Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My first Exam in Engineering!


Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The transition from school to college is definitely a huge leap in one’s life. In my case, when I joined my engineering course at BITS there was something else that also took a gigantic leap. The probability of getting a ‘zook’ i.e just a 100 short of a centum catapulted to very close to 1 from 0.

The marked difference in the method of teaching amongst the various boards of education in India becomes very evident when they meet at a common educational institute.


Students from my board were used to the concept of the length of the answer being directly proportional to the marks scored and had become almost like carbon papers by the time they cleared their boards. Recording and replicating as per the book. To these folks the conceptual methodologies of teaching and evaluating at the institute was totally alien. It took them nearly two to three semesters to gel with the system and get accustomed.

Added to that, there were some common courses across all disciplines in the first two years that took the forms of Draculas and Frankensteins in the nightmares of many a student - Mech Sol(Mechanics Of Solids), Thermodynamics to name a few. Additionally the professors set the question papers, when the red colored halves of their minds with two horns and a tail were fully active and the soft white dress wearing halves were in a deep slumber! Villains!

My first test was Ad Cal – Advanced Calculus. Calculus in its primitive form itself used to give me the look of a bird stuck by electric shock in cartoons – (In reality they do not survive, in cartoons they do and just get the look  ). Advanced version could be so lethal.

The eve of the exam, like a very meticulous student, I packed all the stationery I might need – Pen, Pencil, Eraser, Ruler, Pink Pen, Green Pen, Violet Pen (Seriously). Sometimes taking a lot of things including 80% unwanted things would give you a teeny weeny bit boost of confidence ha ha

Then came the next problem. What if I don’t hear the alarm and end up missing the test? What if my clock stops working in the middle of the night leave alone the alarm? I took the clock in my hand and spoke to it with as much affection as I could. ‘Please wake me up!’

The worst thing about exam mornings is that they arrive too fast. And mine too did.

I had a quick bath, got into what I believed was the least ill-luck-infested-dress, applied some sacred vermillion I had collected at the temple and left the hostel.

Piety reaches its zenith every five minutes before a human being sits for an exam.

I prayed to all the Gods I knew and asked for forgiveness for any stupid things I had done in the past few days ignoring my conscience and begged them to not let that reflect it in my test.


The invigilator entered the hall. He appeared to me with a mace and a rope seated on a black buffalo. God of Death himself! He gave us a deadly look through his reading glasses and distributed the answer sheets.


I opened my stationery purse to take my pen out. My mouth hung open by six inches in ABSOLUTE SHOCK.

There were no pens there…Not even one.

No Green, No violet , no blue!

Earrings! There were earrings instead – Long, Short, Wide, Red, Pink, Green, and Blue …Around 25 pairs.

I am crazy about earrings and I had kept my collection on top of my cupboard in a blue purse. The stationery that I had fastidiously packed, I had placed into a very similar looking purse and placed it next to it. In my hurry from the hostel, like an idiot I had picked the wrong purse.

How was I supposed to write an exam with 25 pairs or earrings, no matter how attractive they were?

My adrenalin poured like Niagara on my inside. My sweat appeared as beads and evaporated into vapor in the heat that I felt. I quickly turned to the guy behind and asked if he had an extra pen. He had brought just one. Idiot! What if it stopped writing?

I quickly called the girl in front and said ‘I don’t have a pen. Would you have an extra one?’ She looked at me like I was a close replica of the alien in Steven Spielberg’s ET.

Behind the thick glasses that covered her face, I could clearly see the astonishment.

By now Yama had started distributing the question papers as well.

The girl luckily had something that could pass for a pen. Something that I could write with. That moment, she was my Guardian Angel! My Savior! I would have happily fallen at her feet!


I somehow regained composure and started facing the actual demon, my question paper.


In BITS, what matters is where you stand on a comparative scale. You get accustomed to scoring something like 12 on 100 and finding yourself on cloud nine as the class average is 11 on 100. That test, I scored above average!! Thanks to the bespectacled angel who blessed me with writing tool the day I went pen less to an exam – My first exam in Engineering!

73 comments:

  1. The case of the mistaken purse.
    Well written.
    By the way did you draw that? If so, excellent.
    Once you are done with engineering, take up fine arts :-)

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    1. Thanks a lot . I drew that , yes using Ms paint on my laptop :)

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  2. YAMA DISTRIBUTED QUESTION PAPERS :D
    corrected by chitragupta :D

    all same mattais in kuttais :D

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    1. Yes boo-boo ( that name is too good) , same kuttAis everywhere :)

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  3. so you looked like that cartoon when you couldn't find a pen. hey, did you draw this one? it looks neat. teach me how to draw cartoons.

    absolutely loved the post!!

