Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Exams and the associated Nautanki


Well....well, I am not giving any exams currently nor do I have any coming up in the near future. Is this exam season? Not for schools definitely, I don't know about non-semester courses. Bi-semester ones-hmmmm, nah not for engineering folks too.

Was just recalling those times when during the last few days - books are handled with great fervor. The time when we dust out our syllabus book that was delivered to us when the semester/year began. Time to browse through the book and figure out what were the electives chosen. New friends are made with the purpose of having combined studies. Days of late night oil burning, mommy dearest bringing a glass of warm milk at the middle of a ghostly night. TVs packed off and disposed off to attic...err I am exaggerating, well at least satellite TV connections cut off and day and night spent hidden among hoards of confusing literature which would seem Greek and Latin.

Image from http://nursingpad.blogspot.com/2009_05_01_archive.html

Days when utmost respect is given to the lecturers, so much that they tend to get insecure and wonder whats wrong! Days when one starts inquiring about the directions to the library and when the campus playground and cafeteria is empty with only flies swarming. Days when hours are spent roaming around for notes and waiting at the photocopy shops to get a copy of the ready made notes. Nights when hostels are in full swing studying and a fog of smoke engulfing every one's den due to fags.

Image from www.library.vanderbilt.edu/visions/

There used to be limited copies of some text books in the library. A couple of them that I can recall are Barry B Brey's 8085 microprocessor and Richard Steven's Unix Network Programming. These books used to be off the shelf like hot cakes during exams and internals, that is when we used to study.
I was my librarian's favorite. He would hide one copy of these for me so that I can have them. Excuse me!! I didn't bribe him or do anything unethical!!

Talking about new friends made, those were the times of combined study and projects. Each one wanted to hang on with the brightest in the class or in our cases, with people who managed to got to do projects from few of the top companies in the industry. Most of them would end up with those kinda folks who didn't know what preprocessor directive in C was!! But they did bag a nice project in some nice company because their brothers, uncles or some relatives worked in those companies.

Those are the times when the staff rooms are full with students hovering around lecturers and professors, not for learning things but begging them to adjust their internal marks and to adjust their attendance percentages. Oh my!!! These are the times when you feel "Ah, how easy it would now be if I had tried a bit in the beginning to create an impression and build a nice rapport."

Ahhh, days when each one's face was hidden behind a mask called textbooks, days when the fingers do all the talking when lips murmuring something and eyes shut tight trying to push few things into that poor organ called brain.

Image from http://archive.student.bmj.com/back_issues/0499/graphics/life1.gif

Then the D day...Exam days

Last minute cramming, preparations, drawing 2-stroke and 4 stroke engines in the air, writing programs on the mud, getting confused between C and C++ syntax, unethically preparing chits to cheat on while writing Business and Professional Ethics.

Image from http://zineculturefiles.pbworks.com/f/cramming.JPG

A girl would be busily cramming and putting up an intellectual expression. Go ask her a simple doubt, she will say "Oh! this. Very easy!" Ask her to explain and she will blah blah some nonsense and escape!!

Someone coming by and asking "What book is this?" When you say this is Part 2 of the subject and the person exclaims "Oh!!! Were there part 1 and 2?"


Bell rings and people walk into the exam hall still trying to cram in how much ever possible. Question papers are passed along, curiosity and fear turns into confusion. Which subject is this?? Did I study for the same kinda doubts. Look around and see the same expression on every one's face and be relived that you are not alone!!

A guy sitting beside you nudges to pass on your answer sheet while writing, in the exam hall. Why doesn't he understand revealing the answer sheet while concentrating and writing the answers is far more difficult than copying!!!!

You ignore and he nudges, stare and him and he stares back and nudges again, you look around with fear to see if the supervisor is watching you and pass on your sheet. When you want it back, he ignores you.

Image from http://comps.fotosearch.com/comp/IMZ/IMZ401/boy-cheating-exam_~sps0441.jpg

Look in awe when you see someone bursting with confidence and finishing off promptly and getting out of the hall. Finally, plead with the supervisor to let you write those last 2 words as if it would fetch you gold medal when the time's out.

Come out of the hall and discuss answers and sweat when you figure out you wrote about 2 stroke engine when asked about 4 stroke, or when you wrote algorithm of bubble sort when asked for quick sort, or when you answered for mutex instead of answering for a semaphore and count your probable marks!!

Wonderful moments isn't it? Please share if you have any such exam nautanki moments


  1. Firstly, where should I begin!! I loved the post. Nostalgia...

    Satelline TV cut off!! I have never heard of any such thing!! Who would do something like that! Whoa! Extremes.

    Warm milk you make me doze off!! LOL!

    Never stepped into the library!!

    My impression was so bad with the lecturers. Not that I was the most rebellious in the class, but for the reason that I never begged for anything like marks, attendance percentages etc... I think these lecturers like to have the feeling of control over you and that you can dance to their tune. I was kind of the odd one out, and so was not liked too much. :-) I liked the fact that they recognised what i was feeling about them.

    Man copying!! LOL!!
    Copying from the fat text book was an examination chore...
    8 semesters * 6 subjects * 3 mid terms * 2 model exams = whatever.
    I copied on 90% of these exams from book. Was caught once though! Anyway, good strike rate I thought...

  2. Nice post Insignia. Those were the days. Fond memories.

    I was a bully but studied very well. The night before exam I see friends studying hard. I used to tell them there is no use studying in the last minute. If you have already studied very well then there is no need to study the night before exam. If you have not studied until now, last minute studying will not help you.

