The Universe and Everything

The 18th Annual Shoe Convention

Let me begin by saying that my friends call me ‘Shoe’ which is a corruption of ‘Shuchita’, my name. And this post is about my coming of age and what changes I have experienced in the past four or so months. Honestly, it was great for the first two months. On the day of my birthday, Facebook sent me a message congratulating me for joining the ranks of the respected and skipping from one demographic bracket to another. I got a great phone as a birthday gift from my parents (Yeah, I’m materialistic, get on with it), lots of money from relatives and interesting stuff from my friends (it’s too varied; I might as well make a list and be done with it). I celebrated my birthday with élan in a posh restaurant that serves great food and I was generally elated and prosperous and riding a high.

The month after my birthday (March, to be precise) was the one where I had to give the dreaded school-leaving exams. But I was well prepared and didn’t face any difficulty in giving them. And so I got arrogant. Arrogant because I was an adult, I could do anything, my exams were fantastic, I was on the verge of obtaining an internship and that I’d get into any college of my choosing. My arrogance blinded me and compelled me to not study for any of the competitive law exams that my parents wanted me to give. And the rest is history.

This is the period before everyone leaves for college and my friends and I wanted to make the most of it so we decided to go on a trip. No parents, no supervision; just the five of us, travelling together in a rickety bus, seeing the world and experiencing adulthood into which we’d been jettisoned. That week was probably the most fun I’d had in ages. We went boating, had a rickshaw race (which my friend and I won), played a game of Monopoly (which I won, because NOBODY beats me at Monopoly) and strolled beside the lake which lay ensconced by the little hill town.

On my return all hell broke loose. I scored poor marks in all the exams I had given. The most astonishing result was that of my school leaving exam. See in India, we have these exams where you have to score out of 100 marks in five subjects. So in four of them, I got 95 while in English, I scored an 80. ENGLISH. I was beyond disappointed, I was demoralized to such a point where I thought my life was over, my career was over and everything that I had worked for was nullified. The results of the other competitive exams poured in as well, I scored a rank of 900 out of 27,000. While normally I’d say it was brilliant, but wasn’t good enough to get me anywhere. Another result: 30 out of 12,000; again not good enough in a country like India where thousands of snarling hounds tug at the bone ravenously. I clearly wasn’t getting my bone.

For a couple of days, depression set in, I didn’t go out, didn’t talk to people and generally thought of leaving home and becoming a wandering poet. Then today another result came in, the one in which I was least interested. Rank 11 out of, oh I don’t know, some tens of thousands of people. Frankly, at this point, I’m beyond caring. Yes, I have scored well enough to get into this particular college, but the question is, is the college itself good enough to warrant going to? And now, as I tread the path of Mission Admission all I can do is wonder: Was attaining adulthood that great a thing? I’m missing being in school and falling asleep in the classrooms, sweltering though they may be, already.

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