“My mother passed away the day before one of the most important exams of my life began. She was amazingly kind and I was closest to her. She never scolded me. I used to share all of my secrets and troubles with her. And she would always find a way to sort things out. When I was preparing for my board exams, she would stay late nights with me. We’d often have a cup of tea at the end of a study session. Tea was her favourite. The day that she died, my elder sister called with news of mother being admitted to the hospital. I rushed there with my two other siblings but it was already too late. She’d left us before we could even see her one last time. I felt so much grief flow through me that nothing else seemed important. I told my father I wouldn’t do my exams. But he begged me to try. My mother had always wanted me to get into college and do well. The memory of her dream for me and the sight of my father melted me. So the next day, I went to do my exam. I tried to focus on the paper. But the exam didn’t go well. I rushed to write my answers so I could go to the cremation. But even though I left the exam hall in just 2 hours, by the time I got to the cremation ground they’d already started burning the body. The pain I felt in that moment was immeasurable. Later that day, when my father asked me about the exam, I told him it was okay. I didn’t want him to worry.
When the results came, they were not good. I managed to pass but I don’t think I will get into a college. I wish I could study further to fulfil my mother’s dream but we can’t afford to pay for college. My father is a taxi driver- a single parent of many children. For days, I’d worried about his reaction to my result. But when I did tell him, he’d consoled me and said that he was proud of me for doing my best. I think I will carry that one moment for the rest of my life. I will make sure that he really is proud of me. I guess I’ll now look for a job and help my father look after the family. If I could see my mother once again, I’d apologise for not getting into college. But I’d also tell her that no matter what, I’ll always be there for our family like she was.”

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