“You are reading a NOVEL?” Shylaja was staring at me as though I was committing the worst crime on planet Earth.
“Yeah” Do you have a problem with that? I thought of asking her.
“You finished all the revision?”
“No? But..” She was suddenly lost for words.
I looked at her and smiled. I knew my smile would annoy her even more. But I just couldn’t resist.
“I will never understand you” She lifted her hands in mock surrender and stormed off.
I looked at the book in my hand. The cover had a picture of curly red ribbon pierced by a knife and a drop of blood was dripping from the tip of the knife.
Was that an ominous sign?
Am I deliberately destroying my life?
It occurred to me that I really need serious Psychiatric evaluation. How else can I understand why I do things the way I do? No sane student would read a novel less than three weeks prior to Internal exams. Everyone knows it is safer to score good marks in Internals than taking a risk in External exams. Internals are marked by our own college staff who knows you and would be much more lenient. It is not the same with externals, where your marks directly depend on the good mood of the person who is marking your answer sheet.
Ninakku muzhu vatta ” ( you are crazy). .
“madness runs in your father’s family” I could her Amma’s words.
Suddenly I was scared.
I was so close to achieving my dreams and I didn’t want to end up in a mental institution.
I got up quickly from my bed and opened my cup board. I kept the novel right at the back, underneath all my clothes. I didn’t want to see the book. I didn’t want the book to tempt me.
I closed the cupboard and leaned on it.
All I wanted at that moment was a break. Away from everyone and everything. I wanted to be stranded in an island with my books. I didn’t want money, I didn’t want fame. I just wanted to read. I imagined myself living in a remote island. I could watch the fish swim in the ocean. I could watch the storms coming in. I could watch the sunset and I could lay down in my hammock and read.
‘But you need food’ Sensible one spoke.
‘No problem, I would grow what I need’
She started to laugh.
‘Ok, I will have a boyfriend who has a green thumb. He can grow what veg we need’
‘Where are you going to find such a boy friend?’ She asked.
‘Don’t know. But I am sure there must be a guy who is like me somewhere on this earth’
‘Like you in what way?’
‘You know, someone who has insatiable curiosity, someone who likes to read, someone who can be happy with what he has, someone who can grow vegetables, because he knows I can kill any plants by my mere presence’
Sensible one was still laughing.
‘You laugh. But I know I will find him one day’
I walked to my bed and sat down. I looked at all the text books ( borrowed from seniors). I had so much to read and I was really suffering from serious case of starting trouble.
I took the Microbiology text book. Read the title, all the stuff written on the second page ie when was it published, how many revisions, publisher’s name etc etc.
Then i flipped the pages and noted the important sections the owner of the book had already highlighted.
Then I held the book in my hand to see how much it weighed approximately. Then I remembered the harvest festival at the Ascension church, Kottayam and how my favourite neighbour won the cake by guessing correctly how much the cake weighed. I had helped her carry the cake home, hoping she would offer me a slice of that orange colour iced cake. I had never seen an Orange colour cake until that day. All the caked sold at Best Bakery has white icing. Once I did see a yellow colour cake, but it was a wedding cake, so it is not counted.
She didn’t offer me a slice of cake.
I remembered walking back home cursing my stupid luck that didn’t tell me the exact cake weight. It I had guessed it correctly, I would have won the cake.
I remembered going to her house and telling her that I got admission to do medicine. She didn’t congratulate me. Instead she asked me, if I was doing the right thing by going to medical college with just two years of English education. She suggested that I should do BSc first and then apply for medicine.
I suddenly felt the urge to show her that with just two years of English education I could still do Medicine.
I opened the book and started to read chapter 1.
I studied till dinner time. I was just about to go to the mess when Anitha and all other mallu students walked in to my room along with Aparna and Shylaja.
“did you hear?” Anitha asked me
“Daddy is back”
“huh? I thought he is not writing the exams this time”
“Not that Daddy, the new one”
“new one? Which one?”
“That Naga guy, who owns that flashy bike. I heard rumours that he was in love with someone, that too from our college and she ditched him for another guy”

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