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Wednesday 27 December 2017

Exam Fever - Part 1

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Nina was on her decluttering mission when she spied her old diary at the back of a shelf. Yes, she'd kept one with random entries. This was one entry she definitely wanted to keep away from Neel and Varun. Ahh, exam times, how traumatic they had been! But atleast those were the times when life had fewer distractions. No full day television or even worse the internet and mobile phones. But still she'd had challenges of her own during those nightmarish exams! She'd recorded one such experience in some detail, hoping to scare herself into working harder in future before things got too out of hand.....

Burning the mid-night oil

12.45 a.m.
I have finally sorted out the study material (basically Xeroxed notes of studious class-mates) into four different bundles based on my familiarity with them. This big task accomplished, now all I have to do is, memorize the stuff. I dispassionately observe that there isn’t a scrap of my handwriting anywhere. Didn't I make any notes myself?
Bundle 1 (the largest) - Never laid eyes before today
Bundle 2 - Looks familiar
Bundle 3 - Definitely attempted but still not confident
Bundle 4 - Done and dusted, to the best of my understanding
I note with distaste that Bundle 4 is the slimmest one and I need to improve its prospects.
I need a plan. Much like the Indian cricket team's required run rate based on Target score Vs. No. of overs / balls remaining, I calculate my required study rate based on the Total no. of pages Vs. Available time. This complex calculation takes some time since I can't find my calculator.
1.40 a.m.
At least now I know how deep the waters are that I am to wade through. I am astounded to see that the required study page rate is 5 pages/minute! Holy cow! Is that even possible? I mean just reading through a page takes me more than a minute, leave alone deciphering and memorizing its complexities!
Sagely, I decide to re-evaluate the bundles. Bundle 1 is relegated to the deepest recesses of my study cupboard. The required page rate still shows 3 pages/minute. Hmm, this is not good. More sacrifice is called for. With trepidation, I stuff Bundle 2 inside the cupboard. I decide to stick with only Bundle 3 and 4, the known devils. The stats have improved! I am down to 1 page/minute! That is the best I can do, isn't it?
2.10 a.m.
The house is so quiet, it feels almost eerie. I wander from my room on the first floor to the adjoining balcony overlooking the courtyard. From the corner of my eye, I notice a light pop in the house adjacent ours. Ahh…Shyam’s awake, finally! I have been inadvertently looking out for that light to come on. Good I will have some company in my misery. But the light goes off in a minute, most likely someone answering nature’s call. Morosely, I go back to my room. Didn’t he have to study too? During the long chat we’d had yesterday comparing study statuses, he had moaned and groaned about the pending study much more than me…humph!! That liar! He’d deceived and lulled me in to believing that he was worse off than me. What is this world coming to, when people lie about something like this! I browse through a few pages; there is still loads to study and most of it beyond my comprehension.
A wave of self-pity engulfs me. Poor me, awake, all alone and wretched at this unearthly hour while the rest of the world is sleeping in peace.
2.32 a.m.
It has started raining again, a gentle pitter-patter that progresses to a steady downpour. I pray to the rain Gods, ‘Hey Indra, Lord of the skies, pray continue with this downpour, if possible increase its intensity. Let it not lessen, please, please, please let it rain non-stop till at least 9.00 a.m. tomorrow.’ I have never prayed with so much fervor. I hasten to add, ‘You can send in extra heavy rains, enough to flood the exam center, located in Modern School, Sector-9.’ I don’t want my plea to be lost in tracking the right address for delivery or the Gods to waste their resources upon irrelevant areas.
I pick up the notes and plough through them steadily for the next 15 minutes. The stomach rumbles in protest. How can I be expected to maintain my concentration on an empty stomach? It is ages since dinner. Slipping on my noisy flip-flops I plod to the kitchen downstairs. I rifle through the contents of the large orange plastic container in which mom usually keeps snacks and biscuits for the unexpected guest. Guess she’s decided to discontinue that practice since the box now contains only empty wrappers. No one cares if I starve, studying my way all through the night. The fridge doesn’t seem very promising either. Finally I help myself to a large bowl of curd, add five scoops of sugar, throw in some chopped bananas and nuts and settle down to appease the rumbling demon in my stomach. 

READ NEXT >> Exam Fever - Part 2 - I Promise

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Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

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