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    1. I must have looked worse ha ha . Yes , I drew it using ms paint . I looked in the net for some images but was not sure of all copyright complications . So decided to make one on my own . Glad that it's not that bad as I thought :) I also drew the one on my post abt Internet :)

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  4. My God! That is almost like the nightmare that came alive. Even now, I dream about missing an exam. My commonest nightmare was going blank on seeing the paper. Luckily that never happened in real life. I couldn't help stifling a smile when you opened the box and found 25 pairs of earrings :).

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    1. I also get nightmares about exams but this one was real ! :) thanks for the comment :)

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  5. LOL! Earrings Jaishree...And you are from BITS. WOW!

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    1. Yeah saru , lots of them earrings :D

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  6. Lolz:):D ..wonder how come you are into sciences, you ARE such an artist in more ways than one:) ( with apologies to scientists..no offence intended plz)

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    1. Well Amitji, most engineers in our country are into sciences not because they love it :D ..They just happen to be in it...You score good marks - become docs or engineers....Mediocre marks...Take up some arts course....ha ha...Btw, I have an engineering degree in Electronics and then I started working in Software...So not exactly continuing with what I graduated in...Now I am no longer in Programming as well...:)

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    2. I'm sorry but I beg to differ ma'am! Arts or Humanities is in no way inferior to Science or Commerce. All prestigious colleges demand a good 10% extra marks from Science/Commerce students seeking admission in Arts, some even refuse it right away. Nor it is that only poor scorers go for Arts. My mom a PhD, D.Lit, University Topper, and a Gold Medalist never went for Science etc. and has no regrets about it.

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    3. Hi Amitji

      I think my statement gave a wrong picture . I did not mean that . I just am pointing out the way education system works in some parts of the country. Students take up courses the way they are instructed by society and not out of passion . Hope this clarifies . I also believe that sciences and arts are equally important and neither inferior . And no wonder you are so good at what you do . Should be in your genes .

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    4. Hey c'mon Jaish..plz don't take it that seriously:) We need to have different opinions for healthy interaction and discussions..I did not ask you to agree with me. Two individuals having two views may both be right or both be wrong. Not a big issue ma'am:) I value friends and would never want them to agree with me as viewpoints are so transitory:) So, please, just relax! and smile:):)

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  7. lovely :) earrings instead of pens! :D

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    1. Thanks Ash...Yes, earrings! Poor Me :)

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  8. lol!! that was a fun post what with all those devils and Yama himself!!

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  9. Haha... the doodle is hilarious and so is the post!

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    1. Thanks Abhyudaya,...Glad that you liked it :)

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  10. Nice fun loaded post Jaish...Enjoyed reading..:-)

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  11. Jaishree, I am sure you must have developed cold feet at the sight of those earrings with a heartbeat matching an express train:) Lovely read!

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    1. Thanks a lot Rahul. Yeah, my heart barely escaped bursting :)

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  12. made my smile , niceeeeeeeeee :) thank you

    exam time .. reminded me of mine I was always dependent on the one sitting in front of me , to pass me the exam. :)

    Bikram's

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    1. I also gave a exam to get into engineering college , it was called JET I think .. I had a dice with me and I was ticking the replies after thrwoing the dice for each answer :) I wonder why I did not get through the exam.. and in the second part of the exam the invigilator took it off me toooo ... :( I lost the dice tooo

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    2. Ha ha ha...Super....But sometimes there are only four choices...So what do you do if the dice shows 5 or 6?

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    3. ROll it Again :) no energy wasted .. easy peasy :)

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  13. ha ha :D though i am laughing now but it is as if the worst nightmare has found life... it was always in my dreams... thankfully never happened... and what a doodle .. so do you look like the doodle complete with raised hairs? :)

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    1. That was the result of my attempt at self-portrait depicting the moment ha ha ha.... I dont look like the doodle now, mainly I dont wear glasses anymore ha ha

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  14. ha ha ha !!!! what a lovely post ...believe me I just can't imagine myself in that situation...25 pairs of earrings starring at me when all i need is a pen !!!!
    Good one Jaish !!!

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  15. I couldn't help laughing loudly when I was going through your article.
    very good one!

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    1. Thanks :) Laughter is good for anyone and I am glad my post gave some to you :D

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  16. Nice story narrated beautifully. I can understand what you have been through. I have had ignominy of nearly getting a zero. I submitted a nearly blank paper and walked out. Luckily the professor gave be 2 marks and saved me. Maybe I should write the story one day on my blog. I liked the ear rings part - shocker indeed. I remember landing up for an exam without my calci. Then rushed back to hostel to get calci losing exam time.

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    1. Do write about it TF :) Luckily I had my calci with me. No one would bring two calci s you see and so no chance of begging or borrowing it!

