I woke up early on the day of the exams. I read the whole guide book again, checked my pencil case and made sure I have enough pens. Although I was worried that I haven’t really studied much for the exams, there was also an inner peace. If I have to fail, it will happen. There is nothing much I could do about it, after all I wasted my time!.
Amma was in the kitchen packing school lunch for my sisters.
“Amma I am leaving” I spoke to her. She turned around and smiled.
“Good luck Nina”
“Thanks Amma” As I turned to leave I heard Amma saying
“Nina, we haven’t prayed.”
“Liza, Sally, come here. Let us pray before Nina leaves”
My sisters and I stood near Amma and she started to pray
“Dear Lord Jesus, be with Nina, as she writes her exams, Help her to remember everything she studied”
‘Remember everything I studied? I slowly opened my eyes and found Sally trying to control her laughter. Even she knew, it is impossible for the Lord to help me. I am a lost case!
As I walked in to the college, all the girls were busy reading and revising. Some were walking up and down the corridoor doing the last minute revision. Some were going through previous years questions. I felt like a total idiot. I didn’t bring any books with me and I realized my journey from SSLC to Pre-degree was one badly planned trip. I promised myself, never again, will I let myself down!
My last practicals was botany. As I handed over my answer sheet, I felt liberated. I am finally out of BCM college and their silly rules. I can now wear jeans and sleeveless tops, rather, I can be me. I don’t have to follow any rules, because it would make me a better docile Indian woman! I thought of shouting “Yipppee”, But across the corridoor I saw Sister Margaret talking to someone. I noticed that, the stranger was wearing the exact same saree Amma had. Light yellow saree with orange colour flower print. It must be a popular saree! What is even more weird is the stranger did look like my mother.
‘I should get my eyes tested, How can Amma be at my college? Why should she come now? I must be dreaming!’ I didn’t want to speak to Sister Margaret and I thought I might as well avoid her. I turned back and walked towards the staircase by the side of the building. I thought I would take the long and winding route from the back of the college.
That did sound like my mother. ‘What did I do now?’I quickened my pace, hoping that Amma would think I didn’t hear her.
“Nina” I heard Sister Margaret calling my name. The staircase was just 3 feet away from me. I could still run for it and later pretend that I didn’t hear them calling me.
As luck would have it, someone came out from one of the class rooms on the right side and pointed to me
“Sister Margaret is calling you”
Ullu ka patha! I really really really wanted to stick my tongue at her. Why does she have to interfere in other people’s life. I turned around slowly.
“Amma? Oh I didn’t see you. Good afternoon Sister Margaret”
“How was your exams?” Amma asked me
“good, Why are you here Amma?”
“I came to ask about admission for B.Sc”
“Ofcourse for you Nina”
“I am not doing B.Sc” ‘Certainly not in this silly college’, I whispered in my head.
“So you are planning to sit at home?”
“I am planning to write the entrance exam Amma!”
“What if you don’t get admission? You are going to sit at home and waste another year?”
“That is exactly what I am going to do. If I don’t pass the exams, I am going to sit at home and study for the entrance exam.”
Amma looked at Sister Margaret, pointed her hands towards me and spoke ” she is mad” ” There is no way I am going to let her sit at home and waste a year. Can I collect the application for B.Sc now?”
Sister Margaret nodded her head.
I watched Amma and sister Margaret walking towards the office and I walked out. ‘She can get the application and she can join the B.Sc. If my name is Nina Thomas, I will not do B.Sc’.
As I walked home, I was mad. I was mad with that line on my forehead, that made me born as my mother’s child. Even an orphan had a better life than me. As I reached the parade ground, out of no where a man wearing mundu and shirt came and stood right infront of me. He grinned an ugly grin and asked
“Oru chumbanam tharatte?” ( can I kiss you?)
I have taken enough and I screamed at the top of my voice
“eda nainte money, ninte veetillu pennungal illey? Ninte thalleykku kondu kodukkada ninte chumbanam(son of a bitch, go and kiss your own mother)
He was stunned, so was I. I never knew I could scream like that. I watched him bending his head and quickly walking away, I saw few people coming out of the lawyers office. One man still wearing his lawyers coat asked me
“Mole(daughter), What did he tell you?”
“He said he wants to kiss me”
I watched the lawyer pushing the man and asking him “Ain’t you ashamed of yourself? you won’t let girls walk on the street peacefully ah? If I see your shadow anywhere here, I will personally go to the police and make them arrest you”
I didn’t want to stand around, so I walked home. As the realization of what I just did occured to me, I started to feel scared. What if the man comes after me and attack me? What if he pours acid on my face and scar me for the rest of my life? What if he rapes me?. I started to run towards home. Every few feet, I turned to look if any one is following me. I was relieved to see our house. I quickly opened the door, entered the house and shut the door. My heart was beating so fast, I thought, I would die. I realized, why women don’t react to eve teasing in India.. It is easier to react than face the consequences of the reaction..