They started returning home with spring in their step

23rd December 19XX: The day finally arrived. The result of the annual examination would be declared. The boy took bath and silently prayed before Goddess Saraswati. He was extremely worried. His Mathematics and Geography papers did not go well. He did not like these two subjects. Furthermore, he had had to attend a marriage ceremony just before these two papers.

His younger brother was also much tensed. After finishing a quick meal, both brothers went to the school. By then, their father had left for his office. Their mother silently blessed them. Their sister (youngest among the three) did not quite understand the tension; she always stood first in her class.

Reaching his class, the boy straightaway went to his designated seat beside his best friend. On that day, the class was abnormally quiet; no one was fighting, abusing or teasing others. The boy asked his best friend to listen carefully whether the headmaster would announce his roll number, or not. His friend also requested him to do the same thing.

Finally, the headmaster entered the classroom along with the class teacher. He announced the names of top three students. Very few students were bothered. After the announcement, he started mentioning the roll numbers of promoted students.

The boy started praying to Goddess Saraswati. He prayed silently: "Oh Mother! Just promote me this time. I promise I would study Maths and Geography with all seriousness next year". While continuing his prayer, he suddenly heard the headmaster announcing his roll number.

Immediately he asked his bench-mate to confirm whether he heard it right. His bench-mate confirmed it. The boy also confirmed his friend that he (the bench-mate) was also promoted.

The headmaster eventually left. The boy immediately ran to the table of the class-teacher. He fought with other students, collected his mark-sheet, gave it a cursory glance and immediately ran out to meet his younger brother. He heaved another sigh of relief when he heard that his brother was also promoted.

Both brothers started their return journey with spring in their step. Their mother was waiting anxiously for their result.

(Competition entry: March 2024 Topic-based contest)