I thought of fighting with Amma for cheating me like this. But there was no point. I am not going to get the admission, even if I go to the college today.I was plain stupid to have believed my mother’s reasonings. It was my fault.
I kept the admission card, back in the cupboard, exactly where Amma kept.
As I folded my clothes, I realized that I don’t have any decent clothes. I still have the same old 7 skirts my father got for me 4 years ago. I am going to study in the most posh college and without decent clothes, my life is going to be miserable.
“What are you doing with the clothes” My mother was screaming. I didn’t even hear her coming in.
“I am just folding the clothes Amma”
“Who asked you to touch my sarees?” Amma pushed me away from the cupboard. I thought of telling her, ‘oh don’t worry Amma, I saw the admission card already, if you were smart, you would have burned it, like the way,Akkachi and I burned the letter tante Ida send’ I looked at my mother and wondered, between the two of us, who is the biggest fool?.
“Amma, I need new clothes”
“For what, you are just going to do pre-degree, not joining any fashion show”
“Amma, all the students will have good clothes and I will look out of place”
“If all the students jump infront of a train, will you jump too?”
“Then, why did you buy new clothes for Maria, when she went to the engineering college?”
“Aiyyah how can you compare engineering college to pre-degree? For heavens sake, your sister went to a professional college, not some stupid local college”
Maria was sitting at the dining table and watching us, I looked at my sister
“Why don’t you tell Amma, that I need good clothes? You know how everyone will laugh at me”
“Oh Nina, it is just 2 years, You should not have friends who judge you for what you wear. They are not worth having as friends. Besides, in 2 years you will do engineering or medicine, and you can certainly buy new clothes then”
It was unbelievable, my gold bangle was sold to buy new clothes for my sister and I, the greatest idiot suggested that.
There was still hope for me. I scored the highest mark at the church. I will get the 100 Rs reward this year. Enough to buy 2(cheap) dresses. I waited for the sunday service, where they felicitate the winner. That morning, I wore the purple skirt and yellow blouse. I combed my hair and clipped it with slides. I tried to practice, how I would say my thank you a 1000 times standing infront of the mirror. Should I bow the Malaysian way, or should I shake hands with the priest? May be I should just say a simple thank you.
After the service was over, the priest walked back to the Altar
“I have an announcement to make. We have a winner for this year’s highest SSLC scorer. Every year, our children are scoring higher and higher marks for the SSLC. Soon we will have people scoring 600 out of 600.”
Everyone was laughing. I felt shy.
The priest continued
“This year, I am proud to announce that Jacob Thomas, son of Thomas Karikaale is the winner. He scored 479 marks out of 600.”
That certainly didn’t make sense. I scored 529, which is certainly more than 479. I watched Jacob, wearing a long sleeve white shirt and black trousers, walking up to the altar to collect the cheque from the Priest. Everyone stood up and clapped their hand.
I was fuming. I know I submitted all the certificates,the church asked me to. So there couldn’t have been a mistake. As soon the priest reached his office, I went to him
“Acho, I scored 529 marks. How come I didn’t get the award”
“Oh Nina, I am sorry, I forgot to let you know, you are ineligible for the award, because you are a jacobite christian”
“jacobite Christian? I was a member of the CSI choir for the last 4 years, I represented the CSI sunday school for all the competitions and now you tell me that, I didn’t get the award because I am a jacobite?”
“Nina, I can’t do anything. I have to follow the rules”
I didn’t bother to argue. As I walked out of that church that day, I understood, everything is a myth. Someone who attend a pentecostal church, can still get the award from the CSI church, while I, who is half jacobite, half anglican and attended the CSI church for 4 years was not eligible for the award, because of my Jacobite link. I have not even seen the inside of the jacobite church for four years.
I was disgusted with the way I was treated, I promised myself, I will never step my foot inside the CSI church again more importanly God and I, we parted amicably. I don’t beleive in a God, who expects me to wear different costumes.