‘Modern college’ had been the name of the center where I had to go along with other friends – or classmates – to write the eggjam. The college changed the idea of modern which I had for quite a long time. I thought a college with such a name should have clean classrooms, air-conditioned or something like that, fashionable and stylish, ahead of times.
As I started moving in the corridor of college (modern college), all I could get was the stinking wee-wee smell, the battered classrooms were not even close to my notion of modern ; there were no ventilation in the classrooms; the windows were all at their worst condition ; everything looked as though it wasn’t renovated for a decade or so.
The invigilator sat on the chair, her legs crisscrossed. The students kept staring at the answer papers (booklets) which were distributed to them. A very strange kind of a paper it was. In the answer sheet there were too many instructions to be followed, which I, for one, could not understand, nor could the other students, they all looked bemused. We’re all hoping that the invigilator might say something about the instructions, but she didn’t.
Time was running out of hand, suddenly some students spoke unanimously, “Ma’am, won’t you tell us anything about the instructions?”
“Oh, do I need to?” asked the invigilator, total surprised. The invigilator, then, started speaking a foreign language until the moment someone interrupted pleadingly, “Ma’am, English please!”
Soon she obliged to speak in English, but then, she was murdering English, and someone had to tell her once again, “Ma’am, please switch on to a different language, if possible, Hindi.”
She herself wasn’t aware of how to fill the instructions on the booklet, “Just give me a moment,” she said and went out to the other class room, I assume to ask the other invigilator about the instructions. She came back, told us what to do and what not to do.
While filling the instructions it took us more than twenty minutes. That meant we had to write the answers at a bullet pace ( faster than Toronto express ), out of two hours, twenty minutes were gone!
I was amazed at the skills some of my fellow examinees possessed, the skills of cheating I mean. Some wrote the answers beforehand on their fingers, on their nails, legs, toes, palms, almost everywhere. And though it was strictly prohibited to carry any kind of papers, I saw some students seemingly gleefully inserted their hands into their pockets and brought out small pieces of paper in which the font size of the letters were perhaps lesser than four. One more thing is that the students were asked not to write anything on the question papers, but who cared? They wrote it anyway, and played pass-pass with the question papers, as long as the invigilator did not see.
I heard a continuous beeping sound and looked around to find where it was coming from. A guy who sat next to me was punching the keys of his cell phone. I kept staring at him for few seconds unbelievably, “What are you looking at?” he bellowed and clutched his headgear.
“You are brave,” I commented. He smiled and clutched his headgear once again, and said boldly, “I’m a Sardar!”
Now, the invigilator heard the beeping sound and found where it was coming from, she shouted: “Yanna Rascalla!” and, with that, I knew the invigilator must be a Tamilian or a huge fan of Rajnikant, moreover she smelt of coconut and coffee as she walked past me. She got the hold of the brave Sardar’s phone, and gave a warning, which, I believe, was the first as well as the last warning.
I was writing with full concentration when all of a sudden a hulk of a man came inside the classroom, spitted paan(betel leaf combined with areca nut) stained saliva from the window of the classroom to the ground, and said boastfully and mercilessly: “ Stop writing. Time’s up!”
That took me by total surprise. At that time I didn’t even write for forty-five marks, the paper consisted of sixty marks. I think I’m amongst one of the slowest writers in the world, but then, what I write makes sense. The invigilator after collecting the other students’ paper came to me and asked to submit the paper; I was reluctant to do that. The invigilator, then, started snatching the paper from me. “Wait,” I protested, “Let me write, or else I’ll fail.”
“Give, I said!”
“Wait, I said,” I retorted then added, “Please.”
This went on for two minutes or so. I knew all answers, but the invigilator was adamant and persisted that I should submit the paper; I had no other option left, so I gave up.
I was depressed (still am) and all other papers (except for one) after the first paper did not go as per my expectations, I’m just hoping to get the passing mark, that’s it and nothing more.
Copyright © 2012 RAMU DAS