The final bell rings, the examiner’s voice echoes through the room ‘Keep your pens down’ – it is almost like she is asking you to keep your gun down!
The paper is taken from your hands, its gone………..and that’s when you realize that its all over. All those months of studying, of frantically making notes (most of which you did not have time to read that morning), all those hours spent in class, the eternity you spent at the desk, mugging, learning – culminates into these last three hours, and it is all over!! You are free, free to do as you like.
The battle has ended, peace has returned, and though you don’t know whether you won or not, you are just happy that it is over, finally, wonderfully, gloriously, remarkably, unbelievably over.The long walk through the forest has ended, the long night is over, as is the steep climb, now all left to do is drop our burdens and breathe in the pure, serene air of freedom and wonder where next shall you journey, which college, which course, so on and so forth. But maybe before carrying forward, a backward glance at the road you have covered. True that there thorns and burrs all over it, but there were also roses. Roses, whose smell you are gonna miss.
Today my higher-secondary exams ended (stating it explicitly, just in case you didn’t get it), and as I stood in the school hallway with my fellow veterans, discussing the gruesome war and the fierce attacks of books, I remember the first time I walked in through these gates which I would be crossing today for the last time. Shy, inhibited, scared but determined I had entered, and leave a new person. Along the way, I have made wonderful friends, some rivals too, but then life is only half glass full. This will probably be the last time we all will stand together under the same roof. Everyone is all smiles today, discussing their vacation plans and exchanging promises to keep in touch. I will never sit in this classroom again; never again shall we sit in the library talking in hushed tones, under the baleful glare of the librarian, who every now and then hisses like a snake at you; no more standing in the long line at the canteen haggling with the lady behind the counter over change. I will not walk down these familiar paths again the days triumphs and regrets still fresh in our minds. The ice-cream parlor – the haunt of the school children, the stairs where we would hide after bunking classes. The jokes shared, the secrets confided, the stories, the gossip, the scandals, the guffaws in class and the elaborate lies woven to fool the teachers – all are now just a bouquet of nostalgia.
In the end, I don’t know what marks I will get or what college I will get into, and I don’t have the faintest whiff of where I am going to end up in life, but what I do know that I am going to miss these times. The biggest irony is till yesterday, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Now, I wish it could have continued forever………….
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