It’s ICSE after all

-Shuddhasattwa Guha


“It’s where Prodigies are born” replied he as his mom inquired why he wished to continue in the ICSE stream. He was in class 8 of DBS Siliguri and the initial pressure of ICSE could be easily perceived.
He was quite popular among his circle. His friends admired him and the elders adored him. He used to stand first. Every single time . There had been not a single time in his long school career when he had seen any digit but 1 beside the malicious colon following ‘Rank’. But he knew, as well as his mother did, it was all about to change.

The truth was, he was no extraordinary child. But a dull headed Mugger. He was no wonder child and he, definitely was no prodigy. He knew it. His mother knew it. The others were oblivious. That’s what intensified it.
Whenever he would pass a  known person, they would, almost every time, remark that the rank needed to be retained this year too. He would seem calm, throw a smile and walk on. But his core would crunch under the concentrated pressure of anticipating failure. He had heard his tuition teacher saying, ” Class 6 and 7 are the honeymoons. 8, 9 and 10 is married life.”

He was a goner, he began thinking. As an added pressure, his unit test marks seemed to be quite good as compared to the rest of the class. The syllabi were less. Less memorizing. High marks. But he knew, mid-term would serve as doom. So did the person who was closer to him than anyone else. His mom. So she had put forward the proposition that he should transfer to CBSE medium. But what face would he show to the others? The first boy of ICSE, now cowering to CBSE? He could not stand that. For the sake of his diplomatic prestige, no. He knew what needed to be done.

The mid-term commenced. The pressure over his brain and heart was metaphorically over 10^infinity Pa. But he could not just give up. No matter how concealed he was in his membrane of diplomacy, he did hold high regards for the virtue of life. He began laboring. Day became night, night became day. He longed for a few more than 24 hours. He studied. Studied. And studied. He gave up all other leisure. Not that he enjoyed much previously. The exams finished. One after one. He was in stupor. He did not know if the exams he had taken were in a positive or negative stance. He anticipated the latter. The much dreaded report distribution day arrived. His mother had been informed by him that the reports would be given out from 11 am. But he knew that it was anything but the truth. He could not take it anymore. What face would he show to his relatives, his friends, his tuition teacher, his father? Where would his prestige land up? He knew what needed to be done. He knew what HAD to be done. He shut the door, placed the chair below the fan. The ‘movie lover’ in him took up the spray can. The rope tied to the wing of the high revolving fate. The knot tied. The words painted. He took stand on the chair. Placed his neck into the knot. Shut his eyes. Pushed the chair with his hind limbs. A few seconds of agony. A lifetime of joy. The words read ‘I QUIT’.

At that exact moment, the residence phone rang. It was from the school. The distribution time was over. They requested her to come and collect the report. They also told her his rank. He had stood first. His mother ran up to the room…


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