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The Day I Made An Excuse That Almost Failed
The year was 2006 and our 12th board exam was around the corner. We were taking tuitions for our weakest subject and strongest enemy maths. We had to cycle about 4 km every day for tuition.
In those days, the home environment was terribly strict. Our parents would never miss an opportunity to remind us that we had to study hard for the board exams. On the other hand, we were as carefree as ever. Due to this strict attitude of our parents, we used to stay at home and try to spend as much time as possible outside for enjoyment, away from books. My friend, Vinesh (aka Vinna) and I lived in a neighborhood (or sector, as it is called in my hometown). So we always used to go to teaching and come together on bicycles.
We would arrive an hour or more ahead of schedule and return late to kill as much time as possible outside the danger zone, which was our homes. As an added benefit, our parents may think we are spending too much time on math because it is difficult. It was a great relief that we were not given a mobile phone till then.
On our way there was a railway crossing which was famous for being always closed to vehicles due to the high frequency of trains on that line (now they have built an over bridge over it).
However, as can easily be expected from impatient Indians like us, everyone and everything except cars and other heavy vehicles will pass under the post with little difficulty even when it is normally closed. Hence, any type of two-wheeler has no problem crossing it under any circumstances.
On our way back home, we used to stop our bikes at the crossing and watch the passing trains. We will discuss the approximate speed of a passing train. Instead of crossing the railway tracks when a train passes and the post opens, we decide to wait for another train so that we have more time for our important discussion on the speed of the train and so on until there are at least 4 to 5 trains. Pass was really a good pastime for us and we loved to do it religiously every day.
One day, we overdid it and it was too late before we got home. It was already dark and there was no way our parents would believe that we had studied for so long. I reached home at 8 and my parents asked the obvious question as soon as they saw my face. For some reason, I wasn’t ready for this in advance. So when they asked me why I was late, I told them the first thing that came to my mind.
“The railway crossing post was closed for a long time. They didn’t open it even in the middle of the train. That’s why I was so late.”
My parents seemed to buy it and I thought I had successfully avoided the consequences. The next day, as we walked to the tutorial, I bragged to Vinesh about my presence of mind and explained how I had made this impromptu excuse the night before. I had not finished telling him when he suddenly pointed out to me, “We were on bicycles, you fool. We could have crossed the post even if it had been really closed. Why did we stop and watch the trains?”
I realized my stupidity and was shocked that my parents didn’t notice this flaw because of my lame excuse, or maybe they knew and still chose to ignore it, thankfully. We laughed until our stomachs hurt and laughed at my stupid actions. To this day, whenever we talk about this incident, we cannot stop laughing.
Indeed those were the days!
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