Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Best Paper Ever Written

 A pack of papers flutter as the wind blows in from the battered window. A peon comes and quickly grabs them taking them to the floor below. He puts the pile in front of a disgruntled figure, who looks at him with bloodshot eyes. The peon smiles and the figure grumbles for a tea. The peon moves out, with every intention of delaying the order as is humanly possible. The figure then proceeds to gather the pile which he was ravaging with his red knife. He places a card on the pile. 'Ravindra Kante' Kaivalya College of Commerce is engraved in bold.

He looks at the ceiling and gives out a loud sigh. He begins the next pile, preparing to plunder and damage the future of the undeserving leeches. Red grades and crosses mark subsequent papers, each with an increasing tone of disdain from the plunderer. As he picks up the fifth paper in the pile, he feels a slight glee at the blank paper. As he is about to remove it in a special pile of 'no chance' he sees one long question answered and then a one page letter. The answer is graded 9 out of 10 and the letter is about to be given a big cross with the red pen.
But for some reason, Mr Kante stopped. This boring afternoon could use some humour from a dimwit who wrote a letter in his graduation exams. Mr Kante starts to read with as much attention as the first paper of the day got.
"To the brave and courageous examiner who is paid Rs 1.50 for correcting my paper." Mr Kante shrugs, thinking the guy doesn't know anything. It's Rs 2. 
"The bravery to be underpaid in a less than conducive environment and still care to survey the depths of the minds of our nation's future. I laud and respect you. I can imagine that my paper has come as a relief to you among the piles of good, bad and ugly paragraphs. I am told you do not spend more than 2 minutes on each paper. By that standard my paper would have got roughly 15 seconds. Anyway, I am not writing this to insult you. I am not the student that this paper displays.
I had imbibed the noble principles taught to us in our childhood-Study Hard and Well. The principle paid off handsomely till the last semester. The content of what I studied did not matter to me. I sucked it in, drank it and ate it and with unmatched fervour, splashed it all across the question papers. I rationalised what I did not understand and was more than often correct. But then the last semester examinations happened. I studied well. But it is in studying for the second-last "most important" examination of my life, that I had an epiphany-What am I doing? I am studying the same thing I learnt 3 years back in a book which has more spelling mistakes than I have ever committed in my 15 years of academic life. But why am I telling you this? You already know all of it. You know how studying under this system they have all said -We should change this. We should make a move towards the better and not be a part of the rat race. Well you made the highest grossing Hindi movie about it and the message seems to go unnoticed. Well today I take a stand-stupid, misguided and damaging.
I have written my 5 papers to the perfection. The 6th paper which you are correcting right now has the minimalist efforts given by me for anything. I read the subject and the course content and concluded after much deliberation that this subject adds no value to me or my future. And I refuse to give proof of my understanding about something so inconsequential (what examinations were originally designed to do-test my understanding).I apologise if you were one of the syllabus designers .I do not claim to be a revolutionary. In fact i know I will be dismissed as the stupid oversmart kid who ruined his future. But I think I know what I want to do with my life. And graduating is not a priority. So for the first time in 15 years I will fail an examination. And I promise you that this "setback" will not deter me. You will hear about me again."
Mr Kante smiled. A smile because he just read the truth or perhaps a smile that knew the outcome of the student's endeavour. He swiped viciously across the letter and in strong words wrote irrelevant above. He put the paper in the pile. Later, in the day, the pile was collected, the black labels were removed. 4697 was revealed as the seat number. The moderation for the paper was not considered as Mr Kante had informed that only one question was attempted.
The marksheet for 4697 was printed and sent but remained uncollected.
Six months later, Mr Kante was glancing through the first page of the morning . Two stories were in the middle of the paper, side-by-side, One about a suicide by a 21 year old man, stating that he had ashamed his parents with his wrong and misguided actions. The second one talked about a 21 year old male employee of a company who had shown great business acumen and gained huge growth for his company in only 3 months at the job, with no knowledge of his graduation or education. He was now starting his own restaurant, his childhood dream. Mr Kante then looked at his watch and rushed. It was that time of the year when new stupidity and incompetence had come and it was the period of fresh killing for which he could not be late.