Chapter #3: What?? How did the lizard become a crocodile?

During my five years of college, we formed a tight-knit group of eight friends, an all-girls gang. We truly enjoyed our college life, while also being diligent and dedicated to our studies. It used to be an intense competition between all of us as to who will get the better score. No jealousies but, just competition. Each one of us had a subject of specialization, like for e.g. one of my friend had a remarkable talent for statistics. Numbers seemed to effortlessly come alive for her, while the rest of us often struggled to grasp the logical interpretations and inferences within case studies. Thus it was a harmonious blend of strengths and weaknesses, where everyone faced challenges in their respective areas of expertise and offered support to one another during preparatory leaves or free lectures.

My approach to college was rather inconsistent, characterized by alternating periods of sincere studying and moments of unpreparedness during exams. Unlike in school, where the fear of receiving low marks often haunted me, I entered college with a sense of confidence, believing that I had already conquered the academic challenges. Even if I didn’t perform well, I reassured myself that it would be alright, and I would somehow manage to sail through.

This incident occurred during the second year of my graduation. When the semester results were announced, I discovered that I had performed terribly in a few subjects. I couldn’t face my friends who had achieved good marks. Feeling dejected, I returned home with my mark sheet and shared it with my mother. Showing her discontent, she said “ I hope you’ve realized your mistake. I’ve witnessed your overconfidence when asked about your preparedness, and you’ve taken these exams too lightly. I genuinely hope you perform better in the annual semester so that you have a fair selection of electives for your final year of graduation”.

I sat on the couch, clutching my exam results in my hand and a realization washed over me. My mother’s words had been right all along, and now I felt an overwhelming sense of regret,fear and tension. I was consumed by apprehension. The upcoming exam held immense importance as it would determine whether I could remain a part of my group of friends. Lost in my thoughts, I found myself standing by the window in my room. To my dismay, a plump lizard caught my eye,clinging to the outside wall. Instantly , goosebumps covered my skin. I had always harbored an bizarre fear of reptiles. The mere sight of them sent shivers down my spine, and the thought of them crawling on me intensified my fear. Hastily, I closed the window, determined to avoid any further glimpses of the lizard on the wall.

It was bedtime, and exhaustion from worrying about the possibility of low scores weighed heavily on my mind. My mother was fast asleep, and I eventually drifted off as well. However, after a few hours, I was startled awake by loud noises surrounding me. Opening my eyes, I found my friends gathered around me , laughing and engaged in conversation. My mom was among them wearing a mischievous smile while glancing in my direction. It seemed as though I was the subject of their discussion, and I wondered if they were solely talking about me.

Suddenly, I noticed a lizard in my doorstep, attempting to enter the house amidst the commotion. It seemed to have singled me out, as if it had identified me as its target and now preparing to attack. The lizard swiftly crawled towards me, and in a split second, it transformed into a massive crocodile. Astonished and terrified, I fell to the ground as the crocodile lunged at me, its jaws wide open. It was a nightmarish sight that defied logic. Desperately, I struggled to push the enormous creature away, using all my strength. Meanwhile, my friends appeared to find entertainment in my struggle, and my mother watched with a stern expression.

Frantically, I cried out for help, but no one extended a helping hand. Finally, with great effort, I managed to push the reptile off and landed on the floor with a thud, spraining my back in the process. My shocked mother, was abruptly awakened by the chaos. Although I was relieved to realize it was all just a dream, I couldn’t hide my satisfaction. However, I knew my mother was irritated with me and gave me a disapproving glare.
I managed to gather myself after such a horrid nightmare. Wiping away my perspiration, I apologized to my mother. I loved my mother and did not want her to get upset with me. It was evident that she was still angry. Together, we tidied up the mess, and she surmised that I must have had a bad dream. We both made an attempt to go back to sleep, despite the fact that it was already 3.00 am.

I slept soundly like a baby until 6 am. As I woke up, I resolved within myself, ‘‘Regardless of the past, I will pick myself up and compensate for my previous setbacks.” Then, my dream from the previous night resurfaced in my thoughts, and I pondered, “How could a lizard transform into a crocodile?” To my surprise, the plump lizard was still basking on the warm wall of my windowsill. In that moment, beads of sweat formed on my forehead once again, and I couldn’t help but feel as though it was gazing directly at me!

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