It was Mothers’ day. I didn’t even know of Valentines Day till I reached my 12th. Later on, as we moved to Kochi I learnt of more of those Archies brilliant marketing ideas – Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Rose Day, Friendship Day and what-not-day.
Just as each one of you out there, I have a lovely mom too. I call her Amma, like the majority of mallus. Amma had a very poor child hood. But she was exceptionally brilliant. At a time it was difficult to pass your SSLC(10th) exam, she has got a 2nd class.
During her school days, she didn’t have proper books or clothes. She didn’t even have proper food to eat. It was common for her to faint of fatigue on the road . She has come a long long way. Amma, never stops inspiring me.
She always wanted to learn as much as possible. But had to start working after her B Com. It was years later, after my graduation that this idea of learning further came to her mind. Achan was more enthusiastic. And she embarked on her journey to do PGDCA. We all declared all kind of support.
She got enrolled and was glad that on successful completion of her studies she would get the fee reimbursed from her office.
She had to go to office everyday. Her classes were on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Finally she was through with all the classes and it was the exam time.
She had all of those C++, Java, Architecture, Software Engineering and what not. Me, being a computer science student was supposed to help her.
“You said if loop has to be closed. But there is one more if before the last one is closed”
“That is OK Amma, you have to close the corresponding ones.”
“Algorithm and program are the same???”
“No Amma, algorithm is just the logic. Program is when you convert it to the language”
“So program has no logic??”
“No No, it is same as algorithm. But when you write the same logic in C++, that becomes a program”
“Why can’t we write just algorithm”
“Because the computer can’t interpret it”
“Then why do we need algorithm”
Amma was looking at me all confused like a 5 year old kid.
“What is a pointer?”
“The address of the variable you are storing”
“Then where is the variable?”
I drew an arrow to the variable an explained her the concept with the best of my abilities.
“OK, so it the arrow, right?”
Couldn’t say anything seeing the delight in her eyes that she cracked the meaning of a pointer.
It was supposed to be a one year program. At the yeard end she had to give practicals and theory papers.
Me and Amma sat through the night trying to make her add two numbers. Not of much use. She still didn’t get it why we need to declare the variable and then ask for the value and finally just add them. What are calculators for?
That morning I gave her a small chit with all the programs I thought they may ask. Amma was shocked. She couldn’t believe it. She had never done that in her entire life. She was the brightest student of her classes all the time, the darling of her professors.
“But I can’t read such small letters”
“OK, I’ll write it a little bigger; make sure the invigilator doesn’t notice”
“How do I take it from my bag when he is there?”
“Good Lord…. You can’t keep it in your bag. You will have to tuck it inside your saree on you stomach” I gave a pat on her protruding belly.
“What, I can’t do such things”
“It is absolutely fine. No one will see you. Just be confident. Once you take it out, keep under you keyboard”
“If it is under your keyboard how will I read it”
I took her to our computer and showed how to cheat effectively. We did some practice sessions. She was a good learner.
In the afternoon we were all waiting for her, eager to know if the programs I had written was of any help or not.
Achan went to her exam hall to pick her up. Me and brother were at the gate. Amma came back and sat on the sofa.
“What happened? How was the exam”
“OK” she said in a tired voice. I could see Achan and brother trying to cover their smiles. Amma looked at them and went inside with an innocent angry face.
“OK, tell me how was it”
I asked her pushing Achan and brother off the room.
“I couldn’t take the chit you gave”
“I just couldn’t do it”
I knew she didn’t know even the #include to write.
“The invigilator was a young guy. Must be of your age”
“Then…you would have taken it. He would have acted as if he didn’t see”
“He came to me and ..”
“Don’t tell me he threw you out for cheating”
“No, listen to me first. He asked me why I was sitting without doing anything since beginning”
“I said I couldn’t recollect anything”
“Fine … tell me what happened”
“He took my paper and gave me 50 out of 100”
We both sighed. She made it.
Next day she had her Java lab. The guy was a new one and wasn’t all that friendly. So she gave the exam two more times in the succeeding years and finally another good guy helped her out.
Every 6 month she used to give her back papers. On the day of the results, she would call me and tell. Achan and brother never dared to ask her at face. So on that gloomy day of result they would approach me.
“How is her result?”
Achan would ask.
“Better than I thought. She cleared 2 papers”
“Really???!!! Out of how many”
“Oh .. just 12”
“So just 10 more” Achan would give his relieved smile.
On the day of her next exam she would come back home and tell me.
“This was not like the last exam. I have written all that you taught me. I am sure I’ll get atleast 65”
Most of the time she would miss by 5 or 10 mark.
Finally she cleared all the papers and got her reimbursements after 3 years. I was in Hyderabad. I got goosebumps when she called me up and told she cleared all the papers.
I have reasons to be a proud daughter.