The 9th grade was proceeding smoothly, my inclination towards science, physics in particular was identified by my class teacher Mr. Lakshmisha, I am not sure if it was his teaching style or my inner self that got me hooked on the subject. He was also well versed in Sanskrit, while he taught he would every now and then quote philosophy.Philosophy and physics, combination of both turned to form heady thought cocktail, which in a way was responsible for my social anxiety and awkwardness in years to come. Philosophy of advaita and theory of relativity changed the way I perceived things, not that am not materialistic, I loved and still love expensive stuffs but I stopped caring about what people thought about me or spoke about me.
During November 2005, I do not recollect exact date, all the toppers from all the 3 grades were called to the library to take up a surprise quiz, a decisive test to determine whom to send to a interschool quiz competition held by a emerging science pre-university college, which is now established as the premier IIT foundation institute. As usual Sashwat, Vaidehi and another girl named Ashwini went to the library after receiving the memo, I was fooling around in the classroom making hissing noises in chorus to annoy Mr.Krishnamurthy. After few minutes, attender came and called out, “who the hell is Holla, Lakshmisha Sir is calling?” , he called me using rustic Mandya Kannada, the gist of which cannot be reproduced in English. Krishnamurthy Sir looked at me triumphantly, expecting that I would be punished as always. As I left the calssroom, the class hissed in unison again annoying Krishnamurthy sir further, I heard him swear at the class.
I asked attender where I had to go, he mentioned that Lakshmisha Sir wanted me in the library, as I entered the library I was handed over a paper containing questions and asked to answer them. The paper had about 50 objective question divided equally across all branches of science, Sashwat gave me a dirty look also I was perplexed, and thought, why me?
I answered all the questions 20 minutes before everyone and walked out, there was still 20 minutes left before the completion of a class before the lunch hour, I didn’t want to get inside the class, I noticed 9th F class was having PE class, so they were playing in the ground, I had few friends in that class and noticed that PE teacher was nowhere to be seen, he probably was drunk somewhere this giving me a chance to hangout for the next 20 minutes. That was officially the first time I bunked a class, which later became a habit.
To my bad luck, my class teacher went looking for me to my class, when he got to know I had bunked, he was angry but to counter that he got to know, I had scored 46 out of 50 in that surprise quiz, officially the topper and first selection for the school quiz team, which was a 3 member team, other 2 were from 10th standard. He didn’t look out for me further, for he knew he will catch me at his residence few hours later.
Later that day, I entered tuition hall of Lakshmisha Sir’s residence with Darshan and Indrajith, 15 minutes late as usual. Lakshmisha Sir made me stand while Darshan and Indrajith sat, he asked where I had been before lunch, he was in a good mood, he asked jokingly, I stood still smiling, he then announced that I was selected for the interschool quiz competition and I had topped the surprise quiz held earlier, everyone clapped, my eyes scanned the hall and met the eyes which always wanted to meet, Spandana. Our eyes met, she gave an admiring look and gave wide grin.