For graduation it is mandatory to select an optional language. While most of my friends had chosen our mother tongue Malayalam, I opted for Hindi as I thought it was easier to get passed. I also wanted to make a different move too.
Eventually, I came to know that the different move I had made is making all the difference. Hindi classes were not as easy as I thought. Its standard was higher than that of higher secondary level and also hard to learn. I lost interest in studying Hindi and began to skip classes. I spend those class hours either in library or in the college canteen without even caring what is going on in the class.
Even though, I was a ‘guest’ student in Hindi class, I was Hindi teacher’s pet. She always advised to study well and also warned not to miss the classes otherwise I will surely lose the exam. Wholeheartedly, I had taken her warning and hadn’t ever attended a single Hindi exam during those three years of graduation! But the truth is that even had I attended it, I wouldn’t have passed. In fact, Hindi got blanketed under lethargy and fun.
I still remember those Hindi examination days during which without even entering the hall, I used to spend my precious time either in my friend’s bike garage, movie hall or in bar. Actually, those unwanted activities provided some sort of escapism.
As my attendance rate was low, I was barred from attending two semester examinations. So, during the last semester exam, I had to clear around 18 papers including Hindi. Again I showed the same lethargic attitude and skipped Hindi. Fortunately all the papers got cleared but the four Hindi papers remained without passing.
After my regular graduation classes were over, I had joined a diploma course. As I was ‘busy’ with my diploma classes and ‘extra curricular activities’, I couldn’t give much attention to Hindi again. After completing diploma, I decided to join the armed forces and started preparing for Combined Defense Services Examination (CDSE). Minimum qualification for joining Army is graduation but I won’t be a graduate unless I clear Hindi papers.
It was a real challenge. After opting Hindi as my optional language, it is for the first time I’m taking it as a serious affair. I started going for special classes to mug up the load of four semesters. My new Hindi teacher helped me a lot to understand the difficult words and confusing phrases.
On April 2007, I entered the examination hall well prepared. I had seen some of my friends who were still struggling with their arrear papers. I was so glad to see at least some people in similar plight as mine.
Two days. Four exams. It was a very exciting experience as it had been for a very long time since I had written an exam well prepared. My defense examination and master’s program are hanging on Hindi paper results. So, the most restive and tension filled days had begun: awaiting results.
After two and a half months of prolonged waiting and anticipation, the D-day had dawned with an anticlimax. Out of four Hindi papers, one got stuck and remaining three got cleared.
As a result, I couldn’t join for master’s degree. I had only one option nothing other than preparing for CDSE. After CDS examination, again in October 2007, I got the next chance to attend Hindi exam and I wrote it well.
Although I had successfully cracked CDSE, Hindi’s condition was as same as last attempt. I failed again! To compound the situation, somebody told that due to the failure in Hindi, I couldn’t even attend the Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview. Some how, it got settled.
Semester exam in April 2008. My last chance to clear Hindi. This time I entirely changed my strategy. I prepared well by writing each and every question in the textbook. After preparing for two months by writing and mugging up, and under great pressure, I entered the hall. Mean while, I came to know that all my colleagues have passed out of the college and I’m the last man standing! Once even the college receptionist sarcastically told that, “Why you are coming again and again here like a school kid for writing this silly Hindi exam?” Little bit ashamed of myself, I took pen by firmly deciding in mind that this would be my final Hindi exam. Anyway, exam was comparatively easy and I had written well by filling as much papers I could. Success is imminent but uncertainty prevailed.
Today, though I’m experiencing an inexpressible bliss and satisfaction, I strongly feel that, something is missing somewhere. It doesn’t need any thorough introspection for me to understand what is missing. Undoubtedly, the missing factor is the Hindi challenge. It may look simple or silly to others if I say that it took two years to pass my graduation optional language paper. But it was not an easy going affair for me. Those two years and especially Hindi papers taught me a lot of things in life. I understood the meaning of hard work and the prominence of patience. It was a real challenge and also a ‘speed breaker’ of my carefree academic life. It made me taste the bitterness of failure and finally, the feeling of real accomplishment. Moreover, it is an end of a span in my life which taught me that there are no failures in life; only lessons. I really miss you, my dear Hindi!