For me, it’s thrilling when I’m caught by surprise. I, even, always look forward to being surprised; as slightly ironic as that sounds.
Yesterday, however, it came as a blow when I read the question set for a scholarship exam I had satisfactorily prepared for.
The question said, ‘In as few or as many words as possible, what do you want?’
To say the least, I felt immeasurably weak and stunned.
I must have blinked 20 times in 2 seconds. I must, also, have made such a fuss from turning over the question sheet, that the young man beside me tapped me and said, ‘Relax. It’s just a trick question. Think.’
Confused, I stared at his smiling face. He opened his answer booklet and I instinctively looked at what he wrote. He wrote; ‘I want this scholarship’.
My eyes widened as he put a full stop, neatly closed the booklet and lifted his hand to signal for submission.
I became even more confused and depressed. I’m a very intelligent person, so, it’s foreign to feel completely clueless.
I looked to my right and saw that the lady beside me was writing furiously. Well, she wasn’t even hiding what she was writing, so, I took a look.
It said; ‘I want a world of peace; where we can walk on the streets without fears or agitation. I want a world where everyone has equal rights and even plants and animals are recognized as living things and given relative respect and dignity. I want a world where there are no atrocities neither are there thoughts of atrocities. I want a world where the smiles on the faces of black children do not become something we have to donate money to see. I want a world where the leaders see themselves as servants and the followers have the leadership mentality. I want a world where hunger and poverty are only spoken of in history classes and insurgency is debated to be a myth. I want a world where the best education is for free and good health care is the norm. Sadly, I want a surreal world.’
I was close to tears. It was so beautifully written on such short notice. I realized that time was running out, and I was also having a terrible headache. So I picked up my pen and wrote, ‘I want a world where scholarships are given to people because they are intelligent. Not because they are poor’. I read it aloud to myself and hissed. It sounded so stupid and silly.
Here’s what I finally wrote.
‘The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. But if He wants me to want, then I would want you to disregard the first two statements or laugh at them. Because, honestly, I have a headache and I want nothing more than two Panadol pills and a glass of water. But if I were to choose just one want, I want a lifetime-long meeting with my mysterious father. And if you don’t mind, I would want an android battery that never dies so I can post pictures of us on Instagram. However if I wanted something more, I would want four sane roommates, three new pairs of shoes, two lungs immune to asthma, and actually, a partridge in a pear tree (that would be a sight).
Most importantly, I want those in want to stop being in want because being in want makes you less wanted by people who either ought to be wanted or want nothing more than being wanted.’
Apparently, I really just want to confuse you into giving me this scholarship’
*My fingers are crossed for the result*