Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Exam-Summery

So after more than a month of sabbatical I return to my blog, and I must say I really missed blogging. In these days when I could not blog, sometimes due to a wrecked laptop charger or at other times, due to overload of work (you can’t expect yourself nor bring yourself to write just anything after keying in close to 30,000 words for your term papers). But it feels good to be back and I have promised myself that I will not take such long breaks unless necessitated by exams or ill-health or other electronic glitches which have become a commonplace for my laptop.

Anyway, as the sultry scorching heat of May approaches and threatens to dry up my thoughts along with my cognitive potential, blogging is one respite that salvages by giving me a chance to exercise my brain that is shrinking every minute. Sometimes I wonder if this lethargy of mind is because of lethargy of the body or vice versa, well either way, it is obviously not helping and definitely not desired. A few days before one of my friends complained about every corner of her house feeling like a blast furnace, and I couldn’t agree more. And much worse in such situations is to write exams, straining every grey cell and each muscle of your body to keep on moving despite the sweltering heat threatening to take charge over you, so that you want to throw away your pen, pour that water bottle over your head and declare in a shrill shriek, “I can take no more, I know what to write so could you mark me on my knowledge?” If you are in an approved degree college, however, this doesn’t work. You still have to sit through and rummage your brains to complete the rest of the paper somehow. I wish Einstein had tested his relativity theory on the hapless exam takers who have to go through this torture in the months of unexceptional heat and sweat. I am sure he’d have answers that would have corresponded to his theory to the wee bit. Every minute counts, and so does every word even if it slithers across the sheet as the invigilator is pulling the sheet away from you.

 I have always wondered how some people manage to finish the paper before time. However, after much contemplation I came to the conclusion, that these early birds who finish the paper while others still have their noses buried in their papers are generally of two kinds, one are those, who know exactly what to write and how much of it and so do just that and finish on time. The others, after having spent enough time roving their eyes here and there, observing people, after several failed frantic and desperate attempts at using vile means, having exhausted their capacity to use other means to while time, or have just laid their weapons because of the futility of trying out any foul means in the presence of the invigilator. Examinations are a part of the conspiracy of a defeatist world, where the paper setter invariably knows what you left for studying, what was the question you prepared on the first day of the 4 day break and the answer you just saw before entering the exam hall and now despite innumerable frustrating and self defeating attempts you can’t seem to remember. In fact I often feel exams are a way to test how you can still manage to survive three hours of this gruesome mental crusade and are able to retain your sanity and good belief amidst such debilitating and overwhelming circumstances that incessantly go against you by the cruel work of fate.

The worse being, you look up having given up all hopes of ‘passing with flying colours’( or any colour for that matter except obviously the ‘red’) and look around trying to find a camaraderie, a companionship in your suffering and sadly find almost everybody else writing so feverishly as if earning extra life points with every written word. And as you skim through the classroom searching for a soul-mate whose condition is as dreary as your own, you find in the other corner of the room some other cheeky lost soul whose also looking up and running his eyes across the room, but before you can meet his eyes and exchange a mental hi5, the kid gets himself busy again, leaving you alone to resume your penury. Finally, it dawns upon you that you have come to write an exam and not a thesis on the report of human behaviour in examination halls. You grip the pen firmly determined to get a go at the last answer you know, but don’t want to write for some no god forsaken reason. However, as soon as you get at it, the invigilator announces in her shrill voice that only about 5 minutes are left.

The world comes crashing down, the illusions of time are shattered, the relative theory requires to be turned around its head, and in what seems like a race against time, you wonder if the limits of 5 minutes can be stretched. Suddenly, everything starts running in your mind, but alas all in a haphazard manner in random order of importance and priority. You begin eating up words, believe that you have already written something when you have not, and the conclusion is never out of the mind, because the teacher taught, never leave the answer without concluding it, you may fudge the other portions, but conclude!

And after all the tussle against time, escaping the hawk eyes of the invigilator to catch that one word from a friend that reminded you of a whole answer, and through the several bouts of water gulps between answers to give yourself time to recollect and reassure yourself that all’s not lost, you somehow finish your paper, with random scribbling across the question paper, with doodles, remarks about how you don’t get a word and random calculations of the anticipated marks taking up the entire body of the blank space on the paper.

But what pervades all these dismal details, is the joy and the exhilaration of getting free, rather getting rid of an exam, a subject, of something that wouldn’t haunt you for some time at least. As opposed to some people, I never relook at the paper, what’s done is done and now will R.I.P. I can’t fight the determinism and fatalism that is entailed in exam giving, and so I submit almost unquestioningly to this barter of knowledge for marks.


  1. Welcome back !! :)

    Catch a word that reminds of the entire answer... hahha .. it has happened to me :P

  2. Thank you! For being one of the few religious followers I have :)
    And this thing of getting the whole answer from a single word is common to almost all exam takers :p and that definitely includes me :p

  3. That's the best representation of whats goes through the exam taker,pervading through all streams ,courses & colleges,with the high's & lows,Hay's & ho's, & i esp. like the last bit of it,i guess,coz i do have the same mantra "what’s done is done and now will R.I.P."

    Which reminds me ,i have an exam in 3 days & i should be studying right now :)
    Keep writing!