Sheer Melody

A mole's eye-view of the Cosmos


From the village again!

Some obscure exam in one of the auditoriums (Bhatnagar/Raman). The exam is being conducted by the instrumentation department with a higher degree of seriousness. The last exam of this subject in the previous year had been an objective one of twenty questions. Cheating (or copying, as it is known in more civilized societies) is common and practised universally. Prashant had no idea of the subject a day before the exam and had been in no mood to really put in a decent enough effort to pass this particular test. To aid the process of copying in order to pass, Prashant has prepared a clean sheet of paper with 20 numbers on it, clearly denoting placeholders for filling up the answers by intelligent souls, who had attended classes and were in a better position to fill them up.

The exam starts, and Prashant, after one look through the set of twenty questions (as expected) realizes that he knows nothing (again as expected). Invigilation is strict and it is becoming tough to copy from the person near him. Prashant looks behind his desk and observes to a certain level of satisfaction, Bornik furiously scribbling on his examination sheet. It is apparent the Bornik knows a lot. PD puts one hand in his pocket, takes out the piece of paper, closes his grip on it and places it on Bornik’s table, maintaining a straight face and looking straight on. A rather interesting conversation ensues –

Bornik: Yeh Kyon de raha hai (Why are you giving this?)
Prashant: Abbe, answers likh de, 2 minute lagenge (Hey! Write down the answers, it’ll take just a moment)
Bornik: Iski kya zaroorat hai? aise hi bol deta hoon. (What’s the need for this? I shall tell you anyways)
Prashant: Abbe, tu samajh nahin raha hai. Bolna tough hai. (You don’t understand, it’s not easy)
Bornik: Abbe, main bol raha hoon na (I am telling you, no!?)
Prashant (tone of resignation): OK

Furious exchange of answers, helping Prashant to scribble enough on the scrap so as to secure a pass-grade. The end of the exam is signaled by one of the shriller bells on campus, and half-smiles on the faces of the professors, and Prashant gives his answer-sheet up. Prashant packs his things up, and straps his bag on to his shoulder.

Bornik comes over to Prashant’s desk, his face clouded over, quite obviously with anger, frustration and bewilderment. He bangs his fist down on Prashant’s desk with a mixture of fury and calmness, and walks away. Prashant stares at what he has placed on the desk…

It’s a ten-rupee note. Prashant looks flabbergasted. He places his hand gingerly into his shirt pocket, and pulls out the clean sheet of paper on which he had put in the place-holders for the twenty questions, virgin and untouched.

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