“Next we’re going to study HVZ reaction. Does anybody know what HVZ expands to?”
“Hell” shouted out a boy, probably cursing chemistry, I thought. But he wasn’t.
“You’re right, continue”, said the teacher.
“Hell-Volhard-Zelinsky”, completed the whiz amid curious glances from the opposite gender.
“Hell”, I thought.
Life was miserable. I went home just to sleep – the rest of the time I am either at school or some worthless private tuition centre trying to gulp down as much data as possible. But this class was different – the chemistry tutor just cared about the brainy spectacled species in the front row and never wandered his sight beyond them. I stayed safe in one of the shabby back benches, hurling out my creativity onto a piece of paper.
“This reaction is very important from the exam-point-of-view. Study all the conversions properly. We’ll see next class”, finished the tutor.
I walked out of the dimly lit lecture hall to the brightness of the outside world. My thoughts were halted momentarily as I heard some giggles from behind. “Sounds girlish”, I thought. Turning around, I saw a battalion of girls (in various up-to-the-minute outfits) giggling at ‘me’? No, they were not. Why should they even bother to look at me? To them, I was not even a joker, but a loser.
Next destination: My school
I entered the sparsely populated classroom of mine and occupied my seat. The English teacher was ready with the Macbeth text.
MACBETH. They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But bear-like I must fight the course.
The line struck me. Yes, Shakespeare was right. I have been tied to a stake and cannot escape from the clutches of this devilish society. Why on earth should I go for IIT coaching just because my friends go there? Why should I be forced to study, study and study when my real worth lies in something else? Why should I be thrashed like a stray dog for not knowing what is the industrial manufacturing method of ozone?
I am forced to do what I don’t like. “I should fight this system”, I thought.
The English teacher became aware of my trepidation. “Arun, if you are not interested in the class, please leave the room”, shouted the teacher.
With that, I was forced to make my way to the Principal’s parlour.
(This article was published in The Loyolite 2009, Annual Magazine of Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram.)