Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Tribute To Competitive Exams

We, frends, were talking, or shall I say reminiscing, our high school days a few days back. Why do we do this as frequently as we do? Because it's absolutely funny. Or so we think. And one of the, now inexplicable, things we did in High school was taking competitive exams. O how competitive we were! If only competitive is defined as taking competitive exams whenever and wherever it's held.

Whether we had it in us to succeed in some of those exams was never an issue. Not because we were geniuses. But because we never cared about it. Maths olympiad preliminary round we took despite cognizance of the fact that Maths, and Maths of the type that's seen in olympiads, was not our forte. And we, i.e, me, him and him took the exam alongwith many others. And took it with an air of confidence that would have put to shame even the eventual national level winners. That we were far from being successful does not require mention.

Then there were talent search exams. Not just the popular NTSE. There were numerous searches of similar hue to find out talents that are hidden, or are lost, somewhere amidst the chaotic great Indian school system. The probability of finding one or all three of us writing these exams intended to search talent, whenever it was held in Bangalore, was 100%. (If we weren't there then it would have only meant that only the organisers and their kids were taking the exam.) Despite that, none of these searches found us. Oh yes, one of them, NTSE, did find Arjun. He, if my memory is correct, won a state level scholarship too. He, again, if my memory is correct, refused to take that scholarship as a mark of protest against the sheer injustice meted out to us in a majority of these talent search exams.

Well, if you thought only Maths and science interested us then that just shows how grossly you have misunderstood us. We, again the previously mentioned trio of me, Arjun and Arvind, took Ramayana and Mahabharatha exams as well. If you thought we took it just because the exam fee was low and we had money at our disposal to afford it, you are again wrong. We took it with all seriousness. We read the prescribed books 'Kishore Ramayana' and a similar one on Mahabharatha for the respective exams. I read both but wrote only one of the exams. Infact, much of the 'critical acclaim' that the Mahabharatha series on this blog received, can be attributed to a thorough understanding of the great epic which inturn was possible only because I studied for the aforementioned exam. Arvind wrote both the exams. It was widely reported in unknown media circles that he passed the examination in 'flying colours'. He, though, flatly denies such allegations.

During the same time, we came to know that ISKCON was conducting exams to ascertain the level of Krishna consciousness in high school students. I, though being a religious person, never had(and neither have now) much faith in ISKCON. But competitive spirit was the overriding factor which made me write the exam. So did the other two. ISKCON had published a book on the life on Krishna, targeted for high school children I believe. This was the prescribed textbook. It had the phrase 'transcendental nature of the supreme Lord' all over it. The exam had a multiple choice question paper. Questions had options which were as far away in context as society and chemicals. Here's a sample:
Krishna consciousness helps you
a. Get more marks in social studies
b. Donate money to ISKCON
c. Play ice hockey
d. Helps you have a healthy heterosexual life
We had quite a good laugh writing it. And thus was added another exam to an already lengthy list of exams we took.

Anyone who studied in Vijaya High School with Samskrutha as the first language would have invariably taken the exams 'Prathama', 'Dwitiya', 'Truthiya'. Atleast the first one. And some like me would have taken all the three and subsequent ones too. This being the case how could we be left behind. Our high school, which gave absurd importance to exams like these, had special coaching classes targeted to train students to achieve excellence in these exams. We attended those classes too. Wrote the exam. And added one more participation certificate to our academic profile. Nothing more.

One more exam for which our school conducted coaching classes was Vedic Maths. By now, I need not tell that the participants of this exams included me. Arvind too. Arvind shamelessly scored a 100. He got a plastic medal for that. He was awarded that medal in front of the school assembly. The embarrassment on his face was way too obvious. I cleverly avoided this embarrassment by getting 99 and thereby getting only, what was in abundance by then, the participation certificate. The reason for getting that one mark less was I answered wrongly the question which asked us to name the exam's organising organisation. This apparently was on the question paper itself. But it did not come to my notice.

This competitive streak and overestimation of our abilities also meant we took the IIT entrance exam a couple of years later. What happened there should be obvious to you by now dear reader. That's it for this post then.


Arjun said...

'..didn't come too myy notice'

Beestini. Dappakke first page-nalli print maadidare, hesrna. Adoo nodade, 99 togondbidu. Pedda.

Houdu kanayya, these exams built/instilled the fiercely competitive streak in us. They are the reason we are able to survive in a globalized, knowledge economy-based, cutthroat world. I'm not too sure what the ISKCON exam did, but it surely gave us one of the best questions we have ever had the pleasure of answering, though you have presented it here with rather fictitious options.

He he, olle refusal of state scholarship on ground of principle-u.

Arjun said...

That would be ' notice' up there.

Arvind said...

Have you noticed, some people say, "not to be a grammar Nazi, but ..." and go on to be complete a**holes?

Well, I won't say that. I WILL be a grammar Nazi. The correct usage is "Arjun, Arvind and I", not "me, Arjun and Arvind". Ninge PM enu helkottilva? Pedda. English competitive exam bardilla. Torsatte.

Also, that was NOT a plastic medal. It was a metally sort of thing. It was a 100 years' calendar in a key chain or some junk like that. I still see it at home now and then. I diligently set it to the current month, and forget about it for the next two years. So there.

Arjun said...

I've NEVER heard anyone say 'Not to be a grammar Nazi, but...'

Olle diligence-u.

Malaveeka said...

You guys are so nerdy.

he he.

Very nice post.

Malaveeka said...

Arjun: You're a grammer Nazi.

Sandeep said...

I think it was 'Turiya' and not 'Thrutiya'. I missed the third rank by 2 marks.

Olle meluku hakidira high school memories na. Asht fond memories alde iddru. Irli.

Anonymous said...

*cough* grammar *cough*

Sorry, I had to.

grammer \gram"mer n.

{Grammar}; -- a common misspelling.


Malaveeka said...

He he. Grammar. Sorry.

But *cough cough*? Really?

Arjun said...

Aww, look at you two.

Siri said...

Extremely well written and has the ability to have the reader laughing :)
You reminded me of the supreme CAT exam that I took with the confidence of a genius and wrote with the distractedness of a poet. The bright sky and the shady trees had me writing a poem in my head

Harish said...

[Arjun]Alla, ashtu dappakken print maaDirlilla.

oLLe streaks-u.

Nanage PM 'tamashi' maaDtiddiddu maatra jnaapaka ide. Innenoo jnaapaka illa.

Adentha medal-a aagirli, ningondu embarrassment aagiddantoo nija.
Arjun heLiro haage, oLLe diligence-u.

[Arjun]Naanoo kooDa ee 'Grammar Nazi' prayoga keLirlila. Chennaagide.

[Malaveeka]'Nerdy'-no alvo gottilla. Naavu idda school aa tara. Paapa naavella.


[Sandeep]You missed third rank by 2 marks. Neenenthavnu anta adralle gottaagutte.
Trutiya is the third exam. Thuriya is the fourth one. Erdoo ide. Naanu erDannoo togonDidde. The latter one in 1st PU. Naanenthavnu anta idralli gottaagbahudu.

[Arvind, Malaveeka] Paapa, neevibbru.

[Arjun] Nindenu illi, matte?

[Siri]'I took with the confidence of a genius and wrote with the distractedness of a poet. The bright sky and the shady trees had me writing a poem in my head' - Chennaagide. Talents iTTidira neevu.

Sandeep said...

Grammar Nazi. I think I saw that on xkcd once.


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