Some incidents become so memorable that they are etched for ever in our minds. Not only that, sometimes those memories make us smile or darken our moods. One such incident that still produces a ”feel good” factor inside me is about my classmate Sunil.
Sunil was never my friend, he was just a classmate, just one among the whole lot. I was in good talking terms with him but we never shared teenage secrets or used to huddle together in the canteen. That was mostly because he was only a mediocre student and due to my academic accomplishments my placement was among the group of bright and meritorious ones. Knowingly or unknowingly, such a division, an invisible yet palpable one, was there in our class based on merits. Now I can understand how illogical and offensive it was but there’s no denial to the fact that it existed.
It was the day of our Maths Unit Test and I had confronted with a serpentine traffic jam as I was going to school in my cycle. It took almost half an hour to get life back to normalcy and when I entered the class it was already 5 minutes late. I was not feeling nervous as Maths was my forte but obviously was tensed. There was only a single seat in the room which was left unoccupied, a seat at the last row beside Sunil. I immediately occupied it and started working on my paper. Our teacher warned me that I would not be given any extra time so I better be fast.
Everything was going fine and I finished my Algebra and Arithmetic sections. I was solving the Geometry part when I got stuck with a theorem! It was a tricky one and after two failed attempts I could feel beads of sweat on my forehead. Time was running out quickly and I was nervous and worried as well. Suddenly my eyes fell on Sunil’s answer sheet. He was working on the same theorem and I couldn’t believe my eyes…..that he was actually solving it correctly! He was so engrossed with his paper that he didn’t even notice that the “good” boy sitting beside him was silently copying that particular problem from him. That was the last of my sums and I quickly submitted my paper and came out. A tinge of guilt was there because I never had done such things before in my life but I consoled myself saying that such kind of ”hall collection” was a common practice.
The result was to be announced after a few days. I was sure that this time too I’m going to score 100% as always. In the Maths class the teacher came in with a somber face. He announced that all the students had failed to solve that particular tricky theorem of Geometry but two, Sunil and me! The very announcement gave me a jolt and something inside me told that I was getting the credit for something I had not done. But to my chagrin, that was just tip of the iceberg. The teacher directly charged Sunil that he had copied that problem from me.
“I noticed you and I clearly remember that on the exam day both of you sat side by side” Mr Lall’s voice thundered as he pointed his index finger towards me,”This boy is particularly very good in Maths and never scores any less than 100%, so we can safely conclude that it’s you Sunil who has copied that sum from his answer sheet”!!!
I looked at Sunil, he was looking at me too. He didn’t say anything but I saw a strange sadness in his eyes.
I had no idea what to do. But I could feel the guilt….that was no more a ‘tinge’ but the fangs of guilt were hurting me and my conscience! I couldn’t take it any more. I stood up and confessed. There was pin-drop silence in the class. Mr Lall remained silent for a few minutes and then said,”Though what you’ve done is a serious offence but still I would like to thank you for your brevity, that you’ve finally told the truth….and Sunil, I’m sorry for what I’ve said to you earlier…you’ve showed great talent this time, keep it up”.
From that day, we became friends. It took a lot of courage and strength for me to come up with the truth. But if I failed, I would never have been able to face myself, my soul. Such is the power of truth. It makes your conscience cleaner, your will stronger and your soul purer.
The latest advertisement of Kinley Mineral Water tell us the same…..the satisfaction of telling the truth. Watch the advertisement to feel kitna chain hota hai na sachchai mein !