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Short Story: Shadow

Written by Tayyaba Aziz & Saqib Hussain   After 30 minutes of struggling to focus on work, Moosa finally gave up. He stumbled in hi...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

My Crisis Management Skills

There was pin drop silence except for the sounds of scribbling pens. It was first day of the new semester’s first-term examinations. One hour to answer thirteen questions. At first glance I reckoned the exam paper was easy but quite lengthy for an hour.

I reached the last question when suddenly the room started to show some signs of life. To my surprise this time the fuss was caused by the teachers alone. I didn't know what the chaos was about neither did I care. Until I heard a very familiar name called.

The first picture that flashed in my mind was instantly shrugged. I hardly know any guy here in this new place. This must be some random guy bearing a familiar name.

I still raise my head to see who this random guy is.

And I freeze.

Shocked, speechless and eyes fixed on him just to be certain if he was really there. He looked back at me. 
He was sitting right next to me for an hour now. How come I didn't notice him? Didn't even watch him come in?
Shahzeb… My old school mate! My childhood buddy!

I was just about to scream his name out load when he quickly turned his head down. Funny how he guessed what was coming.

His awkward reaction brought me back to the examination hall. I returned to the answer sheet but my mind didn't. This is where I get my second heart attack. I had gone completely blank! OMG this is my major, this can’t be happening.

The teacher calls “Last five minutes.”

Thanks to my crisis management skills.  I quickly gathered myself and started writing. Unfortunately my hands refused to take any orders. OK so I need to work a little on those skills.

The excitement worsening my already pathetic handwriting. The examiner would think this girl panicked in the last few minutes. On second thought, no they wouldn't feel any difference since it was as awful as my usual handwriting.

Soon the corridors were packed with students. There was rising uproar of everyone laughing and discussing the exam. Shahzeb was out of sight. I started to search for him.
And there he was slowly walking towards me with the same old familiar smile on his face. 

“Shahzzzzeb…. What the hell are you doing here?!!”
He was quite at a distance when I yelled at him. The whole crowd around stopped and starting staring at us. Like me, he didn't mind the looks neither does my craziness bothers him ever. In fact his smile broadened.
Shahzeb told me he is also a student here but since he has a very hectic job routine. Hence sadly we’d hardly get to see each other much.  

We had just started talking when one of my enthusiastic girls attacked me. She didn't even notice I was talking to someone. She went on with “What did you write for blah blah blah….”
 I wasn't even listening.
Shahzeb backed up a little and turned to a guys group pretending to be in a conversation. I politely excused my girl and told her I need to talk to a friend.

As I started to walk towards Shahzeb rest of my girls appeared from nowhere and asked if I had checked the notice board. Before I could answer that one of my girl took me by the arm and pulled me to where the notice board was.

Board is near the staircase from where I could still see him standing there looking uninterested in the conversation. I caught him staring at me. This was a little sad and felt quite out of place. Sweet were those careless days when we would have had no hesitations, no egos, no peer pressure and no worries.  

I quickly turned to face the notice board and pretended to read. Just then I heard my name called. It was Shahzeb.

He softly said “I have to go now.”
I was like ‘oh OK…’

He quickly added with a smile “We’ll catch up later sometime.”

As he left all my girls gathered around me and started questioning me about him excitedly.

We had seen each other after a very long time. I had so much to tell him and so much more to ask. Despite all the interruptions it was nice to see him after so long. Just like the good old days. Naah it was even better. The type of feeling you get when you meet an old friend among a crowd of strangers. 

This spectacular institute is full of surprises! Just when I get used to the normal daily routine, it throws another unexpected incident in my face. Every day here is totally an adventure. Pleasant or unpleasant I’m enjoying every single moment of it... :)