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Monday, December 3, 2007

Examination blues

Exams have troubled my intestines enough. Before my profuse diarrhoea clogs Mumbai’s sewerage system, I have decided to do something about it.

Apart from studying, the only logical thing I could do is to understand the examiners psychology. After spending three years in medical school (and managing to pass in umpteen vivas), I have made an attempt to understand the mentality of these examiners. I don’t know to what extent it helps numskulls like me in preventing anxiety diarrhoea. But by doing so, at least I can know what to expect from an examiner.

A few types of examiners:

1. I-am-Hippocrates type:
This is a very common variety of examiners – who think they are the maai-baap of science and biology. They think they know everything, ranging from why ‘rats dig burrows’ to the theory of quantum physics. Lets call these examiners as Mr. Sab-ka-baap (no, they are not necessarily Chinese).

Mr. Sab-ka-baap enters the examination centre pompously with his (or her) neck extended. He kills a few hundred cockroaches under his feet and occasionally slips on banana peels. He doesn’t talk too much and spends most of the time fingering his mobile.

When a student enters his cabin for a viva, Sab-ka-baap welcomes him/her with a frown. Poor student is now faced with a volley of questions followed by volley of abuses. Basically, Sab-ka-baap has read only a few chapters and knows only that much. He has his own fixed ideas and phrases in his mind and the student must answer accordingly. Some baaps are very particular even about commas and semicolons. Most students end up getting poor marks and are heard complaining – “arey meri to maar di!”

Solution: Such baaps are difficult to treat. Best approach is to enter with a smile and greet him (remember to brush your teeth). Take all punches from him with a pinch of salt. Don’t give him the ‘tere-baap-ko-bhi-aata-hai-kya’ look. Fan his ego – the torture is not going to last long. The golden rule is – don’t argue, just give that orang-utan a flying kiss for his ‘great achievement’ as he manages to screw your case.

2. Happy-and-gay type:
Occasionally such examiners are seen lurking in certain examination centres. They are very content with life – chances are that they have caring children, loving wife and good neighbours. They laugh for no reason – as if nitrous oxide has leaked somewhere. Let’s call such examiners as Mr. Mogambo.

Mr. Mogambo welcomes a student in his cabin for a viva with lots of warmth, thereby giving airhostesses a run for their money. He strives in order to make the student comfortably seated. He asks simple questions, appreciates good answers and lauds the student. These examiners don’t know much theory – occasionally students are praised for wrong answers.

Solution: These examiners are easy to handle. Dress neatly, comb your hair and smile (eat happydent or such types of chewing gum). Laugh over small things (like a lizard slipping from a wall; his stupid jokes) but make sure your tonsils are not enlarged. Speak good English – he’ll give you marks for that. Don’t give him that surprised ‘arey-matka-lag-gaya’ look when he praises you for a wrong answer.

3. Aati-kya-khandala type:
These examiners scare the wits out of (some) females. They care a damn for male students. Such exam-side romeos get into the seductive mood on seeing fair, well-dressed and good-looking females.

Mr. Chipku really sticks to such femme fatales and doesn’t trouble them much in a viva. He cannot stand males – they are bound to perform badly in such exams. Females are asked very few questions and more time is spend looking at her ‘lip-movements’ and ‘eye-coordination’ than the actual answers. Eventually, some females end up getting embarrassed and males fuming.

Solution: Females who want attention need no solution. Those females who don’t want to get embarrassed may try – wearing ill-fitting dentures (then smile a lot), applying tonnes of oil on the face and hoping to get a quick pimple or two, eating paan, making weird expressions and grimacing, etc.

I wish I knew what males should do in such a situation.

4. Mummy-Papa type:
Here cometh the saviour! They are extremely affectionate and provide loads of TLC to the students. They are extremely down to earth and simple. Let’s call them Mr. Pitaji.

Pitaji’s are usually dressed in night suits. They constantly refer to the students as ‘Beta/Beti’. They derive great pleasure in being the universal parents. They ask easy questions, offer chai-coffee, push in laddoos, ask about your family history and show lots of concern for your ‘problems’. They make ask irrelevant things like how much your mother pays your bai for jhaadu-poocha.

They usually give marks – but may indulge in moral-policing. Their biggest turnoff is jeans. They like oiled hair and huge elephant-sized spectacles.

Solution: Pitaji’s usually don’t trouble students much. Tell them that you come from a very poor background and last night you were studying under the streetlight. Show respect – eat whatever they offer and greet them with folded hands (don’t make it very obvious by touching their feet). Oil your hair but make sure it doesn’t drip and spoil your bhaisahab-type shirt.

5. Apathetic type:
Even they don’t know why they are born. Don’t try palpating their thyroid – they may get irritated and throw you out. They are not interested in their surroundings and may not even look around if a person sitting next to them collapses. At times they may have the ‘main-kaun-hoon’ look.

Such people ask few questions, want specific answers and easily lose their temper. Students beware – they don’t like guesswork. They may be very rude at times.

Solution: These examiners give students the jitters; it’s not easy to tackle them. The best way out is – behave equally apathetic, answer to the point and don’t try arguing. They really don’t care how well you are dressed and sometimes may not even look at your face. Remember – they are the no-nonsense type. Don’t try cracking fattas.

6. Fluctuating Hydrocoeles:
These don’t fit into any of the above categories and their behaviour keeps ‘fluctuating’. They are often affected by mood swings and personal issues such as domestic fights, husband-beating, kitty parties, loudmouthed mother-in-law, chokra-chokri lafdas, society water issues, fights with local bhajjiwala, etc.

They may behave whimsical at times and poor students may be left bewildered. Often they appear very irritated.

Solution: It depends on the mood of the examiner. Find out from students who have already faced the music. Be ready with all your armament and go for the kill.

P.S.: Once you have followed all the advice, mentally prepare yourself – there are strong chances that you have flunked. Then go watch a Himesh Reshammiya movie. Cheers!