A new school and a new life all over again. My mother changed her school, so I too was forced to change. Prince Matriculation Hr. Sec. School in Nanganallur, one of the most renowned schools around Nanganallur and Madipakkam. From a school with few rooms and less competitive people, all of a sudden I was put in to wilderness in an organised jungle. To me the new school looked more like a jungle full of wild animals, the teachers were very strict and so was the Principal. The worst thing though was, Hindi as a subject. I was not even aware of Hindi alphabets, but then Hindi was a compulsory subject there. My class was full of extremely competitive bunch of kids.
I always believed that I belonged to the top 5 percentile wherever I went, but I started doubting it at this school. I have to dedicate all my energy in learning Hindi. I learned the alphabets quickly, and started transliterating Hindi in English and then memorized it. I will then put everything back in Hindi during the tests (naturally there will lot of spelling mistakes which will reduce my marks). While I could maintain my marks in all other subjects and be in the top three, even passing in Hindi exams became a pain. It was very hard to accept the fact that I could not be in the top 3, despite all my efforts I ended up with a rank of 15 to 20.
There was another big setback happened during this phase. I started getting in to a shell, because it was compulsory to talk in English, else we need to kneel down. The elite group comprising of Maria Leema (She went on to become the state topper during 10th Standard), Mridula and Sampath were very fluent with English. It is not that they were indifferent to me, they were good guys and they tried to interact with me, but then I did not want to interact with them. I always liked the backbenchers; I was at ease with them. I could connect easily with people who were not confident of themselves. English was just a reason for not interacting with the elite but the actual reason is I was not confident enough to interact with them.
Though my name was Ajith, my father always addressed me as Idiot (in tamil). It went so much in to my head that, even if someone in the road called someone else by that term, I would turn around to see if someone is addressing me. I can forgive my father for all that he did to me, except for this. It killed my confidence; I started doubting my ability everywhere. It went so much in to my head that I started considering myself as a retard at times. That was the reason why I stayed away from smart people. Instead of blaming myself, I started blaming on the attitude of those smart people for not feeling at ease with their company.
This is the phase when I started watching cricket, thanks to a friend named John Camilus, he was very pathetic with his studies but he was good with Hindi. So I used to go to his home telling my parents that I do so for learning Hindi. His parents were really awesome; all they wanted from Camilus was to go to the Church on Sundays. We enjoyed a lot, I taught him all the subjects but did not want to learn Hindi as that would eat up some precious time. We started watching cricket a lot, I used to listen to commentary so keenly and I picked up all the technical terms.
Half yearly exams were over and I went back to my native. This time I was so keen in telling and teaching my friends about cricket and about Sachin Tendulkar. I formed a team of hopeless players and wherever we went we lost. There is great joy in even losing, after a long tired day after chasing the ball all around the ground we used to sit back and discuss about the match and the areas for improvement (we never improved). We then went and joined our cricket club of mayiladuthurai named as Blue Diamond. I used to go there regularly and acted as a ball boy. My dream then was to represent the club. After the sunset in the dark, the seniors there would ask the ball boys and volunteers to bowl and bat. I used to try my best to impress them with correct shots, but then when you try very hard you will fail. The same bowlers who I used to play very freely will suddenly become super bowlers and my hands will become heavy. That made me to remain in the fringes.
The holidays got over and I went back to chennai, no antics this time around. The school began and it was hell. I sat next to Camilus, and the only thing that I did was to see his wrist watch. I will run a countdown for 40 mins (the duration of a period). I always like Maths and Science, they came naturally to me. The problem was I hate to sit in a class room and leave it to the teachers to teach some crap.
There was a Maths Talent Test conducted, and around 400 students participated in it. I never gave myself a chance; I always wanted to learn a lot but never wanted to be competitive. Competitiveness did something to me; I was never able to perform when I competed with someone. That pressure got in to my head. I was dead sure that I would not win the prize (but deep inside I felt that I deserved it more than anyone).
So the test began and I was very cool as I was not expecting to win the prize and I completed the test with more than 15 minutes to spare. I never had the habit of checking my answers again, so I gave the paper and left the hall. The results were announced 3 hours later, and I got the first prize. I was shocked, that incident created a sea change in my attitude. I felt like being liberated from a curse, I proved myself not only at the school level but beyond it as well. I was not happy actually, it was rather a shock.
