Hiding his bleeding palm, Cyriac is standing in the corner of the classroom. His answer sheet is always the billboard of some egg shop because the only thing visible from his answer sheet is a big red coloured egg shape zero. George, his class teacher who is also known as Tiger George, is furious at Cyriac and starts to curse him loudly.
“You are such a disgrace to this school,” roared Tiger George and warned him, “If you fail the Christmas Exam, I will bring a thicker bamboo stick and you will regret.”
“I am sorry Sir. I will study well, ” cried Cyriac.
The continuous mocking of his classmates and harsh punishments from his teacher changes Cyriac’s attitude. Looking at his bleeding palm and wiping his tears, he decides to rise from the ashes of his failures and finds new innovative ways for cheating in the exams. Christmas exam becomes a piece of cake for the “advanced” Cyriac bewildering his parents, classmates and Tiger George. Everybody exclaims together — “It is a miracle! It is a blessing from the sky!!!” Unfortunately, nobody knows the fact that a better blessing in the sky named ‘SkyLab’ awaits in Cyriac’s life.
Skylab is a massive space station of US operated by NASA. It has completed 2,150 days on the orbit and nearing its end. NASA knows that it will head towards the Earth with blazing speed like a comet and this news creates waves worldwide. This shocking news reaches Kuinji, a remote village area, through newspaper and radio. The impending end of Skylab is a big boost to Yellow journalism and news with the title – “END OF THE WORLD?” spreads like wildfire.
Elderly people begin to blame the rising number of atheists and crimes for this upcoming apocalypse. Believers visit church with more devotion and they state — “the Bible mentions such an ending in the last chapter. Erudite people reject the upcoming apocalypse and comfort other people with scientific facts. Some people slightly believed it is an apocalypse while some other somewhat rejected it. This news reaches Cyril and he is in a euphoric state. The news of Skylab awakens Cyriac’s laziness and now he is no mood to study for the final exams.
After the class, Cyriac reaches his home. He goes to his room and shouts, “garbage,” and throws his books to the corner of his room. His rich parents are not bothered about his studies and pamper him whenever they can. They try their best to change Cyriac’s mind but he is adamant. He has newspaper clippings of the upcoming doom.
Days pass by and Cyriac decides to skip his final exam. 10th class final exams are a big challenge because teachers from other schools will come as exam invigilators so cheating/copying won’t work. He walks towards school and hides in the bushes to see if any of his classmates are attending the exam or not. He sees his classmates reaching the school compound.
Cyriac murmurs — “Dumbs!!! Skylab is soon going to fall. What is the purpose of having good marks when death is near? Good grades won’t extend lifespan. Anyway, am gonna enjoy my life”
Cyriac skips his first final exam and Skylab has not fallen yet. Optimistic Cyriac waits each day for the most pessimistic thing to happen. Neighbours and classmates enquire about Cyriac’s absence and they are all baffled by his excuse.
Days go by and nothing happens. Finals exams are over and now he doubts whether this was a prank. Luckily, All India Radio midday news has begun. Cyriac’s ears are razor sharp and he hears what he wants to hear the most: “SKYLAB WILL CRASH INTO THE INDIAN OCEAN TONIGHT.”
After a heavy dinner, Cyriac heads towards his super fluffy bed. Cyriac exulted “Adios exams, Rest in pieces Tiger George,” pumping his fist in the air. Dreams of a beautiful apocalypse flood his mind.
“COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO,” the majestic rooster wakes Cyriac up from a long night full of joyful dreams. He rubs his eyes and pinches himself. He wonders, “Wow! Am alive!!” and heads towards his parents. They are absolutely fine. Cyriac is delighted and runs towards his school, skipping nature’s call.
He is curious and talks to himself, “Can’t wait to see the bloody school turn into ashes.” Like an Olympian, Cyriac covers 2kms in a few minutes and is shocked to see the sight in front of his eyes. The school is intact and glowing in front of his melancholic eyes. He limps back home and sees his classmates and neighbours looking at him. The whole village is laughing like a drain. They proudly proclaim, “Kuninji has got a world-class Charlie Chaplin!!!”. Cyriac covers his face with his palm and tries to dodge all the painful insults. Tiger George, who is heading towards his home after buying packet milk and newspaper, sees his favourite student and roars at him, “I will wait for you next year my prodigal student. Like in the Bible, expect a big ‘feast’ on the return of the prodigal.”
Cyriac screams, “Noooooooooo,” and runs away.
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