The sun gradually rises from the Eastern horizon. The chirping of birds and devotional hymns are heard as the time being holy hexameron of ‘Skanda Sashti’. Sublime smell of incense mixed and mingled with the aroma of sandalwood amidst the chiming bells reverently sanctifies the surroundings.
The solemn air is filled with the holy chant of Lord ‘Skanda’ with the divine humming of
“… Arumugamum Animudiyarum … “
And this leads the entire place towards serenity and tranquility that sanctify the surroundings.
Amidst these Shivanee and Gobi who are closely associated from their childhood have been eagerly waiting for the results of the A/L examination held in the previous August. Gobi offered her subjects from the Bio – Stream and Shivanee from the Arts – Stream.
Gobi’s parents are governments whereas Shivanees’s Appa is a teacher and Amma is a housewife. Both Gobi and Shivanee are only children in their families.
Today is Saturday. Shivanee gets ready to go to Nallur.
“Amma I want to go to temple” asks Shivanee.
Ok Shivanee. Be careful on your way. Here are some flowers and a coconut. Worship Lord Murugan dear. God is great” says Shivanee’s Amma.
Gobi rushes to the shrine room and wanders here and there.
“O God … Please bless me with affordable results” Gobi’s lips pray.
“Why is Gobi is in hurry? So tensed? She should have done the exam well. We arranged all the facilities for her. What happened to this girl?” Appa asks Amma.
“She feels some sort of fear. She is confused. Poor girl. Let her to be relaxed”
“Aaaa … Appa … Can you please take her to temple? She may feel better” Amma says to Appa.
“Alright. I am ready” says Appa Shiva.
“Gobi … Do you want to go to temple? You may feel relaxed. Appa is ready to take you to temple” Amma says.
“Yes Amma. I wanted to ask you. Ok Appa let’s go” Gobi rushes with Appa to Nallur Murugan Temple.
Shivanee is at temple. She prays.
“Hai Shivanee … I feel nervous. Ohhh Muruga …” says Gobi.
“What are you doing Gobi?” Gobi’s Appa asks.
“Here is Shivanee Appa” Gobi replies.
“Don’t disturb her” Appa says.
Gobi wanders here and there. Gobi goes to the shrine room and returns. Gobi is in tension and hurry.
As today is Saturday all are at home. By 9 o’clock all await with internet for A/L results. According to Sri Lankan education system A/L decides the destination of each student. It is a culture and reputed thing among the typical Jaffna people, that their children should obtain good results in their A/L s and get admission to University or College of Education.
The A/L result is released. Shivanee with a splendid face tells her parents that she gets 2 ‘A’s and an ‘S’. She is in the 35th rank in Jaffna Peninsula. All are happy and rejoice over it. Shivanee and her parents rush towards the shrine room and pay their gratitude.
Gobi’s parents scold Gobi as she gets only two passes in Biology and Chemistry. She is heartbroken. No one is there to console her.
Gobi reminisces her past memories. Both Gobi and Shivanee studied at J/Vembadi Girls’ High School, from Grade 6 together. Both were clever in the class.
Shivanee didn’t go to tuition anywhere for any subject and comes to school in her bicycle. But in Gobi’s case, her father always took her everywhere. Her parents arranged many classes individually. They gave so many pressures on her. They never allowed Gobi even to spend money on her own. Always they poked their noses in every aspect of her life.
Shivanee and other friends bought snacks and enjoyed by visiting some temples and cultural programmes together. But Gobi was not allowed to go anywhere and eat or have anything other than from home. Her parents denied to give permission to go anywhere with her friends.
Once the class students went on a study tour. Even for that Gobi’s father accompanied her. So she couldn’t enjoy as much as her students enjoyed.
But Shivanee’s parents though conservative, they allowed Shivanee to enjoy herself. They made her to take her own decisions. They guided her, rendered advices and lent their hands in her difficult hardships but they never interpolate in her own wishes. They directed her to lead her own life.
Indeed, children should identify their own innate talents, skills and abilities. Then they have to recognize their adeptness. Keeping these in mind they have to march towards and decide their own destinations. Deciding the proper field or stream in A/L plays a prominent role in the enrichment of the embellished future.
Gobi’s parents tried to maintain their status and insisted her to study in the Bio- Stream.
Gobi cries out and Shivanee enters into Gobi’s home. Shivanee tells Gobi’s parents
“Aunty, Uncle please don’t blame her for this misfortune. Her skills and talents are in creative writings. Please let her study English Literature as a subject in the Arts stream. She can do Music as well. She can offer Logic and Scientific Method as her third subject”.
“But our dream is another … to see her as a doctor …” Gobi’s father says.
Shivanee caresses Gobi’s hair.
“I will teach her all the subjects, next time definitely she will succeed in her A/L” Shivanee utters in a sharp voice.
Gobi embraces Shivanee. Tears appear in the eyes.
“Tomorrow you can start the lessons” Gobi’s Amma says.
Gobi goes and picks up a new exercise book and runs towards Shivanee.