Herd

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Herd

Dr. Nagsuresh craned his neck over Anup’s shoulder. He breathed out a tired sigh of disapproval and Anup hurriedly struck off the entire sentence. He looked up at the whiteboard and wondered what it was that Dr. Nagsuresh disapproved of this time. “The natural logarithm of any positive algebraic number other than one is a transcendental number…Baaa……..” he screamed, making Anup jump in his seat. “Other than one, Anup, Baaa………. other than one.” he reiterated, firmly gripping Anup’s elbow with his hoof. “That right there just cost you a point and some negatives if you may. Do you hear that?” he screamed bringing his other hoof next to his right ear, the one with a brass piercing of his unique ID. “That, Anup is the sound of your aspirations getting flushed down the sewage. Baaa …. Baaa… Baaa.” He yelled trying to calm himself down.

Dr. Nagsuresh wasn’t particularly fond of overgrown students who hadn’t yet transitioned. He firmly believed that “late bloomers” was a term invented by lazy,  escapist hippies who know nothing about the ways of the world.  Yet, he had agreed upon tutoring Anup privately on persistent requests from Anup’s parents. The fortune that he was paid for the two hour sessions didn’t hurt either. Anup was twelve when all his classmates began to transition. It wasn’t too long until all of them graduated, leaving him three years too late in the race. Several innovative training techniques, off-the-track study material and mind control camps came and went with little to no effect on his academics or overall growth.

A trembling Anup accidentally dropped his pen which invited another outburst from Dr. Nagsuresh “How will you write with hooves? You idiot! You can’t even do it right with your fingers.” he spat, mildly wetting Anup’s now teary face. “He has a PhD in Applied mathematics. He is brilliant with students. He is also a certified teen student counselor. He is perfect for Anup.” Anup’s mother had told his dad one evening at supper. “But Ma, I don’t want to transition. I’m happy as I am now.” Anup had protested. “It’s exactly ideas like these that Dr. Nagsuresh specializes in.” she had whispered to his father. Anup’s mother never questioned his capability. “My child isn’t dumb doctor. He just needs an adjustment in attitude, so to say.” she’d innocently confessed to Dr. Nagsuresh.

Dr. Nagsuresh’s methodical approach to help a stubborn child transition included cussing, humiliation and physical violence. Anecdotes of Dr. Nagsuresh’s success were widespread. Some even made it to the headlines of popular news channels. “Dr. Nagsuresh’s student victoriously transitions immediately post waking from a coma induced by blows to the head.”

Anup tossed and turned in his bed that night, sweating and shivering at the thoughts of a coma. The next day, Dr. Nagsuresh was already waiting for him in the study, his fur dripping with sweat and eyes red with fury. He held a roll of paper which he periodically tapped on table as Anup approached his chair. The whiteboard read “Transition or perish.” “You’ve failed. Again.” Dr. Nagsuresh grunted. “August 5th. Three months. That’s all you have until your next attempt. If you don’t get through this time around, I might have to arrange for a bed in the hospital…..Baaa….” he spoke in a voice that sent a chill down Anup’s spine.

For the next ninety days, Anup woke up each day in a pool of his own sweat just before dawn. “Transition, transition, transition.” he whispered to himself shutting his eyes as tight as possible. The other hours of the day, Anup spent in painstakingly memorizing whole textbooks and notes. August soon arrived but this August was different from all the ones that had passed. This august, Anup sat in the middle of a real classroom, his transition complete with hooves, fur and the face of a sheep, just like the rest of them. “Won’t perish. Baaa….” he whispered with a smile.

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