By Shad Hussain
The summer heat of 2011 had gripped the city of Chittagong hard, and showed no signs of mercy. Accompanied with that was irritating humidity, which clung on to my body like a beggar who just would not believe that I have no spare change and does not let go. The cherry on top was the dust that hung on to the air and eventually came into contact with me and created a thin coating of dirt over my face and arms.
“Oh how I hate summers!” I thought to myself as I made my way towards the stairs of the lobby of East Delta University.
I threw a quick glance at my cell phone. It was almost 1:30 PM. I was in a hurry. Lunch break was about to come to an end and the second leg of classes for the day, was just about to begin. Attending these classes was of great importance to me, especially because two days later – the last scheduled class tests for the semester would take place. I chuckled as I crossed a few of my classmates, who were idling away in front of the tea stall, sipping tea and puffing on their cigarettes.
“What would they understand about maintaining a 98% waiver?” I thought to myself.
Riding up the elevator alone, I thought about how this waiver automatically prioritized the factor of maintaining my CGPA, along the lines of eating and even breathing. I thought about the subjects that I had enrolled myself into. I thought of my efforts so far, but most of all, I thought about FIN 201. Scoring a flawless “A” on that subject was really going to require a miracle. And for that to happen easily, I had to land a score of above 94% in the upcoming final class test. This was a task, which history had taught me, was close to impossible for that subject. But the voice at the back of my head kept telling me that I was good with numbers throughout my life. Deep down I knew I could do it.
I always hated attending FIN 201 classes because of the seniors who had enrolled into the subject; again. They never pay attention, disrupt the flow of work, and hamper the concentration of other students. That day I kept grinding my teeth with the lack of patience as I tried to get the professor to solve a mathematical problem, who was trying desperately to solve another problem but could not because of the continuously useless interruption of the seniors. It was only when the professor had shouted at them with all the power she could muster, that they piped down and class resumed. I left the Agrabad Campus that day with a mental plan of how I would allocate my time to study for all the exams of all six courses. It was going to be tough, but my determination was tougher.
For the next two days, time seemed to play with me with a smug look on its face, as it seemed to go by faster than usual. With great effort I rearranged my daily routine in order to make efficient space for my exam preparations. I studied between classes, and made sure I had thoroughly went through almost all the books (as much as possible) related to Human Resource Management, Bangladesh Culture and History, French, Managerial Accounting, Business Communications and last but not the least Finance. I took my books along with me to my students, so as to study there as well, and on the night before the exam I revised and revised all my lessons until I felt that I had a fighting chance the next day.
At 7:30 AM I woke up the next day and squeezed in about two hours of revision for Finance and Business Communications. Skipping breakfast I left the house for the Agrabad Campus at 9:30 AM. Morning traffic was entirely new genre of annoyance that I had to deal with as I commuted my way from Nasirabad Hill View Society to Goshaildanga Agrabad. The first exam was at 10:00 AM and it was Finance; being late in this exam meant and instant “no entry”. I was doomed.
After about forty minutes of turtle paced movement through the dreadful traffic, I had finally arrived at East Delta University. I ran to the elevator, with utmost urgency, which I shared with a few juniors and landed on the 7th floor. Ignoring the incoherent clamor of students, I rushed to room 701 and barged in.
I stood stunned as an empty room with neatly racked desks stared at me. Nobody was there. I checked my watch. I was already over ten minutes late.
“Where was everybody?” I thought to myself.
“Could I have made a mistake in the dates? Had the exam already taken place?”
“No!” I blurted out.
“The exam must be upstairs.”
I ran back out and with thunderous steps hopped two flights of stairs and went to the 8th floor. The make-shift auditorium floor was vacant except for a few students who stood around chatting with each other.
“Where could it be?” I thought once again.
I checked the two class rooms on that floor, all the while looking for any of my class mates, from whom I could extract information on the current events, but I found none. Worried that I had lost my last chance at delivering a marvelous performance in the exam, I made my way back down to the 7th floor and went into the faculty cabins.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I located the Finance professor and inquired about the exam.
“Hasn’t anyone told you? Shad Hussain from the ’08 batch and nine other students called in sick, and so I was forced to cancel the exam.”
I stood there dazed and confused staring blankly at the professor, trying to comprehend the present situation.
“The exam has been rescheduled for day after tomorrow. Make sure you study hard.” She concluded.
Realizing that the effort and energy I had spent the last few days had all gone to waste, I took leave of my professor and went on down the hall. Reaching the library, I thought of the brand new hurdle that lay before me. I thought of how the pressure of studies would have significantly decreased if the exam had taken place today. I thought of the fact that I was actually looking forward to getting over with this exam and how because of Shad Hussain and his friends, that was not going to happen today.
As I sat down on a seat at the corner of the room, I blurted out “I hate those seniors!”