The very touch of an answer paper erupted in Rishi, a joy. It was not as if he had got something unexpected (like 92/100), it was just a simple happiness that you feel when your prediction goes exactly as predicted. Like a basket ball shot going into a hoop.

Rishi had expected 4, he got 4. His partner got 8. His friends 2,6, and 18 respectively. The topper got 45 and was one of the handful of people who passed. The test was that tough. A sort of a technique that good schools focused on academic brilliance conduct a few months before the boards in order to remind the child, that things aren’t as easy as they seem. Even though, eventually the boards that matter are actually easier.

The good intentions of the school however did not hinder the single digit heroes from celebrating.

“How much did you get?”,

“18.”

“Fuck you, dude. How come you got double digits.”

Rishi on the other hand made a different observation.

“Saala, if we add up all of our marks we still cannot pass. 38 aata hai!”

This piece of information even though at first eliciting a laugh, switched inside them a realization that the boards are not very far. But, what’s switched on can be switched off, and these heroes were expert at it. They went back to celebrating their loss. Or victory. Whichever way you look at it.

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