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I went to learn, not to be become suicidal

Naturally everyone who graduates from school, realizes how the moments spent in school were the best of his/her life and I am no exception. However, there are classes (besides the common ones of course) which tend to make a student lose his temper and may also provoke a student to do something rash. I am talking about some classes which the school authority tries to pass off as ECA's. Now don't get me wrong, because I used to love drama and debating classes, but then there were some classes, which forced me to contemplate suicide and those are the periods I am talking about.

Painting the Vase
In my school we used to have a “Project” class. At first, the prospect of such a class intrigued us all as we had no clue about the coming pain in the neck. Believe it or not, we were actually asked to paint vases and self-made masks, as if my secret ambition in life was to become Picasso. The minute I heard that, I lost every urge to control my anger. My blood boiled as some of the losers painted their vases happily, with bright red, yellow and combinations of tackier colors. Me? I sat there staring at the vase and wondering how I could kill myself. The next “Project” class wasn't any better as we were told to paint masks which we could ACTUALLY wear! (Oh joy!) Honest to God, I felt like a retard that day. I begged to have a gun.

Grade Acquired: - “F”

Sing a Song of Six Pence
Whoever heard of singing classes? I did, because I had to go through the torture of singing retarded songs in front of my whole class, along with them of course. The piano giving off notes that made my blood boil, I always suppressed a scream, as I read the lines off my page in a toneless fashion. We sang about a dog that had lost its ears, a pair of shoes and a song of six pence. Six pence, I ask you! If that wasn't enough our teacher instructed us to nod our heads and show actions while singing, such as making a diamond with our hands as we sung “Like a diamond in the sky”. Not only did I feel like a sissy, but I also decided to drop out of school and I seriously gave homicide a thought.

Grade Acquired: - “D”

Contacting Humans
This one makes me feel so mentally challenged, that words cannot express my anger. We actually had a class where we were taught how to talk with each other. Like we grew up being dumb! Our teacher taught us all to say “Good Morning! How are you doing today?” Like anyone cares how anyone else is doing! Our communication skills would supposedly be enhanced by practicing scenes which would never happen in reality. For e.g. once I was told to act out a scene where a fellow student had forgotten his umbrella and I was supposed to help him out by sharing my umbrella. The trick was to offer the umbrella in such a way, so as to make my fellow student feel comfortable. This way we were supposed to kindle our friendship. In real life no one cares about umbrellas anymore and had anyone forgotten an umbrella, I would be the last person to help. Not because I am a mean person, but because I refuse to be seen sharing an umbrella with anyone, because I don't carry one and I really don't want to start a friendship with a guy in such a romantic way. I also refused to offer my fellow students a bite of my Tiffin even though our teacher insisted. There are other ways to contract germs and I wasn't going to try anyone of them out and I strongly believe that everyone should bring their own tiffins. Those that don't, hoping they can share someone else's tasty snack, should be left alone, starving. Talk me to death was my last wish.

Grade Acquired: - “C”

Of Morals and Values
This was one class I hated the most. This class taught me stupid things like not putting my hands in my pocket while I talked, not putting my elbows on my table while I ate and to always be polite to everyone. I felt like an illiterate manner less tike. I certainly wasn't planning on becoming Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa, for that matter, yet I was taught all this. My homework consisted of making beautiful charts full of flower and trees. Moral Science was what this class was called and everyday we were asked never to make fun of anyone no matter how circular their glasses where or whatever gallons of spit they produced whilst talking. Obedience was not my cup of tea all the time and reading stories about people being brave by saying sorry was also not my piece of the cake. When I did admit on not doing my homework, trying to advocate honesty when none was asked for, I got punished. Thus I ended up losing faith in this so-called subject. Sometimes in life no one loves you and there is someone who is superior to you, however Moral Science didn't teach us that. The optimism was sickening especially with the “Failure is the pillar of success” hoo-ha because I never did ace math. If truth wasn't going to set me free, I felt death surely would.

Grade Acquired: - “U”.

These subjects aided in mutilating my happy memories of school and thus I firmly believe these subjects should never be taught again. Though I survived these dreadful ordeals, reminiscing about those days makes me shudder till I feel my bones cracking. I went to school to learn and not to become suicidal, spare me the dramatics miss!

By Osama Rahman

The Prince

Priya was looking at a small patch astonishingly blue sky from the balcony. The cement forest of other apartment buildings blocked her view of the rest of the sky, but she could still see glimpses of white clouds and a hawk flying high above the poisonous fumes of the city traffic. She longed for the full view, the sky stretching from horizon to horizon. It had the amazing virtue of calming her mind, something she could use right now. Someone was playing disturbingly loud music nearby, which was not the source of her bad mood, though it did nothing to help it. It didn't muffle the sound of heated argument that issued from Priya's apartment. Her parents were at it again.

Priya listened half-heartedly and caught snatches of sentences “what happened to the money I gave” - “what about the loans” - “who is this woman you keep getting calls from?” - “what happened to the money in Priya's savings account for her university?”

'There we go,' Priya thought wearily. She knew they would get there before long. Her parents were constantly at each other's throats. The fight would normally start from a stupid reason then grow into something huge, an uncontrollable monster of fury and misery. Today it had started from the small fact that the beef curry was too runny. They normally used her as a cover as well as a weapon. Her 9As seem to have provided both her parents with new arsenal, in terms of the university savings they were currently ranting about. If she had failed, they would have got nuclear bombs.

