Saturday, 21 September 2013

Exams! Oh Exams!

                                              EXAMINATION HALL
Exam time! Stress! Cramming! Tension! Indigestion! Nervous sweat! We all are well versed in the adjectives defining exams. Exams are the culmination of everything one has learnt over a period of time. Its like a crescendo at the end of a not so melodious, soul stirring symphony. Not that the current education environment can be compared to a symphony! It takes all kinds to make a bunch and so it happens in the examination hall too.
Early morning assemblies happen in full earnest. The prayers go up from a burdened heart with so much projectile force that its sure to land at the feet of the One-Above. Oiled hair, tilaked foreheads, red threads of mandir pujas all become a part of the uniform.
The teacher arrives in the Hall carrying the bundles of torture. Just a slight shift in the stance of the students signals the start of a battle - battle with the words. The teacher asks for peace and quiet but how will she quieten the fluttering butterflies of anxiety in the rumbling, curds swishing bellies. As the question paper and answer sheet land on the desk - different welcomes await them. Some kiss them, some fold their hands in prayer, some take them on with full confidence, some accept them with sweating palms, some handle them with fear, some with reverence and some with complete apathy.
Then starts the elaborate ritual of filling the columns and drawing margins. Decorations make the paper so colourful and add some romance to the drab white paper. Small flowers adorn the corners. Some go in for full on assault and start straight away. Some wait for the shock to settle in a and deal with it, one bite at a time. After the ritualistic assessment of the paper is over some faces have slight hints of smiles and some wide eyed dazed expressions. Some feel the colour returning to their faces. The teacher takes the rounds of the Hall as frenzied fingers get busy with the pens. One desk has a mini-makeshift temple placed in a corner with ganesha's idol smiling up benevolently - but reception towers on the student's face are not ready yet. She's totally confused and scared. God Almighty save her!
Fifteen minutes into the paper one of them dozes off while thinking really hard. Another goes for a full blast yawn. Some are skittish trying to coax the answers from their fellow students. Everyone tries his/her level best to tackle the questions which sit prettily on their desks challenging them to a duel. Some students win in the end and some loose. But somehow all manage to fight the battle and survive to fight the one coming up the next day.Stories are repeated only the character of the paper changes. Yesterday it was English, the next day it would be Maths. This battle of the knowledge and the seekers will continue till Lawyers design the templates of our education system. Hope some day actual educationists take on the task and help the warring factions sign the truce!                           

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