Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Of exAMINatiOns and Acid Tests!

[Oh that dreaded word again!]
I have always loved this particular style of word puzzles, the name of which I know not, where a thought, idea, expression or saying is  smartly represented through other words. This particular one - examination, represents acid test, with the 'amino' acid hidden in examination, meaning a test. Although I may love this puzzle, I most certainly do not cherish what it represents so intelligibly - Examinations! Growing up, they weren't as much a spot of bother as they are now, for then not only was there hardly anything to study, well easy for  me to say that now, but also, Mum would ensure that you had studied everything at least a dozen times before the examinations! Over time, as she let go, I became more and more lax; from finishing the entire portion just in time for the examinations to the first time when you appear for one without having studied that last chapter in the book. That particular time you are as scared as a rabbit entering a strange burrow, not wanting to see the insides or feeling the stomach enzymes of a mean snake on its soft velvety skin. But over time you get not only used to the routine, but increasingly gutsy! As the syllabus increases and with it your daring, you find it increasingly difficult to finish everything and soon there comes a time when you have done just 30% of the portion till the day of the exam and that's when you start freaking out!

Being blessed with a great memory that very many envy, I realised that I could very well manage to start studying on the very last day, stay up the whole night with just a cup of piping encouraging coffee and manage to do study enough. That way, you end up wasting just a week in the whole year, getting time to pursue all your interests and hobbies. Maybe your score may fall by a few single digits, but you still manage to be among the toppers, i.e. no regrets whatsoever.  Initially, not many believed that was how I rolled, given my scores and success (I may have let go of my modesty here just a teensy bit), and dissed me, not that I cared  a bit. Some even tried the technique, who found it profiting. But you must know that those examination days require my full dedication and commitment, a simple code which means no physical activity (it tires you), no television except during eating (you waste a lot of time for it is difficult to shut it quickly and your eyes strain), no music (you don't want the tune stuck in your head, but somehow it always does creep in), limited talking (the gossip seems even more interesting) and unrestricted eating (you don't want your mind to wander)! All this results in putting on a few extra kilos and finding even the most drab thing interesting; I swear one of the days when nothing interesting was on the television, I found myself laughing at dubbed versions of worthless Tamil movies with even more worthless names like Indra the Tiger and Sivaji the Boss, films I wouldn't even dream of watching, ever!

The lack of sleep also takes its toll on you, your eyes becoming as bloodshot as a savage starved rapist, your hair dishevelled and curly for when you're studying you tend to play with it a lot, your nail growth slows (yes I notice such frivolous things as well) and your mind not in its place! I live like a zombie, doing random things and marking my presence only physically and acting like a machine, doing what is to be done, but beyond that, not knowing anything. Once I was so lost I was going to fill my water bottle on the day of the examination from the tap in the bathroom (in India nobody does that!) and once I erroneously and unexpectedly swallowed the seed of a black jamun! I hope my stomach acids were as strong as those of a crocodile; which could very well be the case for during those days, thanks to my cups of coffee and lack of sleep, the acidity in my belly is at its peak. That's not the only thing troubling my stomach; the tension and almonds consumed to aid my memory causes diarrhoea, while the coffee constipation! Oh woe be the cyclical assaults on my stomach that seem to be changing more frequently than the tides! Well, clearly they are acid tests! I may have even started hallucinating at times, for every time I walked out of the room and back in, I could confirm that fact that my alarm clock had been shifted just a little bit; well so much for being an atheist and non-believer! Your back also hurts from the lack of sleep and staring down at the dreaded book all day long. All you want to do is rest, but toil you must, to enjoy the spoils later. I then came up with a solution to beat the extreme boredom while pulling an all-nighter - napping for five minutes every hour, just to freshen your mind and relax your body. I even managed to master the technique of waking up exactly when I wanted to, in time to switch off the alarm before it rings, and one of my most cherished accomplishments, sleeping with my eyes open, where both your mind and body rest, but at the same time you do not descend into deep sleep.

I have realised, I now cannot seem to do well without the pressure of the last day. I may start studying a month ago, but in those thirty days I may manage to read not more than ten pages; I have a wandering mind, that treads to places ranging from what I shall do after the examinations to even lofty dreamy ones like the acceptance speech of my Booker Prize! However, come the last day, I manage to finish a five hundred page book in a day. Performing under pressure seems to be my forté. And as far as the Booker is concerned, I shall get there one of these days! Everyone had advised me against this vice of mine, but I seem to be sucked too deep into the vortex to recover! However, I do realise the shortcomings of my method of study; it may do me physical damage or maybe cause my mind to blank out, thank god nothing like that has happened so far. But I cannot deny the fact that I am being stupid. I may not exactly have had good luck during examinations, from a scary and scarry accident on the examination day to illness and other problems, but I certainly shouldn't add to that my idiocy! So this birthday I had decided, among other things, that I shall try to complete my syllabus much in advance and give the exam whackiness a rest. Let's hope I do not disappoint myself this time.
X X X X (that's me crossing fingers in my hands and toes in my feet!)

P.S.: Examinations and other things prevented me from posting all month long. And a belated Happy Birthday to me!! May the 13th always be lucky!
Oh and a warm welcome to my brother Monish who just started his blog www.cashgreedandchaos.blogspot.com a while ago.