A _ _ _ E _ _
Hint: A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.
He sat at his desk with his head buried in a large book on English Grammar. It was late in the night and way past his bedtime. His eyes were tired, but the fire of determination was still burning inside of him, like a slow ember, unwilling to give up its glow against the gusts of wind. He occasionally looked up at the wall clock in his room and then looked out at the stillness of the night. It was a beautiful night to be out on a stroll and if he had his way, like he did, back in his Kingdom, he'd be out for a gallop in the night. The thought of being outside the palace walls, riding his pet horse brought a faint smile upon his face.
But he was far away, he was all alone and frightfully aware of his situation and how intimidating they were to his senses. He was a Prince, but he hadn't felt like royalty in a long while. He felt like a common man on the streets of his Kingdom. A man, whom he could decree his will upon and have thrown in the dungeon for even a minor infraction. It was then that he had felt a chill down his spine. He was in prison already - a prison of sorts. A prison called School.
He looked up at the clock again. The darned thing was so noisy. Its ticking was annoying and made his heart race at the thought of precious time fleet before his sullen eyes. Everything at the school was new to him and disagreeably so. He was away from his family, his people and his comforts. He disliked his clothes as he had to wear a uniform that made him appear more like the White people, than his own - his subjects. The clothes were uncomfortable, heavy, ill-fitting and were of dark, displeasing colours. He was used to lighter and brighter colours; colours that reminded him of the fields outside his kingdom that grew wheat, millets and vegetables. During harvest season, he'd stand and watch the farmers cut the crops with their sickles and pile them to one side. He would watch them for hours from a corner of the rooftop of the palace - a place that was sacred to him as he sat there taking in the glories of his land.
Time - 2:05 A.M.
His will and his stomach were disagreeing with his feelings toward the test that was about to commence in 6 hours. He was feeling so uneasy about the whole affair that his stomach churned and made him feel powerless and weak at the thought of taking a test. He had only recently understood the concept of a test as Rajguru ji - the royal scholar and his tutor believed in allowing him to absorb the lessons at his own pace. Guru ji was extremely patient and had kind eyes that motivated him to work hard and earn his approval. Guru ji would never correct him mid-sentence and always let him finish his thoughts before asking him to revise the lesson and go over the parts that needed more attention. At the school, everyone was expected to keep pace with the teachers and get the lessons right at the first attempt. This was most bothersome to him and the other Royal students who had only just begun learning English.
He had had great difficulty communicating with the teachers and other students of the school and was shocked at the announcement that had taken place earlier that evening. The English teacher had sprung the news of a surprise test on them. "8 a.m. tomorrow. Don't be late!" he'd announced to an exhausted group of 14-year-olds. "This will go on your record," he'd said, upon hearing them sigh and plead for a rescheduling.
What was it about this language that made him feel so apprehensive? He knew that he was physically, mentally and emotionally resisting the idea of learning the White man's language because of the strange proceedings that had taken place back home in the last six months. He was at a loss for ideas to deal with the situation. With moist eyes and sweaty palms, he sank back into his chair with his hand on his chest, listening to his heart beating away like a drum.