I Looked Forward To Seeing Him Every Day During Exams But I Didn't Know His Secret: I Wish I'd Asked

Setu Sharma Setu Sharma in Life Is Tough on 23 June, 2017

Abstract Algebra: the second toughest exam. We had three days to prepare for it, this confusing, theoretical subject. And we were clueless, it was visible on our faces too. I was in the final year of my graduation and it was a hot summer.

I was in the middle of writing one of my answers when I heard a low voice behind me.

He was tall, fair and very good looking. He was asking me to help him with some of the objective answers. The questions were for 20 marks; being the topper, I was too scared to turn and help a complete stranger, but somehow, I managed to share five answers with him.

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When this terrible exam came to an end, he found me and thanked me for being his savior. The next day, just before our Sanskrit exam, he wished me luck. Oddly, it felt really, really good.

After my exam, I found myself waiting for him. He came over, with a guitar on his shoulder and a smile on his face. He must have done well.

We spoke for a while and went our own ways, only to meet him at the same place the next day. We spoke about the exams coming up and how he couldn’t prepare well for it as he had to prepare for his auditions. He wanted to be a singer. He told me his parents would kill him if they ever found out but, his eyes were full of dreams.

On my request, he sang for me, “Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…Yahaan kal kya ho kisne jana.” He was so shy, but his voice, was beautiful. It truly was a gift from God. We wished each other luck again and headed out to finish our exams for the day.

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The next day, on our physics exam, something was different. When I saw him, he was anxious. His eyes were sad.

The exam took over my mind, the paper was out of the syllabus and all the questions looked alien to me. I sneaked a glance behind, he was staring at the question paper too: his pen, not moving.

Two and a half hours quickly passed and we had only thirty minutes to finish. He was asking me to help him with the objective answers again, but this time, the invigilator caught us and threatened to throw us both out. 

We met after the exam and all he said was “Sorry” and left.

The next day, our last exam: everyone was nervous but excited at the same time. I waited for him at our place… maybe he was running late? It was time to head in. I turned around a couple of times, hoping to see his face sitting behind me. Maybe his seat was changed? Or did he have an audition today that he absolutely couldn’t miss? None of my theories turned out to be true. 

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We were all told to assemble in the University ground after the exam. Our Director had a message for us; a condolence message,

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Rohit Malik’s passing. May our Lord bless and comfort his family during this time of grief.” I overheard a conversation between some of his friends, “He should have waited for the results.”

And that’s when I figured it out. He killed himself because he was scared that he would fail. I can’t stop myself from wondering, what if I had managed to give him those answers, would he still have been standing here next to me, singing in that beautiful voice of his?

Editor's Note:

Share this story if you know someone, or have yourself, been under the stress of exams. Life will get difficult, and sometimes it'll start when you least expect it. Find someone to talk to. Be there when someone needs to talk.