I will not tell you how all this begins.
I have assumed you have been through this at some point in your life.
So let me get down straight to the dreadful details.
Examinations, if they were ever personified, I am sure would have been mercilessly shot dead on any street or building they were first seen at.
Fair enough, going by how menacing they can be.
The very day of an exam is remarkably different from any sleepless preparatory night before it. There is a strange calmness of mind one feels when he wakes up in the morning, from underneath a pile of books, pens, sheets of paper and new found notes.
No, not to be confused with peace or tranquility. It is merely the height of hopelessness, when one realizes that sitting down with books, or sniffing through chapter-end summaries is nothing but useless.
It is the final acceptance of the fact that "what could not be done in 5 months can't be done in 5 hours".
Me and my friends religiously follow this pattern each semester: putting off preparations till the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute, and waking up on D-Day with fluctuating blood pressure and red eyes.
I'll bring together the four idiots again...(and this time give you ample proof that we are idiots):
(End-Semester Examination, Paper: Operating Systems, Time: 9 am to 12 pm)
7:05 a.m.:(Bus Stop)
I sleepwalk to the bus stop and bump into a few strangers before knocking down the right person. I find Jaz yawning @ 4 yawns/minute, and ask her the obvious question:
She gives me a disgusted look, like what I just asked was the stupidest,most illogical and the most embarrassing question on earth that one could have asked her. To put it more simply, she reacted as if I asked her something out of the actual question paper.
7:15 a.m.:(Inside the bus)
DJ shakes me out of sleep and almost out of my seat. She is perhaps the only one of us who "REvises".
She asks me to explain something I have never come across in my life.
I laugh, hysterically.
7:29 a.m.:(Inside the bus, again)
Annie shows me the syllabus, and I realize that my copy of the document was the outdated one and whatever I had managed to study has been removed from the curriculum altogether. Jaz has to bear with my constant chant of "Damn it, Damn it!!" for the next forty-four minutes.
7:58 a.m.:(Still inside the bus)
"....And hence if relocation is static and done at assembly or load time, compaction isn't possible, unless relocation is dynamic and....." DJ elaborates on while I cut her speech short and ask her:
"What IS an operating system?"
"An operating system is basically a system that uh...operates..umm...a ...system..", she clarifies.
8:26 a.m.:(In college, finally)
I chew on the edge of my notes and go "Damn it, Damn it.....".
Annie consoles me by saying that out-of-syllabus questions will fetch me grace marks, I shouldn't lose hope.
I scatter pens and pencils in the hurry, drop my admit card, Annie picks them up and hands them over to my pale hands. We look at each other and find uniquely weird expressions on each face. We do only one thing that is left to do. "All the best...."
9:05 a.m.:(Exam Hall)
I spend 3 minutes staring at the question paper and the strange things written in it,shift in my seat and look around, seeking faces that looked at least as bewildered and shocked as mine.
A few benches away, Jaz returns me a mirror reflection of my own expression, and I heave a sigh of relief. Annie looks more confused than me, as if the typewritten letters were moving around in her copy of the question paper and she was waiting for them to settle down.
DJ meditates for 2 minutes and then bends over her answer sheet. She lifts her pen and puts it down at 12:01 p.m., without looking up even once during this time.
10:00 a.m:(Exam Hall....and Bell!!)
The sudden ringing causes me to jump and drop my stationery again. I get back to scribbling nonsense on my answer sheet.
After some amount of analysis I notice that the questions were from exactly those sections of the syllabus that I conveniently left out, thinking they'd never appear in the set of questions (Murphy's Law #39).
11:10 a.m:(Exam Hall....Grrr...)
"Chhikk, chhikkk...sshhh...Oye!!", I hear from someone behind me.
"1 ka 'e' aata hai??", the voice asks.
I turn back and beg for answers to 1 ka 'a','c','d','e','g','h', and 'j'.
The voice doesn't call again.
11:24 a.m.:(Exam Hall....Darn..)
I am practically at the end of my wits, morphing my cramped knowledge into unrecognizable theories and yet-to-be discovered mechanisms in the field of computer architecture.
The same sentence appears in a variety of disguises on different pages of my answer sheet.
The diagrams are all box-oriented ....hence I stack them at my own sweet will all over the page.
11:32 a.m:(....Still...Exam Hall)
I count the number of pages filled with fantastic elaborations and huge diagrammatic representations of ....well...non-existent...technology. Then sick of writing further, I wrap up my stuff and hand the answer sheet over to the invigilator. As I leave the room, I turn to find others staring at me in disbelief. I give them a foolish smile and walk out.
12:17 p.m.:(Buses leaving)
The rest of the gang walks up to me, thankfully with no question paper in hand. We can read faces better than books, and clearly each of us messed up the paper in our own way.
We break into giggles as we see each other's faces.
"My Gawdd....Maine life mein kabbbheee itna nahin phenkaa!!", DJ whines.
"Abey kya tha woh???"
(I am referring to the question paper).
"10...12...15...yes....15 marks out of syllabus....PASS!!", Annie computes.
"Aaj ka paper toh ekdum bakwass gaya....1 down, 5 more to go"
Then after giving accounts of our ordeal in the examination hall,
Jaz says something that Annie said last semester, DJ said the semester before that, and I say each semester......
"Iss baar toh gayaa.....Agli baar pakka padh ke aayenge".....
We burst into violent laughter as we walk off.