piteous look and it touched my sympathy and I asked him ‘You should have worked hard. Why? Why dint you study? You have failed last year and that should have taught you enough lessons' 

‘Sir I never felt like studying. I have lost all my interest in studying. At home my father and mother always quarrel over small matters. Sometimes, my father come home drunk and sometimes my mother does it. Quite often my sister and I are swallowed in the cyclone of their fight. And the end of it we would equally be tired as them.’ he said.

‘But I am sorry, there is nothing I can do with your result.’ I said.

But he continued to press me and sounded more desperate this time ‘Sir, please sir, it is my earnest request sir. He will kill me’   

'Perhaps, I will talk to your father-'     

‘But sir, I don't think talking to him would do any good. It would just make the situation graver. So, sir I’d better not suggest you to do that for he might only be more infuriated. Thank you sir.’

As he walked passed me I couldn't imagine the hard fate that lied ahead of him.

After the boy left I felt sorry for him at the same time a sense of guilt ran through me for not being able to help him.