The railway tracks were right next to the building where I was sitting. The afternoon breeze would bring in snatches of the pre-recorded voice of the train announcements. The announcer was informing everyone within earshot, of the imminent arrival of the 3:17 local to VT station, on platform number one.
Every few minutes, I could hear another train pass, probably carrying another big load of people to their respective destinations … offices, colleges, movie-theatres, their homes.
There was also the clamour of metallic noises from Balwant Auto Garage, on the street below. Mr. Balwant and his army of young, grease-covered mechanics used to be busy all through the day. At any given point in time, they had half a dozen cars being repaired simultaneously, for the wealthy elite from this predominantly middle-class suburb.

Thankfully, the weather was pleasant for this time of the year, considering that it was March and this was Mumbai. The fans above me were whirring away at a leisurely pace, circulating a little cool air around the room.

There were 26 people in the room, and at least 20 of them were teenagers. And even then, being surrounded by a cacophony of sounds, there was pin-drop silence inside that room. I guess the only reason for that being that all those youngsters, including me, were facing the first ever public examination of their life – and this was the first day of it. We were all busy writing the ‘English’ language exam, of the Maharashtra State Board S.S.C Examinations.

In such a scenario, I did not expect to be using such small benches & desks, and be cramped for space. From the size of the benches & desks in this room number ‘9’, I think this classroom was most likely used by students of Class IV.

The examination-centre that I had been allocated was one of the biggest high schools in this part of the city. It was also right next to the railway lines. I was 100% certain that the first field-trip that the students from this school got, was a visit to the Station Master’s office at the neighbouring Railway Station.

The railway announcements in the background were not exactly helping me do better in my exams. Even after all that, I should say I did decently well in those exams. Atleast nothing that I can complain about now … after all, here I am, dreaming about that day long gone, sitting in an apartment. An apartment which is half way across the planet, from the city where I wrote those exams.

Having bored you all more than enough, I will stop here, for now. Wish all of my friends & readers all the very best, for the “exams” that Life keeps throwing your way.

Have Fun, Enjoy Life, Be Happy.

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