If you're playing poker, deftly winning one hand after another, there will soon be a time when luck will desert you and you will start losing badly. If you've been getting a superbly high GPA in your previous semesters, there may soon come a time when it plummets to shockingly low levels (sound effect: nerds gasping in horror). When Headband retired to God knows what forsaken corner of the world, I heaved a sigh of relief. I expected things to go smoothly for a while, but like all good things come to an end, so did this interval of peace.
Yesterday, Bilal and I were teaching the students as usual when Frustrating Aunty walked in. I hardly looked up, but she made a beeline towards him and started explaining something in an embarassed manner. Minutes later, Bilal scooted over to where I was busy mulling over fake compounds and modifiers.
'She's an old student of ours....has studied for four months and STILL hasn't given the GRE," Bilal rolled his eyes.
I just shrugged and made my way over to the table where she was sitting. Not that I was bothered- not giving the GRE as planned wasn't really a crime.
Plain looking, clad in a black abaya, she looked like a serious student. After introducing myself, I casually asked her why she hadn't given the GRE last time.
She looked at me attentively and heaved a sigh of despondence. 'Miss, ab kya bataon (yes, it is freaky when a woman ten years older than you calls you Miss), I was teaching at that time, and I wasn't able to devote as much time to prep. But now I've left the job, I colleague of mine has taken over, and here I am. Oh and I just have till October 7 to give the paper,' she beamed happily.
I gave her a faltering smile, all the while thinking er, there's no need to get so happy about that. Freaky over-enthusiastic lady.
'That's hardly three weeks from now,' I frowned. ' You need to be done with Math and English by then.'
The ridiculously huge smile on FA's face wobbled. Just a teeny weeny bit.
'But I remember all the words,' she perked up. 'I just completed a test right now, and I got 18 out of 20 right!'
Apparently Frustrating Aunties think that knowing the meanings of eighteen words out of twenty merits them a Nobel Prize. For Synonym Guessing.
If only over-enthusiastic aunty had given me something to be enthusiastic about in return. But my hopes were soon to be dashed. Like a body flung over the side of a cliff, battered into a gazillion bloody pieces.
Frustrating Aunty began reading a Reading Comprehension passage. Ten minutes elapsed. My pencil impatiently beat a staccato on the wooden table. Ultimately, we started on the questions.
'Read the question, and then revert back to that particular section of the passage,' I suggested, as she skimmed through the whole of it with a panicked expression.
Eons passed. I looked at the walls. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at the seconds hand merrily ticking away in the wall clock. I scowled at Bilal shooting me sympathetic glances over his shoulder.
Just when I was about to die from extreme boredom, FA motioned me over. Exhaling sharply, I hunched over her book and asked 'Yes?'
She looked at me as if the question she was about to ask me posed one of the most riddling dilemmas known to mankind. 'Should I read the question before I read the concerned paragraph or vice versa?'
I looked upwards, hoping something would come down and smite me there and then. A piece of yellowed plaster hung precariously from the ceiling, but decided to stay put. No such luck.