Back in school, the Maths talent test changed the way teachers looked at me. It was a bit uneasy, I rather liked being unnoticed. That is when I started feeling a severe pain in my stomach. I ignored it, as even if I tell my parents they will not take me to a doctor. As days went by, it became severe. I told my mother about my pain, she ignored it saying that it was just some gastric problem. I could not tolerate the pain that day, and did not go to school (My mom leaves to school early). Coincidentally, there was a cricket match that day. Only after going to school my mom came to know that I bunked the school. She came back in the evening and did not ask me anything. My father came late and the moment he came she told him that I bunked the class because of cricket. Strangely my father did not say or do anything. He was busy packing his things for a trip. He went off for a trip; despite my stomach ache I was very happy as I will be free for one week.
My mom too went for a sports meet somewhere. My stomach ache worsened and I could not bear the pain at all. I did not know what to do, I felt like fainting. I dressed myself up locked my home and went to my aunt’s place (my mother’s sister in law who resided in Chennai). I told her that I could not manage the pain (I don’t like my uncle or aunt, for that matter I don’t like anyone from my mother’s side). She just went out and came back and by the time I fainted in her home. She woke me up and took me to the hospital nearby. They diagnosed it and told my aunt that was severe case if Appendicitis and it required an immediate surgery. She informed my mom through the school phone, and my mom told her to carry on with the procedures and she would come to the hospital in the evening.
So my aunt did all the procedures and when I was taken to the operation theater. I feared that I might die, I was given the anesthesia. I slowly lost consciousness and I thought that I was dying slowly. Next day came and I was awake and the pain was gone. The doctors told me that my case was very severe and I was very fortunate to get to the hospital at the right time. I never thanked my aunt, but I started having a deep respect for her. Our families were not in talking terms, but I always respected her and greeted her wherever I met her. God has always been kind to me by sending me some help at the right moment.
So the annual exams commenced but my mother quit that school because of some issues, so I too was forced to quit that school before taking up the final exams. Once again I was back to my old school of Besant LVR, as that school did not have any requirements. Without completing my 7th standard I joined 8th standard in Besant LVR. The told strength of the school was 45, and in 8th standard there were only two. The other person was a girl named Charumathi. It was something similar to a paid holiday for professionals; I went to school just for the sake of it.
One fine day after school, I forgot to clean the house and left home to see my friend Camilus. While I came back, my father was waiting at home to trash me. He kicked me out of the home, (literally kicked me) he was expecting me to plead him to leave me inside the house. I wanted to retaliate that day, but not knowing what to do I left home. I listed down all the options I had, nothing seemed probable. I thought of running away to some other state and start a new life and after thinking twice I changed my mind. The only logical option to get rid of my parents was to die, so I made up my mind to die, so I thought of all the options, but nothing seemed painless. Finally I decided to fall in front of a train, as I thought that would be relatively less painful as the person will die within a few seconds.
So I started walking down to Pazhavanthangal Railway Station (the one close to Nanganallur). I did not have a penny, I felt very hungry so went in to the railway station and drank some water and started to walk on the railway track. Fear overpower me occasionally, so I thought of postponing my act so I walked all the way along the railway track till I reached Tambaram and decided to lie down on the track after crossing Tambaram as beyond Tambaram there won’t be much people around so no one will notice me lying down on a track.
While I was walking alongside the railway track near Tambaram Railway station, there was this announcement of the departure of Kamban express to Mayiladuthurai (my native). I have always been impulsive in my life (it has always worked for me), and that announcement changed everything. I was looking very clumsy and was bare footed as I did not have time to wear my shoes or slippers when my father kicked me out of the house, and I was really dirty with sweat and dirt because of such a long walk. Without thinking twice I boarded the train and went inside one of the toilets and latched it, stood there for around 3 hours and after assuming that the ticket checker would have left, I came out and lied down near the door. I was very tired and slept immediately. I woke up and saw the Ticket Collector standing next to me and was waking me up and asking why I am inside the train, I was shocked and did not know what to say. He asked me where I was going. I told him that I was going to Mayiladuthurai. He said that he would leave me, but wanted me to get down right away (in a place called Chidambaram), I begged him to leave me to travel in that train till Mayiladuthurai. A person sitting next to the window asked him to permit me to travel as I was just a kid. Then the Ticket Collector warned me and left me. I could not sleep after that. That one hour was one of the slowest ever in my life. I got down at Mayiladuthurai, and a smile returned to my face.
I was feeling very weak and tired; I walked all the way to my home and knocked the door. My grandma was shocked to see me. She started crying looking at my attire and my condition. I asked her for food (that is the first time ever I asked her for food, as she would force me with food and snacks round the clock whenever I stay there), she gave me food. I asked her not to convey my parents about me coming to there, but she told my aunt and the message was conveyed the next day to my father.
He did not come down to take me again, but my aunt asked her son-in-law to take me to Chennai. My second attempt to escape from hell was again not successful.