The following piece was hand-written by me on the 8th day of April in 2007. It is complete fact, no fiction. Please read it till the end. Entertainment guaranteed.
“Wake up and get ready”, shouted my dad,” We have to leave by 8 o’clock sharp.” I had to appear for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) today. The JEE is the test for entrance into one of the seven prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT’s).
As I had already been accepted into college, I had not bothered to prepare even a little. My Physics, Chemistry and Math textbooks had been stacked away in one corner of my study table since March, and by now a thick layer of dust resided over them. Obviously, I had no hope of cracking the hardest exam in the word. But why not take a shot in the dark!
Never reaching on time for anything till date, I decided to continue the tradition. I walked into the exam room, full of tense students praying to the Almighty, after the instructions had been elaborated upon and the question papers along with the answer booklets already distributed. But I wasn’t at all worried! I took a copy of my materials, completed all the required details like filing in my name, registration number etc., and went and sat relaxingly on my window seat.
At sharp 9 am, the bell rang. The examinees around me frantically opened the seals on their question booklets and started working immediately, so as to make the most of every minute given. On the other hand, I kept looking around the room and glancing out of the window, checking out the huge playground the school had. I could even keep an eye on the school main gate where hundreds of parents were still anxiously waiting till things had settled down. Forget all of that, thank God I was assigned a window seat!
By 9:20 am I decided it was high time I opened my question booklet. Surprisingly I did know something; the answer to exactly one problem. I quickly shaded the correct option in my answer sheet. Now my hopes had been raised. I started reading the following questions. No prizes for guessing that I barely knew anything else. Barely knew, ha, I just did not know anything at all. Fifteen questions read and the Physics section ended, twenty five questions passed, end of the Chemistry section, half-way through the Math section, end of the Math section; I just did not know anything.
It was only 9:30 am and I was done with my 1st paper. I’m sure I set a new record for finishing the exam in the least time ever. Believe me, very very few people can manage to finish a 3-hour exam in less than 30 minutes. My answer booklet was as clean as the whiteboard in front of me, so I started thinking of how to fill it up. I decided to randomly choose one of the options (either A, B, C or D) and mark that for all the questions. Why not try my luck? There wasn’t much further below to go from here anyways, the only way was upwards. After a quick ‘Inky-Pinky-Ponky’ I chose option C and shaded that through my answer sheet. Now it was no longer empty. I was proud of myself. Not too many people have the capacity or capability to attempt all the questions on this test.
By 9:35 am I had ‘solved’ every single question. As the rule stood, I was not allowed to leave the exam hall before the end of the scheduled time. Once again, I decided to make full use of my window seat. By 10 am I was bored out of my brains and I couldn’t digest the fact that I had two more hours to pass in the same position. I tried to take a nap. I think I dozed off by about half-past ten.
Extremely unfortunately, I was woken up within fifteen minutes. “Are you fine?”, asked the female invigilator.
“Yes, absolutely fine.”
“Have you finished your exam?”
“Ya, long back.” I showed her my answer sheet like a narcissist would. She was taken aback.
“Fast”, was all she managed to say.
Yet again I tried going back to sleep. Thankfully I fell asleep immediately and woke up after forty five minutes. Now I had only another 20 minutes pass by. My condition could be compared to that of a restless passenger on a long transatlantic flight on which there are absolutely no sources of recreation with a cabin temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. I got up from my seat, stretched a bit, cracked my finger joints and walked off to the bathroom. I splashed my sweaty face with some cold water, put my hair in place and decided to model for a bit in front of the mirror. I must say, too much free time has strange effects on people. After ten minutes I went back to my chair.
“Ten minutes left” announced the proctor. I looked at her trying hard to control my smile. The effect of this announcement on the rest of the examinees was completely opposite. They started panicking and solving questions at the speed of light (but obviously none could match my speed!). At this time, the only people smiling in the entire room were the invigilator and me.
The finishing bell rang. Music to my ears. I got up and submitted my paper before it could be collected and very happily walked out. Don’t worry the story doesn’t end here. I had a 2-hour break after which I had to attempt paper-II which was also sadly three hours long.
At 12 noon and 40 degrees Celsius, I sat in an auto rickshaw from right outside the school gate and met up with my friends who were also appearing for the same test. Over lunch we discussed who had slept the most, who had been able to disrupt his entire class the most, who had been able to pass his time most easily and who would score a lower negative score! At 1:30 pm we parted and left for our respective centers, prepared for another three hours of torture.
Back in the exam room, I quickly filled in all the necessary details. As soon as the bell rang, even I immediately tore off the seal on my question booklet and began reading the first couple of questions. In an instant I concluded that I did not know anything yet again. Déjà vu! Though this time round, I did not waste my time (not like there was any shortage of it!) skimming through the questions. I straight marked option C for all.
Action replay. I had finished answering all the questions even before most people had turned over the first page of their question booklets. I had broken my earlier record; I was through in fifteen minutes flat! Again I would somehow have to pass another 3 hours till the clock showed 5 pm. I tried taking a nap. After a satisfying lunch, the hot wind blowing on my face from the window and having absolutely nothing to do, it really wasn’t that hard to doze off. I slept for about an hour, waking up at 3:30 pm. Just an hour-and-a-half left! I’m sure you feel my joy.
Now, I decided to make use of the few thousand pages provided to me for rough work. It wouldn’t take a genius to guess that each of my rough pages in both booklets was as clean as a whistle. I thought of writing something. But what?
Finally, I narrowed down on writing about my experience at the IITJEE. What a wonderful story it would be to tell. The events were also fresh in my mind. So I started writing and just continued to write till 5pm. As I write this line my smile extends from one ear to the other. My happiness is uncontrollable because the finishing bell is ringing and I am free yet again.
Today it has been proved that the JEE is the hardest exam to ‘pass’, literally!