I had an exam to attend and I had a long commute to reach the exam center which was not where I normally went to study so I wasn’t familiar with the area where it was located. The examination time was morning 9 A.M and I woke up late at 8 A.M in the morning which left little time for me to get myself ready. Hastily I got ready. Time was 8.30 A.M. I had to take a local train to reach the exam center which would take around half an hour to reach. I hurried down to the train terminal across the street from my home with all my exam materials. I entered the station which had an elevator to take to the platform to board the train. In a hurry, I rushed inside the waiting train as soon as I reached the train platform. I did not notice the train number or the destination it was headed to. The train moved with deafening noise of the wheels. It gained pace as it crossed several busy streets beneath the flyovers over which it ran while I fixated myself on the notes for the last-minute preparation of the exam to follow. Long after the train had left the station and was about to reach the destination, I realized that it was a wrong train that I had boarded, it wasn’t going to the place where the exam center was, rather to a remote part of the town. I was terrified; the time now was 8:50 A.M which left only few minutes for the exam to begin. I got off the train at the next station where it stopped momentarily. As soon as I got down, I ran around in a frenzy manner around the platform asking people for the correct train to go to the exam place. People looked at me strangely, as though I was foolish to ask this question and one which I should know myself. I called my dad to ask for the correct train number. I ran back to the platform number which my dad suggested. Time was running out, I was getting late. If I would be late, I would miss out important time to write the exam, or worst, I would not be allowed to appear for the exam. My heart was pumping hard, my stomach had a churn, and thousand questions flashed my mind. “How can I afford to miss the exam for which I have studied so hard all this time?” “I cannot miss a year because of getting late to the exam”. “Oh Lord!! Save me!… I want to reach the exam center in time; I don’t want my hard work to go in vain”, I was praying. As soon as the train came to a stop I got down and started to run hurriedly towards the exam center. My legs felt like clay, without energy. The fear of arriving late and losing time to finish the exam was making my legs go cold. The thought that I may not be able to complete the exam, compounded my nervousness. I looked at my wrist watch a hundred times as I strode hard towards the exam center; it was already 10.30 A.M, I was running late by more than an hour out of the stipulated 3 hours for the exam. “Will I able to finish the exam?” I doubted. My throat was growing sore, eyes were turning watery. Tired and nervous I reached the exam hall. I saw all my buddies busy writing their exam papers. They were well ahead, finishing their write-up while I hadn’t even started. I was perspiring hard, sweat making its way right from the forehead down to the neck; my hands trembled as I held the exam paper that the supervisor handed me with a scowl on his face as he saw me coming late. The cold welcome by the supervisor made me more nervous. My hands trembled while I started writing. I had a heap of answers to write and my hands felt like sponge, clumsy and unresponsive. I tried to gather all the strength to write, prayed god and started writing as fast I could. I didn’t realize how much time had passed from the time I started writing, until I heard the siren that blew at one end of the exam center and alarmed of the last few minutes that were left for the exam session to end. My wrist seemed like heavy iron, letters didn’t seem to flow though I was writing fast. My hands were growing numb because of the excess pressure I was exerting on my hands to write as fast as I could.
My buddies were leaving one after another, finishing the exams, all with smiles, while I was struggling hard to concentrate and finish. I continued writing hastily. There was then that last long siren that signaled the end of the session and the supervisor instructed everyone to put down the pens and handover the paper. My throat grew sore with distress. My eyes were in tears as I held my head in dismay. I was not able to finish my exam. I couldn’t even complete answers for the passing marks .It meant a year lost, a year’s worth of effort in vain. “Why did this happen to me?” “How couldn’t I be in time?” The excruciating pain was trying to burst out……….And just when I was about to scream in grief……….
……. My eyes opened …..
It was another exam nightmare….!!!.
I looked up the clock hanging on the wall in one corner of my bed room. The angled fluorescent sticks of the clock shined in the dim moon light that made its way into the room through the perforated curtain on the window and lit the room lightly, showed the time as 4.40 A.M. Damn this dream… it felt so real. I cursed the dream and went back to sleep again.
It has been several years since I last attended any examination. School and college long back done but the bad dreams about the exams still haunt my dreams, constantly following me over the years and, I don’t know until when they will. Dreams of missing exam, getting late to exam, waking up in the morning to realize that I have exams and I’m not prepared for it at all, or preparing for the wrong subject, skipping out sections of the study and the same appearing in the exam, they all make up my dreams in installments. Is it because of the lot of emphasis laid on studies from early age that my subconscious mind tries to remember it over and over? I don’t know . Is this phenomenon faced by others too? I’m not sure. How past experiences and imprints on mind govern our dreams over several years is very interesting however.