Just like Boxing
I figured it out that exams are an opportunity to show what I am. I am no boxer nor a football player I am simply a student. I can’t have gruelling, blood-splattering deadly matches inside a boxing ring. But what I can have is a fighting match of three hours’ time inside an examination. The question paper is my enemy to be defeated. So that’s what I prepare for. Just like an athlete or a boxer. The one practice I never skip is meditation. I do it in order to keep my mind calm and to think straight. And the remainder of the routine figures itself out on its own. It revolves around eating well and sleeping well in order to be able to study well. It’s nonetheless a rigorous practice and it takes the usual required out of a champion sportsman. Happiness, optimism, desire to do, discipline, perseverance, recovery, resourcefulness, innovation, belief in a higher power etc. I am no sportsperson but I am guaranteed a tournament. You have to keep passing each paper in order to move on to the next paper. Each paper itself is consisted of a number of questions just like a boxing match has a number of rounds. Or a football match has a number of key passes in each of the two halftimes of the game. And the total outcome of these rounds and decisive moves decide the outcome of the game and the answer-script. A medieval knight in a lancing match faces life and death situations, for me, I have to enact my own life and death situations.
The MA Course in DU is of two years. Each year is consisted of two semesters. The first semester I failed in all my four papers. Then I had to control my thoughts and make sure that I was thinking the right kind of thoughts. I kept myself in check. And I studied a lot. I went to meet my friends. Just in order to come back fresh to my books. I abhorred practising question papers but I even did that. And when the exam came it was like my Mission Impossible. If I failed even in one paper I had to leave the place. The hostel would turn me out and the college would just cancel me out from the year. So I had it all figured out. Fear won’t do. Get into the c-zone. Create your own future. Sounds incredible but you can do it. Time is a smoke and reality is a smoke. You have to give shape to the smoke. It will all have to end this way: you are inside the ring and you attack the fifteen marks question. Thirty minutes for each question, and then the last hour for the five five-marks questions and a quick revision. You will want to extend the thirty minutes to a few minutes more and that’s exactly where the trap is. You will have to jump to the next question even if you have to leave the sentence you were writing hanging right in the middle. You have got to do it. Or you are done for!
So when the exam came I was living from one paper to the next. I took them one at a time, I was counting them down. One paper terminated, three to go. Two papers terminated, two to go. Three papers terminated, final one to go. C’mon!
On the morning of the last exam I met Advatta and Priya. They were standing outside the examination hall. They had their exam-look just like everyone else.
“Hey let’s meet up after exam,” I told Advatta, “Although I might come out crying from the exam hall, I will try to be nice.”
“Oh don’t worry,” Advatta said, “You will be just fine.”
“Thanks and good luck,” I said.
“Good luck to you too,” she said.
The exam-time began, and I picked up one of the fifteen marks questions. And I went for it like my life depended on it. The first one was done in thirty-five minutes. Then it was time for my second round, time for the second fifteen-marks question. And then the third round followed; I was boxing/writing well. And time to go the lavatory, I went out and checked my face in the washroom mirror. The damage is done, it’s over now—you have won it.
Back to the my seat/boxing-ring and back to writing. Just finish with all the five marks questions and you have a home run (as the Americans would put it.)
The three-hours’ time went up and I handed over the answer-script. In my ears I heard the OST of Inception. And I blinked my eyes and looked around at my classmates as if I was seeing them with a new pair of eyes. Emerging out of the examination hall, as if emerging out of a dream with that awesome Hans Zimmer music playing inside my head I found Advatta.
“I think I did it,” I smiled at her, “I think I will get to see you guys next semester too.”
“Good,” Advatta said.
“Let’s look for Priya,” I suggested.
“Ok,” Advatta said.
“You know how I am feeling right now. I feel like Leonardo di Caprio in Inception just completed his mission,” I said, “How was yours?”
“It was not bad,” she said.
Later on I walked with her to the gate at Vishwavidyalaya metro-station. My heart was feeling euphoric. Now I simply need to appear at Vijay Nagar or Gandhi Vihar and party. I felt like a prince. Exams are over and I did well.