The force was unbelievable. The pain stinging. His cheek flamed with the color of this punishment inflicted upon him. His pen flew out his hands stopping mid way to his fumbling thoughts. He was struggling to submit the answers to his teacher’s queries. They eluded him.
And that’s when the slap came. But it had an interesting story. It was about a boy named Rohan who was all of fourteen.
It came every day. On the left cheek and right as well. Many times too. The world of studies could be cruel to a person who couldn’t comprehend them. When mind and intellect couldn’t correlate numbers and words together with all their twists, turns and intricacies. When all one could expect to score was way below average.
That was beginning to be a regular day in the life of Rohan. He needed to be tutored as he was poor in studies. He tried his level best to understand the lessons that were being force fed to him. He didn’t succeed. He wondered how others did it. He thought they were really intelligent. He felt he wasn’t.
His constantly declining grades and performance at school had rung the alarm bells. He was advised extra coaching at home. It was expected that it would bring a turn-around in his academics.
He looked forward to it with hope, as did his parents. But a few weeks later it became his most dreaded nightmare. He still made repeated mistakes. His calculations were never right. He always forgot almost everything he was learning. Rohan’s intellect was running a lost race and his tutor was losing his patience. Rohan detested his books now. It was a crazy maze of expectations and disappointments. That’s how the slap came.
The first time it shook him. He cried that night and his tears wouldn’t stop. His family consoled him that it was for his own good. They prayed and hoped. Next time he wouldn’t forget the answers. But he still forgot and got his reward the next day, and then the next day and the next day also. It came with ferocious and tormenting regularity. Rohan battled with the agony of having to study when he couldn’t and the pain of those slaps which had now gotten etched in his heart as well. They were his companions and ghosts as well. They played with him, taunted him as they shrunk his mind.
One day it was business as usual for Rohan as he was enduring his slaps. He had gotten his answers wrong yet again. His cheeks hurt with pain and his eyes, through the film of tears and hidden depression saw the red crosses in his notebook. They mocked at him. They made him feel dejected. They made him angry. He knew he would never win over them. They would never be his friends. Something in him snapped. It was blurred and it was real as well. It was dark inside the recesses of his brain. Waves of unhappiness lashed at his insides.
The actions that followed were fast and furious. He threw his pen and books away and raised his hand. The slap was scary no more. Mind, memory and intellect merged into a different plane with their fearful contortions. The losing battle had just begun for Rohan and his family too. Rohan gave an eerie cry, then he started laughing. The ghosts came out to play. They had found another lifetime companion.