Exams are probably the most fascinating times of university life. Certainly not the most enjoyable, but the best chance to get an inside peek at the truly warped psyche of stressed students at their wits’ end. Bizarre-ness abounds.
I usually belong to the relatively normal group of students at these times (*ignores post below*), but every once in a while the wackiness gets to me too. Today was one of those “every once in a while” days.
Being the avid music-freak that I am, I usually have a song running in my head at all times. It’s not always pleasant, but I’ve learned to live with it. It’s like a playlist on shuffle up there, except the tracks don’t change as often. There’s usually one song playing over and over again (sometimes just bits of it), and this usually goes on till I accidently hear some other tune, after which the latter replaces the former and goes on and on. You get the drift.
Today, as I got onto the bus that would take me to my exam hall (where I was to write my Linguistics exam), I heard the bus radio. I groaned inwardly, knowing that whatever song was playing was very likely going to get stuck in my head and sit there till the end of my exam. “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter came on first (oh, the irony!), followed by Selena’s “Dreaming of You”. The bus got too full after that for me to hear anything else, so I ended up humming the latter as I got off the bus and into the exam hall.
Funnily enough, as I sat doing some last minute revision outside the hall, my mind grew silent and by the time I entered the hall for my exam, I realized that the shuffle player up there had switched off by itself – power failure! I sat at my desk, pleasantly surprised, but gave no further thought to it as I got down to the nitty-gritty. The examiners gave the go-sign a few minutes later and I took to reading the question paper.
And that’s when it happened. Question 1 on the paper was on verb types and after making a few mental notes, I proceeded to Question 2, which was related to phrases. Written in big, bold letters was the sentence:
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.”
Oh, dear. My brain got to “my true love gave to me” and immediately completed the sentence with “a tot’lly insufficient dowry”. And then proceeded to sing the rest of the darn song. Complete with the exaggerated South Indian accent and the distractingly catchy beats, plus visuals of a tiny Elvis look-alike, his saree-clad, big-eyed wife and his two nosy in-laws. Just perfect. I’ve had songs running through my head during exams before, but never have they been so detailed and complete with imagery. I damned all the examiners I could think of for using that particular sentence to test me on phrase types, but that’s about as far as I got before the song started replaying in my head. Again, and again, and again. I finished the paper rather quickly, and in the 45 minutes that I spent checking it, managed to remember what pseudo!Elvis’ true love had given to him on all 12 days of Christmas.
I’m afraid I gave a very wrong impression to all those examiners who caught me wearing a pained expression all through the exam, looking balefully at my answer-sheet. I had no problems with the paper as such, but it’s not a walk in the park having “12 Days of Christmas: Indian Style” running through your head when you’re trying very hard to concentrate on a paper you want to do well in.
Sigh. Stranger things do happen in University, so who am I to complain? I can only hope that the remainder of my papers do not have suggestive lines that can be converted into songs with catchy tunes and addictive beats. I don’t think I have much to worry about though, considering my other two exams will be on Molecular Biology and Metabolism. So, unless there exists a song on the Urea Cycle…