Jack, the sparrow, had been out to eat. He had had some tasty ants from a small anthill near the garbage disposal. As he fluttered towards the balcony, he heard the shouts from the apartment. 'Oh, they're having a row again,' he thought, and sure enough, he spotted a very pretty girl standing in the balcony looking like a lost soul waiting for salvation. He swept towards the grilles and landed softly on them. Priya looked up.

'Hey, you're back. Had a nice lunch? You can imagine how mine was,' she whispered, stroking him with a finger. Jack chirped softly. They had a special connection, Priya and him. His parents had died when he was still very young, probably a pack of crows or some other larger bird of prey. They had nested in this balcony. Priya heard him chirping one day and found him. She had looked after him, named him even, after a character from some movie she liked. She cared. He wished he could help her like she had helped him; perhaps save her from this situation, like those princes from the tales she told him, while the fight raged behind her between her parents. 'If I kiss you, will you turn into a prince?' she asked him sometimes. But then she laughed and said the stories were corny and that princes didn't exist; at least, no princes from the tales. But she did kiss him, now and again.

There was a particularly loud yell from behind her. She looked around. 'It's a major one they're having today. Might lead to a divorce, this one,' she said in a nonchalant tone. She didn't care anymore. It might even be a relief. Sometimes death was preferable to life.

'Tanher broke up with me today,' she said quietly to Jack after a while, 'hooked up with Shumi instead. Said I am sad almost all the time.' Jack was indignant. He wanted to smash Tanher to a pulp, although he was like a hundred times bigger than Jack. He had seen the guy. Bulging muscles, gelled hair, cool clothes; it made him want to use the guy's head for a toilet, just to see the crowd's reaction. But he hadn't. Tanher was, after all, Priya's boyfriend.

It is an emotional hazard being a bird. For one thing, your emotions don't show on your face. So his anger on Priya's behalf had no effect whatsoever. But he did know what might cheer her up. He nipped her finger and took off. Tanher had given Priya a rose once. He knew because she kept it in her diary, which she took with her everywhere she went so that her parents wouldn't find out.

It didn't take too long for him to find what he was looking for. In another balcony, a tenant had some beautiful pot plants, and what was more, there was a small rose bush with a few blooming roses. Jack flew in through the gap in the grilles and fluttered around for a second. He couldn't take a full rose. Apart from the fact that it was stealing, he felt heartless tearing a blooming rose. Besides, he wasn't sure he could carry that load. A few bits of hay to repair the nest once in a while was all fine, but an almost full grown rose was more than he could handle. He settled down on a branch next to a rose in full bloom. He fidgeted for a while and got an idea. It wasn't exactly stealing, he could carry it and Priya would be cheered up. He nipped at the rose then spread his tiny wings and flew out again.

Priya saw Jack coming back. He was carrying something in his beak. She hoped it wasn't a fragment of a worm. He had once brought some and although Priya thought it was disgusting, she didn't really mind. She got the gesture.

It happened in the fraction of a second. The hawk flying high overhead dived like a bullet, its beak pointing downwards like a curved arrow tip, the wings furled tightly around its body, cutting the wind with its natural, perfectly streamlined shape. Jack, intent upon Priya standing in the balcony, spotted the diving menace too late. He was too far away to put on a burst of speed and get through the grilles. There was only one thing to do, fight. He pointed his little beak upwards; ready to peck any part of the hawk he could reach. But the hawk had hunted enough sparrows to know what was coming. It spread its wings at the last second, checked its speed and brought forward the clawed feet, which dodged Jack's beak and clamped around his body, the talons digging deep into his ribs, piercing his little heart. With his numbing consciousness Jack twisted his head and looked around. Priya stared at the scene with a look of total surprise on her face. As the hawk flapped its wings to get some altitude, she noticed a single petal of rose drifting slowly down to the narrow, dirty streets below. Her prince was gone.

By Estel

Ramblings from an exam hall

Hey, how come I got this rotten seat? Someone's scribbled all over the table. What if the invigilators think I did it?

(Sits down).

That wouldn't make a very good impression. Hmmm... I wonder what would happen if the AC suddenly falls on top of me?

(Looks up at AC)

Nah, it's way too high above. That would increase my reaction time, so I'd have to grab my passport and admit card and run for it. Ah, what a welcome distraction it would be. Maybe they'd even let me skip the exam to recover from the mental shock?

(Awakened from reverie by invigilator who's now reading out the rules)

"If you have any questions, please raise your hand to attract the attention of the invigilator".

Ah no, not again, surely not! Why must this boy insist on irritating the invigilators everyday? Is he a sadist or something?

"Do we have to draw the diagrams with pens or pencils?"

(The whole hall exchanges smirks, like they're insiders in a conspiracy).

Now we're done with instructions. 5 more minutes to go. This eerie silence is killing me.

I look at my friend from the corner of my eye, only to notice that everyone is now exchanging furtive glances, to see how others are faring, perhaps? Although I'm not sure it's a good idea. Seeing someone's confidence might just rupture your own, but then again, seeing someone else in near-hysterics might give you that extra boost? The human mind does work in strange ways, after all.

Oh no, oh no, what's Malkonikov's rule again?

“Candidates, it is now 4:30 p.m. You may begin your exam. Good luck."

By Anika Tabassum


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