Class of 2021
An DM on my phone interrupts my endless scrolling...
Hey! Result's out, you know?
Yeah, of course! At least you graduated two years back.
No COVID-19 drama.
Yeah, but how much did you score?
If you don't mind me asking.
I scored 96.6%.
But didn't you get, like 89% in 11th?
Yeah, I did. Like everyone.
No one scores awesome in 11th, Mahi.
All of us improve in 12th, right? As did you.
I was not Class of 2021, man.
You guys, you passed with flying colors...
Without taking an exam.
Well, that was a low blow.
It's not like I spread Corona to have my exams cancelled.
I was actually rooting to write the exams.
You guys were really lucky.
No exams, and you got 10 CGPA.
I wish I graduated in '21.
Yeah, because you would love missing out on your senior year.
And not having to go to school for all of class 12.
No farewell, no student council. No last year pictures to take.
Do you really believe you would score that well if you had gone to school?
I don't think so.
There's a vast difference between class 10 and 12.
You almost scored the same, what was it? 97%?
I can't believe you!
We went through our final year behind masks and screens...
And, you're calling me out because I scored well?!
Well, good job, then.
You say you sacrificed so much, hmm?
I don't think that matters.
You worked half as hard as me, and scored better.
How's that fair?
That's not fair.
You don't know how much I worked.
You are assuming that I got these marks for free.
I can't talk to you, Mahi.
I switch off the screen and slam my phone on the bed. It bounces and my heart nearly jumps out of my chest as I narrowly save it from toppling down the edge. I was already doubting myself. I was already wondering if I deserved the marks I got, but when I discovered that Mahi felt the same, the doubt deepened into near belief.
I don't deserve it.
I was plain lucky.
My thoughts are interrupted as my mom swings open the door to my room, "Come, I made your favourite chocolate pancakes, my topper," she says, smiling. She's so proud. She thinks that my marks were my achievement. I don't. Not anymore, at least.
I smile half-heartedly at her and she frowns, "What's wrong?"
A tear escapes my eye and I look on the floor, "What if I didn't deserve the marks I got, Mumma?" I choke on my tears.
"What?! What made you think that?" she says kindly, enveloping me in her arms.
"Mahi told me that I didn't work hard enough to score the marks I got!"
"Who's Mahi to tell you that? I saw you work hard, beta, I know you would have scored as well as you got, if not better. I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself. Nothing else matters, okay?" she tells me, stroking my head. I nod vehemently, pulling away.
"Now, come and devour the chocolate pancakes: they're getting cold!"
I scoff. Of course, my mother believes more in me than I do in myself. Even if I did study my hardest, would I secure the marks I got?
Probably. Probably not.
The self-doubt in my mind is suddenly invaded by the voices of my teachers, friends, and parents. My professor who told me to get a 100 in Physics because he believed I could. My mother who had absolutely no doubt in me. My father who expected a little more than I got.
They believe that I deserve what I scored.
I revisit every time I solved a numerical or mugged the formula up. I remember the times I studied without looking at the clock or even realising that it was after midnight.
I smile widely, and pick up my phone with newfound determination, opening up the screen to text my 'friend'.
You know what, Mahi?
I deserve what I scored, if not more.
I deserve it because I worked for it.