    A few hours before the exam, I used to ask friends which (essay type) questions do they think will be asked and they had prepared for. They would give their list. I would calmly say that those questions will not be asked. Avanga vayathla puliya karaikka
    (to make them nervous).

    Ir was fun then.

  3. The reason why I was caught once during the college was so silly. I always copy keeping the book on my lap and when the lecturer comes, I would press the book under the desk with my lap and sometimes have a conversation too with them. One time, there was three 2 kg book and for some god forsaken reason I kept it by my side and not on my lap. I finished copying the answer and like a bit ass, I was analysing the steps and I had not understood them. Most of my preparation for the semester exam would be from the stuff I learnt while copying. You see a chunk of material once and then write a page in the answer sheet. So that was a good way of preparing for the semester examinations. :-p

  4. Kya likti ho tumare me jadu hai yar dil ki bat juban pe nai tum seede blog me la deti ho pata hai ise pad ke mere purane din yad a gae sari ghatnae sach hai aur sabke sath aisha hota hai specially
    Someone coming by and asking "What book is this?" When you say this is Part 2 of the subject and the person exclaims "Oh!!! Were there part 1 and 2?"
    this is the best part hahahha too good keep it up

  5. heyaa :)

    yaar yaadein tazza ho gayin :P

    absolutely correct esp the lat part of the post, after and before exams everyone seems to have own fundas and theorems ..hahaha!!..gr8 fun..missing :(

  6. Hi Gautam,

    Yeah TV connections were cut off in my home when my brother had exams. Not when I had though :-)

    Your copying experiences are so versatile I must say. I have never tried it. So scared to copy, instead I thought learning was better. :-)

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  7. Hi SG,

    Thank you. You are so right. If you study earlier, don't have to do last minute preparations. If you haven't, still no use doing any last minute preparations.

  8. Hi Sanju,

    Maza aaya na? College ki yaad aa gayi?

    Thanks for your comments.

  9. Hi AS,

    :-) Hahahaha...Hmm it was refreshing here too. Those were the good old days

  10. wow...this one reminded me of my school, college days...I used to be really scared during exam times but my nervousness would reach it's pinnacle a day before the results were declared especially the boards results

  11. hey thats a whole lot of college memories that came gushing back :)!! wow i remember the 8085 microprocessor book still... wow, how much i liked that!..totally Nostalgic post!! thanks for bringing back all the memories..really mean it...
    p.s : yu cud hav put up a pic of those books..lol :)

    H a R y

  12. Hi Gayathri,

    I bet!! This post was written to bring about reminiscence of all those happier times.

    Lol!! Results day was when one's heart jumped out just like Jim Carrey's in The Mask :-D

  13. Hi Hary,

    Kindal, keli...you got reminded of everything I suppose.
    My pleasure, it was really good recalling those nice times.

    Oh yeah, the 8085 microprocessor book. Man!! It was so heavy to carry. I needed to gulp an energy drink to carry it!

    I could have put the pics of the books. But didn't want to scare you guys. :-D

    Thanks much for your comments.

  14. Ooo! Exam fever! I used to enjoy it...of course, I was one of those who would study...
    *gives a I'm-not-a-geek look*

    "Excuse me!! I didn't bribe him or do anything unethical!!"

    Ahem :P

    Those tense moments, those moments of shock when you realize what you studied was in fact omitted from the portion....what a way to remember those wonderful years.

  15. Hi Shaunak,

    Nostalgic indeed!!

    Sachchi...I didn't do anything different for the librarian to be sweet with me :-)

  16. haha, nice one! Only in my case, it was reading mazidi and ayala and the likes for microcontrollers, only to realise later that 'prescribed' books don't mean a shit. Bakshi is doing the rounds even to this day!

  17. Ever eaten Egg Jam?
    Me neither ;)

  18. I did not have those experiences. My parents were so poor, I stood outside the class, for many days, for not paying the tuition fees.

  19. Hi Kish,

    Err...Kish..I don't recall any of them now. I am long way out of engineering.

    Very right when you said prescribed books didn't mean a thing, why would it when there were readily available notes for 40-50 bucks!!

  20. Hi Stupidosaur,

    I haven't eaten Egg Jam yet. Where could I find them, any idea?


  21. Hi Vivek,

    That's sad to know. Your parents were poor, you stood outside the class for days for not paying tuition fees.

    But glad now that, I assume you are highly educated and lead a decent life now with a good job and a happy life!!

    All the best! :-)

  22. In our college there was this xerox mafia . They would sell photocopies of the so called rare text books at half the price of the book and they made a killing .

    Nice post
    Makes me nostalgic

  23. talking about "insignia" . our usual brand was wills navy cut
    Rs 2.50/- . On special days we would buy wills "insignia" Rs 5.00/- which was a luxury then .
    Nostalgic ....

  24. Hi Scarlet Pimpernel,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Glad you enjoyed the past. Indeed nostalgic, happy moments those were.

    Yeah, there were lot of such photocopy shops all around college, selling these notes for a grab.

    Hahahaha, 'Insignia' too brought back sweet memories I guess.

    Thanks for dropping by. Keep coming.

  25. The nostalgia u triggered has resulted in another post on my blog. Please come and see

  26. I am glad that this trigger did bring back fond memories of yours. :-)

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