Friday, November 14, 2008

Pratibha gets her licence (2008)

I recently came to realise what a disability it is to be a topper all your life. The problem with it is that failure destroys you. It paralyses you. life comes to a stop. you don't know what to do.
Now, on the other hand, look at me. What is failure .. I ask you? I don't know what it feels like to fail. Somewhere between the time in kindergarten when I was given my first 'quiz' and the time I got my answers back, I first met that shady rogue called failure. I got to see him so many times that, by the time I crossed over to primary school, he dint bother me much. By middle school, I had forgotten that feeling completely. Now I don't know how it feels to fail. An added benefit of this is that I got really good at studying just enough to pass an exam.

Pratibha, on the other hand, belongs to the former category. Last week we went to take her learner's permit at the department of motor vehicles, here in California. This requires her to take a driver's test. She dint bother to prepare much. Now, when a girl 'doesn't prepare' all she does is go over every line of the drivers manual and take all the practice questions she could get. So I wasn't too concerned. It got to the point where she was teaching me how to drive in Calif. Unfortunately, at the test centre she copped a tough one, and failed by a single point. Came outside all upset and sad. I dint feel too bad about all of that. Never felt like that after failing a test you know. So I led her to the car trying to make small talk.

Me (looking at the questions): "Tough luck .. you got a hard one. I would have failed this too"
Sonu: "It was the toughest one, the lady at the counter told me so"
Me (wondering what would constitute an adequate sympathetic noise) : hmm
Sonu: "She offered to let me take the test again"
Me: "oh! .. and did you?"
Sonu: " No .. I want to study more"
Me(now beginning to feel bad): what do you mean study more .. there's just one book .. you studied it
Sonu: "Nikku .. I failed the test"
I tried to look dignified and understanding ..but I couldn't digest the significance of that statement. She failed by a point on the toughest question paper.. why did she have to study more.
Me: " er .. hmm .. .. you do realise there's no prize for getting the most questions correct.
Sonu: "oh"
Me: "Let's do it"

Ok .. it wasn't that easy, but I got her to go back and she got her permit.