Sunday, September 2, 2012

Am I the only one?

Winter of 2005, Hubli

I called my best friend when I was done with my exam today and had started preparing for the next. We are in the same class. No doubt, he is a star performer. I generally call him to share my sorrows; whining about the mistakes I did, blah, blah, blah. Then he gives his usual pep talk that makes me feel better and gives me some confidence. He doesn't have any issues with exams, because he always does well.


In the examination hall, question papers were handed over to all of us. I started biting my nails almost immediately. I couldn't make head or tail of the sheet in my hand. I read it two to three times with a hope to understand some questions and decide what to pen down in my answer sheet. But, nothing! I couldn't make out where to begin. Its a human tendency where you expect everyone else should be having the same problem. When I looked around the hall I was surprised. Most of them had started answering with their heads down holding their pens up right firmly. I felt a strange fear growing in me suddenly and I started talking to my self: "Am I the only one unable to answer a thing? I am in deep trouble! I should have prepared well. It's your over confidence that has ruined you now. You are gonna fail today. You're done. Its over!"

After a short while, making sure the supervisor isn't looking at me, I turned back slowly and looked at my classmate. His agitation caught my eyes. He was reading questions and scribbling something in his answer sheet in a strange way. Then he looked up at me. I raised one of my eyes brows: "Everything OK?" His reaction was instantaneous. He made ridiculous gestures with his hands and his mouth was full of curse words. This meant nothing but: "I am screwed up badly man! I am dead!" and he started banging his head to his desk without making a sound. Being highly satisfied, I acknowledged him with a muted comic laugh. I was happy to know we were sailing in the same boat. He understood even I was in a same situation. Eventually, I could make out that almost everyone were in our boat. All my answers for that exam were broken.

When I returned home, my mom informed that my friend had called and he would be calling back. "He called me?" It surprised me because it was me who used to call him usually. The phone rang again and it was him. The moment I picked up the receiver, he spoke in a disturbed voice "How did it go today? Man! I am so pissed! Who the hell set those questions. I wasn't able to answer even one of them properly." I was even more relieved now and laughed out loud. He asked me intently "You did well? How? Wasn't it difficult for you?". Now, I was the one to calm him down: "Just chill yaar! Everything will be OK. Everyone is screwed as badly you could ever imagine. Its not just us. I think all of us will clear this exam." I remember it was only in this exam he had performed very badly in four years of engineering. Most of us cleared this dreadful examination. I heard the evaluation was lenient.


This is one of many fun filled experiences during my engineering days. This post brings out how our funny brain works. Its not that it wishes bad for others, but it finds ways to comfort itself. If it is having a hard time, its curious to know how others are doing. If others are facing the same problem, then it won't be happy, but relieved. Otherwise, it will become restless and starts to panic! Because it knows I am the only one going down.