It was the summer of 2016, and one of the worst I had experienced till date. Long and drawn-out, that whole summer was an echo of scorching heat and laziness, and the summer heat was getting to me much more than it had ever in my childhood. Perhaps it was because of the grey pollution that colored every part of Delhi like a canvas or the angry, tired faces I saw wherever I went, but I felt myself being suffocated in the holidays following the end of my school.

So far, my post-school life had been fashionably mundane. I had taken up some courses and travelled by myself for the first time. I realized that in Delhi, we all love complaining as much as we love air conditioners. And that most Delhites don’t care an awful lot about pleasing others. Perhaps, it was my perception fogging my line of view, whose cause that summer could’ve been one of many – central being the nagging reminder of my class twelfth boards result yet to come.

The boards result, in India, has, for many years, been treated as some kind of court judgment that determines the entire trajectory one’s life will take: I can name enough jewelry-clad aunties and uncles with long moustaches who told me that once you get yourself a good boards result, your entire life is “set.” This oft-quoted statement is an obvious misconception, but none of it lowers the fear and anxiety that ails the students in the pre-result days.
So, when I woke up on the morning of May 21, butterflies in my stomach and definitely trying too hard to act like I did not care, I can most certainly admit I gave all the care that in the world. Reading the fact that I received a score of 85 in History, which was one of my best subjects in school, you can safely assume my tears did not stop. For the longest time, I’d assumed I would end up at St. Stephen’s College, and the dream had been so within my reach that I could imagine myself in it, surrounded by the walls, open lawns, and the quiet. Yet, I got 85 all the same, hence reducing my average percentage to an amount wherein Stephens was out of my reach.

Perhaps it was my idea of college as some kind of Eden, a place where I could escape from all the bad, dark things that I experienced in school, a place which was meant to save me. I had put all my hopes in it, eyelash wishes and fountain coins and all, and the dream, on my side, was all but shattered. So, when I ended up going to Hansraj College instead, my hopes were at their lowest, but there are times you realize that perhaps that is for the best. I wouldn’t have known a more exceptional time of my life if I had let myself be disappointed again due to my far-reaching ambitions.

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