The Day I Made An Excuse That Almost Failed

It was 2006 and the 12th board exam was approaching. We were taking classes on our weakest subject and our strongest enemy, mathematics. We had to bike about 4km each day for tuition.

At that time, the conditions of the house were fatal. My parents never left us a chance to remind us that we must study hard for the board exam. On the other hand, we were careless, as always. I was reluctant to stay at home because of my parents’ strict attitude, and I tried to spend as much time outside as possible to enjoy and stay away from books. Me and my friend Vinesh (aka Vinna) lived in the neighborhood (or the sector I call my hometown). So we would always go to class and ride our bikes back together.

We will arrive at least an hour earlier than our scheduled time and return late to spend as much time as possible outside our home, the hazardous area. As an added benefit, my parents would think we are devoting more time to math. Until then, we hadn’t picked up our cell phone, which in itself was a great relief.

On our way, there was a railroad crossing, which was almost always closed to vehicles due to the high frequency of trains (now a viaduct was built over it).

But, as can easily be expected from impatient Indians like us, everyone and everything except cars and other large vehicles usually passes under the post with little hassle, even if it is closed. So there was no problem that any two-wheeled vehicle could cross under any circumstances.


On the way home, we would park our bikes at the crosswalk and watch the passing trains. We will discuss the estimated speed of a passing train. When a train passes and the post opens, instead of crossing the train, we decide to wait for another train and pass through until at least four or five trains arrive for important discussions about train speed, etc. It was a really good pastime for us and we loved doing it religiously every day.

One day, we were so overcrowded that it was too late before we got home. It was already dark and there was no way for my parents to believe that we had been studying for a long time. When I got home around 8 o’clock, my parents asked me obvious questions as soon as they saw my face. For some reason I wasn’t ready for this already. So when I asked him why he was late, he said the first thing that came to mind.

“The crossing has been closed for too long. It didn’t even open between the trains. So I was too late.”

It seemed my parents bought it and I thought I had successfully avoided the consequences. The next day, while I was going to collect my tuition, I showed Vinesh my composure and explained how I had used this excuse the night before. I didn’t even finish talking to him when he suddenly said, “We were on bikes, you idiots. We could have crossed the candles if the doors were really closed. Why are we waiting for the train and looking?”

I realized my folly and was surprised that neither my parents noticed this flaw in my poor excuses, or thankfully they knew it and still decided to ignore it. At my foolishness we laughed until our stomachs hurt. To this day, whenever I talk about this incident, I can’t stop laughing.

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