When I held my marks card, all of a sudden I became somebody else. Till now I was just a deaf and dumb and blind snake. All of a sudden, I found my venom. I knew I could bite. I finally learned, I am indeed Methran Thambi’s grand daughter and I will get what I wanted. I am capable.
My mother and sister were discussing about my pre-degree admission. It was no longer, which parallel college, I would be joining. It was now, should she join the CMS college or BCM college?
“I am joining CMS college” I announced
“No, you are not” Maria spoke
“You can’t tell me, what I should do”
“You are 8 years younger to me, you will listen to what I tell you to do. Appa isn’t here and I am in charge”
That is when I realized, I actually have a father and he doesn’t even know, I scored distinction. I contemplated, should I write to him and tell him? Then I thought, Appa never bothered to write a single letter in the last three and a half years. I don’t exist for him. Why should I waste my energy and write to him?
“You are not in charge of my life Maria. I want to study in CMS college and I am going to do it”
“No, Amma. We can’t let her. She will get spoiled there and fall in love with some weirdo instead of concentrating on her studies”
“What is your problem Maria? You studied in a co-ed school? You didn’t fall in love with anyone? Or is it that, nobody fell in love with you?” It was my turn to mock at my sister and I was really enjoying my new found thrills
“How dare you Nina? No wonder God created you deaf and dumb and blind and ugly”
“Yeah, but I still scored 90 marks more than you, so Imgaine, how much I would have scored, if I wasn’t deaf and dumb and blind?”
I could see that my sister was stunned, I also knew this would be the last time, she would call me deaf and dumb and blind.
The next morning, I got up and got dressed.
“Where are you going Nina?”
“Just over there Amma!”
“Over where?” Amma raised her voice
“Over there Amma” I said it in the same tone my mother told me the same sentence all the while, when I asked her.
“You are not going anywhere, without telling me” Amma was mad
“Well, I have many things to do today and I can’t tell you exactly where I am going”. I started to walk towards the main gate
“Don’t you dare come back to my house. If you can’t live here following my rules, then don’t come back”
“Too bad Amma, I will leave when it is time for me to leave, not a day before that!”
I walked towards CMS college. I needed to get the application. I was just so happy. I could finally do and say what I always wanted to. I was suddenly the Maria of ‘sound of music’. I felt like dancing and singing at the top of the voice. I really wanted to sing Climb every mountain But I didn’t know the verses.
CMS college was the heaven I always thought I would inherit. Beautiful colonial style buildings with white walls, red tiled roofs. Majestic cassurina trees everywhere and the best part of it all, there were plenty of handsome boys. After studying in an all girls school for the last 5 years, I was ready for a co-ed life.
There were lots of boys sitting on their bikes near the entrance. They started to whistle as I entered the college. 2 years ago, I would have got mad, today, I was enjoying every bit of attention that I received. I wanted to look at the faces of all the boys, but I was a bit apprehensive, So I looked down and walked fast.I collected my application form.
I was hungry. I had 2 Rs with me and I walked to the Jewel Box snack center in the Baker school compound. The snack center is run by the women belonging to the CSI church. Most of them knew me from the church.
“Aha, who is this? I am so glad to see you Nina.I heard that, you scored the highest marks for SSLC in our church this year”
“Yes Aunty” I was beaming
“How did you do it Nina?”
“I studied aunty. I revised and revised everyday”
“did you go for tuition?”
“yeah, I went for Maths tuition”
“hmmm” She nodded her head, as though she wanted justification, that my hard work alone didn’t enable me to score good marks. “So what college are you going to join?”
“Are you taking both group 1 and 2?”
“No aunty, I am only taking group 2 science. I want to become a Doctor”
“But Nina, you should take the additional maths also, you can write both engineering and medicine entrance exam”
“No aunty. I don’t want to do engineering. I hate maths”
I ordered a plate of samosa. I had no money for a drink, so I had a glass of tap water. After eating the samosa, I went to the main public library. I had my father’s library card. I wanted to borrow Mills and Boon. There were 100’s of Mills and Boon books, I wasn’t sure, which one I would read first. I picked the author with the name starting with A.. Anne Mather. I borrowed 4 books.
When I reached home in the evening, I knew there won’t be any food. So I didn’t even bother to look for the food. I took 2 eggs from the fridge and made myself a nice omlette. Liza was staring at me
“Do you want some?” I asked her
She looked at me, at my plate and at Maria.
“You don’t need Maria’s permission to eat food Liza. Come, take some” I divided the omlette in to two and gave her half. I knew Liza was scared to eat.
“Open your mouth” I ordered. I fed my sister her share of the omlette.
I filled the CMS college application form. I waited for Amma to come back.
When she came home I asked her
“Will you please sign the application form?”
“No. You aren’t going to CMS college”
“Ok, I will sign on your behalf”
“Amma, see what books she borrowed from the library?” Maria came to the dining room with the evidence. 4 Anne Mather books.
“What is your problem Maria? You read them too!”
“Not at the age of 15. You can’t read Mills and Boon at 15 Nina”
“Too bad. I will read what I want to.”
“Amma, do something, she is getting spoiled” Maria pleaded
“Nina, give me back the library card” Amma ordered
“No Amma, I won’t, it is my father’s. he gave it to me, before he left. Are you going to sign my application or not?” I asked Amma again
I really don’t know what happend, Amma actually signed my application form.
“What are you doing Amma?” Maria shouted at her
“Let her do what she wants” Amma shrugged her shoulder
I wanted to do a dance of victory. I couldn’t stop grinning.
“Nina, I got the application form from the BCM college(Women’s college). Put in your application there too, just incase you didn’t get your admission in CMS college.”
I didn’t want to fight with Amma, not when she signed my application form for the CMS college. So I agreed.
“Apply for the Maths and science”
“ok” I replied. I knew I would get admission in CMS college, so I didn’t bother what course Amma wanted me to join at BCM college. I would have even agreed to the home science course, if she had asked me.
2 weeks later, I got the admission card from the BCM college. I waited and waited for the admission card from CMS college. It never came.
“May be you didn’t get admission, because you are a Jacobite Christian Nina. They prefer to give admission to CSI students”
I couldn’t believe my bad luck. I scored such good marks and I didn’t get admission in the college I wanted to join, just because I belong to a different church. I joined the BCM college with a heavy heart.
2 days before my college started, I decided to organize the clothes in the godrej cupboard. Amma’s sarees were all in a mess. I took all the sarees out from the cup board. I removed the news paper lining at the bottom of the shelf. Something pink colour fell down as I removed the newspaper. I bend down and picked it up. I saw my own hand writing. It was my admission card from the CMS college. I was asked to report 3 weeks ago, if I didn’t join, my seat would go to someone else next in the line.
The 35 paise Gandhiji stamp was looking at me and laughing
“You bodoh(stupid), even after you scored distinction in all the subjects, you still fell for your mother’s schemes”