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  17. Oh My... You know my heart started pounding hard when you found earrings instead of your pens. Very well narrated, every moment of what goes through in an exam hall just before the paper is distributed by the 'Yama'. :D

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    1. Hi Akshay

      If your heart was pounding reading about it, imagine my plight when it happened for real :) ...Thanks for the comment :)

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  18. Hahaaha jaishree...hillariois read.
    The only preperation i used to do before exams is to buy new pens, religiously :) was never studious :) no regrets.

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    1. Hi Mak

      Even I like buying new pens ..Before exams and otherwise :)

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  19. Lol Nice! Reminded me of my own exam days! I remember once I had gone to the exam hall without brushing my teeth! And I was writing the exam to be a dentist!
    Well written!

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    1. Ha ha, That was a funny piece of info about you Danny :) Unlike my case there was no way you could have rectified it before the exam got over :D

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    2. Yeah, I bought 2 mint gums just before I entered the exam hall and spit it out before I walked in!

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  20. Very well-written but how did you manage to get above average in your exam after that earrings shock? I would have been so unnerved and lost my cool that failure would be so easy. I must say that instead of laughing, I am full of admiration for your ability to compose yourself!

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    1. Hi Bhavana

      I owe that to the girl in front who lent me her pen :D Thanks for the comment....I normally get tensed very easily for unneceesary things....At times when I am supposed to loose my cool, I remain composed I guess :D

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  21. Goodness me...I am still chuckling....-D:-D
    Great read...!!!!!!

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    1. Thank you so much :D And I am grinning wide reading that comment..:)

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  22. what a super duper post! could help smiling all along..very well written.
    Exam nightmares are common, not waking up in time, going blank, not reaching the exam hall not matter how hard you run..all of them :-)
    But, staring into a purse full of earrings instead of pens in reality takes the cake!..lololol

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  23. Thanks Uma . I was popular amongst my friends for such totally incredible stupid actions hi hi

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  24. Aahhh…. Those memories… you brought them back to me in a flash. Those BITSIAN terms.. were music to my ears. It has been a while. Loved your Ad-Cal description! I can only think of one probably two BITSian souls who might disagree with you! :P

    And boy.. your narrative of your preparations of the exam were so rip-roaringly hilarious. Sprinkled generously with humor they kept me smiling all the way. And the OMG moment came when I reached the earrings part. ;) And in all the chaos, I really admire your what-if thinking about the other guy’s pen running out of ink. :P

    But I totally agree. Our first tryst with exams at BITS was nothing short of an eye opener. It was a completely different and unique experience. Evergreen memories those!

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  25. Hi raj

    Thanks a ton for that lovely comment .
    I knew that you would be able to relate to it very well . Hi hi :) yes evergreen memories indeed :)

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  26. This reminded me of the time when I was in ninth standard and maths papers spooked me out. I held the question paper in my hand and all I could remember were the lines from some random film song without the slightest clue about the answers to the questions. And I promptly burst into tears (silent ones, of course!) I was saved by my maths teacher who somehow passed me with grace marks. Else I would have failed the exam!

    You indeed were lucky to have got the pen before 'Yama' came along :) Nice narration.

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  27. Hi Zephyr

    Thanks for stepping in and for the comments. Random film songs can really cause havoc in our poor brains at times :D

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  28. HHHHHAHAHA ;) Brilliant! Now you have earring boxes that has little compartments where you can compartmentalize them (based on color?) this is what you really need!

    But err... I was under the impression that you were not a student, you were done studying. Am I wronged? :-/ Probably I should write a post, confusions of a slacking stalkaholic :P :D

    Keep writing Jaish!

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    1. Ha ha kappu , I am done with studying . That was more than ten yrs ago :) during my first semester at college :) thanks for the comment

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  29. Jaish, :D :D a big laugh for this post and this really reminded my engineering days :P colorful earrings picture is awesome

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    1. Thanks Jasmeet :) Those days can never be forgotten!

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  30. Ha!Ha! My first time here and I had a hearty laugh while reading this :) Good to meet another earring-lover ;)

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  31. Hi Divya

    Thanks for stepping in. Welcome to my blog and thanks for the comments. Oh Yeah! I am crazy about earrings :)

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  32. Wow. That was some experience. We all have angels coming by now and then, don't we ;-) ?

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    1. Hi Ashwini

      Thanks for stepping in :)

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  33. Earrings instead of pen :O
    I once went to the exam without hall ticket, and that caused similar panic attacks in me. The way these YAMAS look at us during invigilation will be like as if they are seeing some accused! I hate that looks!
    And you drew that in MS Paint - Great!!

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    1. Thanks for the comments Vaish. And hall ticket is something you cannot borrow from others! :)

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  34. Nice write. Back in college days I use to have Exam syndromes.

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