Summer has begun early in Bangalore this year. It was a bright early summer morning.It was a crowded bus. I was thankful to have found a seat. Yes, the seat is important because it is difficult to travel for the next forty five minutes as a standee in a crowd of school kids, college students, office goers, the conductor who manages to walk around as if he is in a quiet garden enjoying a breeze.
I think, till I get to do that role for an hour, I wont get the idea of elbowing my way through a hundred people approximately, in a crowded bus on a hot summer morning. [ As an aside, did you know that the maximum permissible capacity in a passenger bus is 50+ 20 standees?? and our buses squeeze in many more people than that??]
This is totally out of range here, still could not help expressing it....
When I sat back to relax, I saw this bright ( she was wearing a white uniform and this attracts me any day) school student reading from a note book. Must be for an exam, I thought. I fell for her handwriting in the notebook and was reminded of my own once very neat and legible handwriting. Well, they say, do not dwell in the past!!! So I switched my attention to her again. She had no clue where the bus was, of the road blocks, of the person sitting next to her... to put it short, she was totally lost in her world of subject matter. Clearly she was doing her last minute glance of some subject that is complex ( confusing, pointless, long winding, boring - it can be all of these when you are in school ) for her. I smiled... All of us have been there, done that... totally understanding senior I felt!!!!!
She looked tensed.... Is this an exam fever?
'Oh God.. I know I am late today.. Hey, the first hour is Social studies, Am sure she is not going to let me in...You know what, I'll just get back home after signing in the late register at the school gate'.. At this quiet conversation that was going on behind me, I turned to see another white uniformed teen, all worried. I looked at the traffic block and looked at her and then asked her what time she was supposed to be in class. She said, in another ten min. She had been studying late the previous night for a preparatory test and had some relatives visiting as well. In all, her morning started ten minutes late than usual and here she was caught in THE BANGALORE TRAFFIC JAM. Impossible to reach school on time. Impossible to get in late because the school did not allow late comers. Impossible to give the exam.
She looked tensed.... Is this an exam fever?
My attention turned to this totally incomprehensible string of letters brightly printed on a glazed hard cover book. There was a color picture of a human heart drawn on the cover. From whatever minimum I remember from my Class eight science book, I could say that it was a heart and that the other lines I saw in the cover must be arteries and veins and valves. The fingers that turned the book was very tensed!!!! Yes, I could sense the tension in the finger movements. It was easy to guess that she was a doctor, doing her Masters in some discipline that had this complex heart disease related subject for a course. The book was beautifully done, with a lot of scan and x-ray prints in color along with sections of the heart too. I was sitting at a fair distance, so it didn't scare me much, but I did wonder if reading about all of these would create a little extra pressure to the already hard-working human heart.
She looked tensed too... Is this an exam fever?
I was very happy to step out of the bus that day because I could not take the exam fever any more.
Later that evening my friend called up from her college. She is doing her Masters in one of the medical colleges in India. When asked what she was doing, she said, "Exam preparation.. I have my finals in two months.. I am studying." When we continued on that topic, I finally could sense the same tension in her voice.... It was exam fever.
On the papers, in the television, on the road, in the bus, on the phone, in the temple, wherever you go, whatever you do, you will surely happen to hear this word : EXAM and the frequency is higher in Summer, because in India, all academic terms, the decision-making school/college terms get over in Summer only. So far, there has been no medicine for this recurring fever. Will the academic boards, parents, and teachers think about the excessive tension created on exam days?
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