Exams! Exams!! Exams!!!, Millions of students worldwide get nightmares because of these. I too have been thorough incubus since I’m aware of my existence as a student. Exams, to me, are still as tough as these were when I was in primary school. During the school days, it was all about maintaining the first rank in the toad’s world. In High school, it was all fight related to internal exams, classes and tuitions. Then college, here too it was no less game then earlier, labs reports, surprise tests and yes, Viva and thesis. Getting bored! Ok...finally but not the last, Examinations for professional degrees, crucial observations by big bosses, friends, and society at large.
Even the ways to stop the malpractices in the exams are getting tougher exam after exam. In the school days, it used to be just beating, scolding and answer sheet snatching. In the board exams it became punishable offense, and now in professional courses, even the movements of students are A/V recoded. But I’ve been amongst the few lucky ones, those who have passed through government schools with students insisting on cheating, whatever be the punishment, after all it was their Army career which was at stake. For teachers, catching the cheaters red handed, beating hell out of them was great fun. Some used to say, “Even I used to cheat in my school days, it’s a normal practice. But your crime is that you are being caught. What will your spouse say? That you didn’t even learn cheating in your school days!”
Unlike others, who, used to depend on high amounts of ammunition (Kharre) and even pass books. I was among the small times crooks; we could just tell the answers, show the copies and in some case pass around the supplementary sheets. In one 9th class exam, Vinay Sharma, who used to be just after me in the row, and I cheated. I showed most of the answers to him but not all, because even I had to finish my paper. After exam, he was all fired on; he had to leave two questions because of me! As I didn’t show all the answers. What a show of gratitude. In the next exam he kept on calling but I didn’t turn back. Half of the exam time was over and he was worried. Then suddenly said, “Hey ! there is something in your hair, just above your neck.” “Is it ?”, I turned back, stroking my head. He was all smiles. And now he asked again,”Yaar tell me the answer of no 14.” "what? I just have 10 questions in my paper", I asked. How come you have 14?. I turned over my paper again. But it had just 10, nothing more. He showed his paper to me, and then I came to know that my paper was printed on one side only. Had he not asked, I was happy doing just 10 questions.
After maths, next exam was of science. For this we were huddled in a single hall. As per the seating arrangement, Sonam, the topper, was in my right side in second column. She came excitedly and said, “Let’s tally our answers in objective part of the paper.” I agreed, after all I was going to gain something this time. We decided that we would show 1 for A, 2 for B ...4 for D. After 20 mins both of us were done with first part of the paper, so it was the time to start with the signs. She kept showing A,C,B.....and I kept nodding for all the questions, suddenly something came in my mind and I indicated that answer is A. Apollo-7 not B. Soyuz-T for the last question. She replied in negative, but I insisted and she agreed. I felt strange for a moment but I did this while I kept my answer B only. It was the first time that I’d cheated someone just to make sure that I get the full marks in the first part of paper. For the second part of the paper we didn’t make any attempt to cheat. After exam, she was happy that both of us helped each other for the first time and I was feeling guilty but I didn’t say anything.
After the winter vacation, in the first week of Jan, our science teacher Chandra was ready with the evaluated answer sheets. He first announced the overall highest mark in the both the parts combined, and then he told the marks in first part as well. I got the best marks in both parts of the paper. I got 10/10 in first part. After 10 mins he started to collect the answer sheets back. I asked Sonam sarcastically, “So what happened topper?, you got just 8 marks in first part.” She didn’t reply, but I insisted. Then her friend said, “She left one question unanswered to make sure that you get the highest marks and got another wrong by bad luck”. I said,”I wish you were a boy.I need a friend like you.” Then I could not stand there any further. I felt as if she cut me into the pieces. I betrayed her trust. And you know what; there was no rule to punish this cheating.
PS: Purists please let me know the errors....names are fictitious.