Well, I guess, the above picture describes the life I've led at school.
The story I am going to tell, is a pretty strange and funny one. With lot's of ego and chauvinism thrown in. To tell the truth, nobody knows this story till date, and I am making it public for literally the first time. (Well, I've already drafted this particular story in my 'Memoirs', though, If I find this version to be worded nicely, I might take this).
So.. Here it goes...
1998 :- There was a science quiz organised by the teachers. The purpose of the quiz was to identify some team members who will go on a science march as representatives of the school science club and then collect the prize from the then Education Minister of the State, Dr. Anbazhagan. Well, none of us, knew the whole story. All we knew was that this was a quiz, that interested folks can attend.
As was our 'friendship' during those days, V and myself readied ourselves for the quiz. In a couple of minutes, all the 'stalwarts' of 8th standard joined us. For me, being the newcomer, it was a slightly nervous time. No.. !! I was not scared of the quiz. I am never scared of them.. I was nervous about proving myself. I had to prove a point. And no matter how close friends V and me were, there was always this academic divide between us. I was after-all, just a new comer...
As our destiny would have it... V and myself were asked to sit on different benches, away from each other. I was asked to sit on the first bench. There was another guy sitting next to me and then there was M sitting next to him, all of us on the same bench. I did not know who this M was, and neither was I interested in knowing.
I was out there to prove a point, wasn't I ?
The quiz started, and I started answering all the questions, one by one, as Dhanlakshmi ma'm started reading out the questions. Then it happened.
The question :-
"How many vertebrae does the human body have ?"
Now, this was a tricky question for me. I got blanked out completely for this one. Trust me, when I say this, but suddenly everything fell silent for me. I couldn't comprehend anything. Then as it came, it passed away. I began hearing the noises around me. The guy sitting next to me whispered,
"Why are you not writing the answer ?"
"I don't know..!!" I whispered back.
"Look, 33 is the answer."
"How sure are you ?"
"M has written it. If he has written it, it must be right".
And so my dear friends, I wrote that answer.
(I still do not know, whether M knows of this fact or not. )
Till date, I do not know, and I do not want to know, what I've done is right or wrong. But that one answer, literally changed my life at my school.
One week after the quiz, Dhanalakshmi Ma'm called up M, V and myself to her room to give us a briefing. She mentioned that V lost out to us by 1 Question, and that M and myself were tied at the same score. V was terribly disappointed at the fact that he lost out. But he actually had faith in my abilities. He did not like M that much and was now actually happy that he was going to witness some real battle. I looked at M's face, and he looked at mine, and we both smiled a sheepish smile. Ma'm said, that she will hold our tie-breaker that afternoon. But I guess, Dhanlakshmi Ma'm was already impressed by what she saw. Here is a new comer, hardly 1 month into academics, and joining the school after Quarterly, out there to prove a point.
That afternoon, was another decisive moment in my life. As M and I took a stance on the balcony to write down our answers, it was evident from the first question, that I held the cards. M didn't know the answer for 3 of the 5 questions, and I guess I answered 4 correctly. The quiz's lone spectator was V. And he was of the opinion that I won, because, M's body language gave him away. He was more depressed than usual that afternoon, and I guess, it would have been perhaps at his lowest, in the evening when the results were announced.
Yes !!! I was selected, to collect the prize on behalf of the school's science club.
Trust me folks, if it wasn't for that particular quiz, I would have been nowhere in school. I did get a lot of opportunities later in my school life, but they were all, built upon the trust and image that I had, with my teachers, especially Dhanalakshmi ma'm. And no, I did not/do not hold any grudges against M, even inspite of the fact that he went around spreading rumours about me. (BTW, he still does it ..)
I just want to tell him one line.. (Pun intended) "Grow up Buddy.."
P.S:- That the minister never arrived for the meeting is altogether another story ! and a pretty interesting one at that.. !! :) Some other day.. probably...