Waking up to a familiar noise, I found myself covered in sweat and dreading the worst. It had been months since the phone rang, making me feel a part of civilization once again. It was my classmate Maari whom I had last spoken to during the previous end-semester examinations. Maari, a powerful member of the DASA community and the head of the Go Green initiative, was also responsible for sourcing answers and helping most of his classmates pass tests. ‘Bro, are you ready to fight against the system?’ he asked. All I could manage was a ‘Huh? What?’, struggling to recollect the details of the latest scheme he had come up with. ‘Bro, I need some answers from you for today’s test so that a few of us can pass’, he said.
That’s when it dawned upon me. Today marked the commencement of the online test series. Fighting my urge to go back to bed, I got up and turned on the computer. Promising Maari that I would provide him with the answers, I ended the call and checked WhatsApp only to find intense discussions on the ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ group. The exam had truly brought together all the different factions of the class. Front benchers frantically checked academic sources for solutions to the problem, show-offs googled answers to the descriptive questions, and the nappers scrolled through the PDFs and PPTs, as the Proxy squad followed their routine of seeking answers from the RGs.
The recently launched online portal was expected to be a pride to the institute, boasting of advanced facilities including a malpractice checker and an in-built calculator. The malpractice detector was designed such that the student could not open any new tabs until the test was over. Although this advanced technology was believed to be genius, a software enthusiast named Shiva demonstrated that a new browser window could be opened instead, which led people to confer him with the title ‘Stealth Shiva’. The calculator boasted advanced capabilities such as operations up to 3 digits and the four horsemen of math: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division.
After a negligible wait of 30 minutes, the portal presented me with the question paper. The exam was scheduled for 3 hours, which meant that it had to be submitted an hour in advance to allow it to be uploaded. My memory was still fazed after watching the blockbuster Bollywood movie last night with not-so-subtle racism and unearthly stunts. Professor Kanakasabapathy’s words, flashed in my mind as I struggled to tether my thoughts to the test. ‘I dare you to copy from each other in this exam, I will track down every one of you and shoot you with a gun’, he had threatened.
After going through the questions thrice, I decided to wait for answers to be posted on the group and listen to some peppy tunes in the meantime. I turned on my depressing playlist, pretending to be part of a music video, trying to figure out how to make large of my skill in music. Blurry memories of Akshay Kumar jumping off a cliff and landing safely, from last night’s movie haunted me. A loud ting brought me back to the real world, as the portal sounded a warning that half of the exam time had passed. I opened the WhatsApp group and copy-pasted the answers onto a Word document, making a few grammatical mistakes at places to make it look genuine. I submitted the answer-sheet on the portal and waited for the clock to run out. I closed the laptop and prepared myself for another day of dominating my friends in Ludo. Exams had never been easier.