Saturday afternoon. Merry making. Revelry. Wedding functions in full swing.
Suddenly I remember a FB update about our result. Not sure if it has actually been declared. Picking up phone receiver and then placing it back on the cradle. Finally, I make the most anticipated call. Nervous but audible croaking of roll number. A muffled shuffling of papers. “Reappear”.
“Which subject”? “IT”. A short click. The call ends.
Now that the call has ended, I do not feel anything. Numbly I walk to my room. Nothing registers for a while. Then the truth dawns on me. Then … Tears. Screams. Shouts.
The pain is unbearable. Nothing dulls the realization. It seems like all is lost. Past, present, future … all buried in some dark and deep recesses.
I wonder if I can hold myself together … for the ceremonies … for Monday … for any other day.
Amidst the fit of weeping, I somehow get ready and attend the functions. Rarely talking. Certainly not dancing. My actions and smiles forced. My mother, father, sister and cousin brother … the handful of people privy to the fruition of my MBA … keeping an eye on me lest I falter in my resolve.
Sunday evening. All functions for Mandi are done. All guests have retired. Mum, dad and I plan to go to Shimla and check things out first hand.
Monday Morning. Chilly. Cold. The three of us board our taxi in silence. A lot is at stake. Silent prayers in three hearts. Every kilometre that we cross adds to tension. Every kilometre that we cross brings me closer to the truth.
Finally, we are at the university campus. I guide the driver to my department. Most of it is empty. Preparatory holidays for the students. I check date-sheet on the notice board. The date for re-appear exam is 7th Jan, 2012. That gives me enough time for preparation. But am I in time to apply for it. A few more steps and I will find all the answers that I am seeking.
In the office, we are shown the gazette while my detailed mark-sheet is being fetched. Three heads bend down. There has been no mistake in the communication. I do have a re-appear. And only I, amongst my friends and batch-mates, have a re-appear. I ask for the last date to apply for re-evaluation and examination. Tuesday. That gives us two days.
Suddenly, I can feel the tears building up inside me. My father senses this. His arm goes around me in a hug to comfort me.
The mark-sheet. I sign for it. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I open my eyes.
“Dad, I have been marked absent for my exam”!
The mark-sheet is out of my hands. I clutch the back of the chair for support.
Mum, dad both look at it and then at me. A ray of hope enters all our hearts. May be. May not be.
We ask the department authorities the procedure for getting the error rectified.
Nobody in the department expresses any surprise or any concern over the mistake.
We drive to the examination department. We meet the concerned person. He digs up the exam attendance record. Dad looks up at me. “Did you sign this sheet”? “Yes, as far as I remember, I did”. “Keep your fingers crossed then”. “Don’t worry; they have been crossed ever since I heard my result”.
The records are produced before us. My roll number is queried. My attendance checked. I recognize my signature against all three exams. Another ray of hope. Another person rolls out a huge record list. Again my roll number is queried. “Sir, she has received internal assessment also. But her theory awards have not been entered”. “Please visit the evaluation department for this problem”. We are told calmly. Thankfully, they instantly approve our application from their end and tell us the way to the evaluation department.
Evaluation department. We show our application and our mark-sheet. “Sir, I will have to dig up the records for this further. Please come after an hour or so”.
We plan to have some tea to while away our time. I want to call up my sister and tell her what all is happening. My dad tells me not to rush the things. “We cannot be sure of anything still. We do not know how many marks you are going to get in the end.” “Dad, I think I will at least qualify”. “And how can you be so hopeful”? “I sneaked a look at my internal assessment and I have been awarded 32 marks. So, that means I need 8 more marks to qualify and I have attempted all five questions”. My father rolls out his eyes at me. I smile for the first time in days. “Being tall does have its advantages, dad”. My father too smiles. Lovingly. “No calls, yet”.
An hour has passed. We again enter the evaluation department. We are informed that the person concerned has still not fetched our records. We tell them that we have travelled all the way from Mandi and we are supposed to go back by evening and that we have functions going on back home. They tell us that if we want we can fill in re-evaluation form and go back and attend functions. But if we want the matters to be resolved before our eyes, we will have to wait.
The section officer overhears all this. He calls us and asks us the issue. My father again narrates everything. And I hoped he would help expedite the procedure. “Oh, these kinds of things keep happening every now and then. Few days back, there was a case where the marks had been entered as 38 but actually the candidate had earned 83 marks. You please take a seat here or you can wait outside. Nothing to worry. The matter will get resolved in some time”. I and my father exchange looks. We thank him and we step outside his office. “You were right. I was a little too hopeful too early”. We both take deep sighs …
And we wait and we wait and we wait.
After endless wait, I recognize the person from the evaluation department climbing up the stairs. He holds the fate of my MBA. He is taking all the time in the world to enter his office, to sit on his chair and talk to us. Does he not realize what we are going through?
Then he smiles at us. And then he looks at his colleagues. And says “41”. “41???” “41 out of 60 … internal assessment marks are yet to be added”.
This is all I need to hear. I feel my legs giving away. I hug my dad. “At last! Thank you, God. Thank you”.
The section officer looks at us questioningly. My father tells him that I have qualified the exam.
We are made to wait a little longer while they type out my awards in reply to the application. Then we go back to the examination department. They ask us to come after lunch to collect the corrected mark-sheet.
My father now makes the calls to my sister and my cousin who had kept the secret well. We collect our mark-sheet, go back to the MBA department, and get the corrections registered. And finally we drive off to “The Mall” to celebrate.
My mark-sheet has been corrected. By the grace of God. By some miracle. By some magic, all has been restored for me.
But, the casual attitude of authorities … has left us all wondering … about the fates and lives and careers of all other students. Who knows the 48 that you are getting might actually be 84.