Aamir found that he was getting busier by the day. What with his studies, the extra emphasis on English, teaching Gopal and his involvement in Literary Club activities, he had quite a lot on his hands.
Aamir found that he was getting busier by the day. What with his studies, the extra emphasis on English, teaching Gopal and his involvement in Literary Club activities, he had quite a lot on his hands. He stuck to his practice of writing one page a day on whatever topic appealed to him. At regular intervals, he would take his ‘creative writing’ to Sharma Sir for ‘dissection’. Aamir’s progress was painstakingly slow but he didn’t give up. Sharma Sir, too, patiently spent time with him correcting mistakes, offering suggestions and providing encouragement.
Aamir went home for the Dussehra holidays. His parents were delighted to see him.
“Were you not getting enough to eat? See how thin you’ve become?” Saira said fussing over him.
“Come on, Saira, I think he is looking quite okay. He has grown taller that is why he is looking a bit thin,” Rashid smiled.
They were happy to hear that he loved the school and about his friendship with Sagar.
“You are lucky to get such a loyal friend, Aamir. Be as faithful to him as he is to you,” Rashid said.
He spent ten enjoyable days in Warangal. The second terminal exams were round the corner so he had to study a bit. But he had a great time. Lingayya was a good cook but he was no match for ammi. Every day she would make something special for him – mutton biryani, chicken do pyaza, boti kabab, mutton kheema – every dish was, to use his newfound vocabulary, a gourmet’s delight. And to top these delicacies were the sweets – all vintage ammi – gulab jamun, balushahi, besan laddu and lots more.
The day he was leaving, Aamir told his ammi, “You have fattened me up so much, I won’t fit into my school clothes.”
“Don’t be silly. You are looking as skinny as you were when you came here ten days ago. You need at least six months of my cooking before you can be considered remotely healthy,” she replied giving him an affectionate whack on his head.
In the bus from Warangal to Secunderabad Aamir was feeling quite depressed. It was such a miserable feeling leaving ammi and abbu. He would now be meeting them only after three months during the winter break, and that too, only for a week. But as he neared Secunderabad the excitement of going back to school made him overcome the gloom. He had to do better in the second term. At his parents’ place, he hadn’t done much study but in the next few days, he had to slog it out.
And slog it out he did. Even Gopal was asked to keep away for some time. As the exams approached, Aamir’s confidence grew. He did the exams well but when the results were announced he was disappointed. In English, the improvement had been only marginal. In Maths he had got 97 but in Science, he had slipped. As a result, his rank had slumped from 11th to 14th. Sagar had maintained his position.
Aamir was quite upset. “I think there is something wrong in the way I am studying,” Aamir told Sagar. “In Science, I got just 73%. In Physics, I was expecting 30 out of 33 but I ended up with just 17.”
“Where did you go wrong?”
“I think I didn’t get the concept right.”
“Yes. I too feel so. Aamir, I think you need to learn to work smart, not simply work hard. In higher classes, just mugging won’t do. You need to get your fundas right. See Neelabh, the Class IX topper. I have hardly ever seen him slogging like the rest of his classmates, yet he has been topping since Class VII.”
“Really! I have seen him playing football and cricket and generally having a good time, but I thought he must be burning the midnight oil.”
Sagar smiled. Aamir sometimes loved to speak in idiomatic English which his friend found quite amusing. “Nothing of that sort. He has got his concepts on spot. Look, I’ll take you to Neelabh and ask him to give you some hints.”
Read on to Chapter 9
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