The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my dad in my dorm. This moment was probably the most  important one in his life as he would be the first person in his family to escape poverty.

                It was judgement day. More specifically, the date where the scores of the high schools final exams would be sent out for students. Much like SATs, these exam scores are a massive requirement for universities, even more so for advanced institutions like medical school, which Chellappan had applied to. Chellappan’s heart then metaphorically stopped after he looked at the calendar.

  

                But there was more on the line then just university. Chellappan cast a gaze over the small farm his parents owned, and the entire village as well. If he could get into med school and more importantly get a degree, he could lift himself out of poverty and finally live the luxurious life he always wanted. He was tired of laboring at the farm all day only to barely make ends meet. With great trepidation, he trudged down the stairs into the living room where his parents were situated on the sofa. His dad with the board expression he always kept on his face, and his mother with anxiousness and nervousness etched on her face. While they appeared calm and collected, he could sense the atmosphere of anxiety. The plain white walls and floors and deactivated television only appeared to amplify the fog of nervousness that engulfed the house. Chellappan, then noticed to his horror that his father was already reading the newspaper.

         In the old days in India, before the internet existed there, schools didn’t mail exam scores to their students in separate documents. Rather, they published them in the local newspaper for not only the students but the whole town to see their scores. The teachers claimed that it was a tool to encourage students to work hard and not fail less they be embarrassed by the town, but everyone knew that it was just because they were very cheap.

As his father continued to stare at the newspaper with a neutral expression, Chellappan’s mind began to wonder. “What if I failed”, he asked himself, “What if all my work leading up to this moment is for naught? Will I forever be domed to the life of a worthless farmer?”. These thoughts, among others, crawled through his mind. His father’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts. “Chellappan…”, his voice boomed. Chellappan and his mother held their breath. The father then cracked what was probably the first smile in his life. “You passed,” he said. Chellappan and his mother leapt with joy! He had passed! Finally, he had begun his journey of escaping poverty. And nothing would stand in his way.

The Turning Point

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