This day did not witness any progress in terms of the documentary film. But nevertheless I am accounting this day just so as to not break the chronology of the documentary saga.
Exams at NRAI are not something to dread. But yes the way all the students took the exam I lived in constant fear of failing one or the other exam or scoring relatively very low for sure. The current affairs exam on 4th was no different. When everyone else in the class had bought bagsful of magazine stacks and notes to cheat, Gurneet and I had gone for a toss. We were sure that clearing or even scoring a decent score in this exam was to be our Everest. With nothing to refer to in this exam I felt it was going to be a defining moment. A student of journalism failing the current affairs exam… I can only imagine the wagging tongues and the gossip mills within family and friends working overtime.
The three devils as I used to call them in those days---Supragya, Kazim and Jha (the monster) were back at their old tricks. A lot of verbal attacks and jibing went on during the exam. It was a day when I got a feel of how the exams in notorious centers across UP and Bihar went. Magazines dating back to the last six months were available in the class in English as well as Hindi. All one had to do was pick the language, choose the choice among the questions to be answered and all the material to help score the best of marks was there.
The problem that I usually face in such circumstances, please don’t take me for a prude or a self crowned Gandhi Bhakt (I am neither), is following my head which often tells me “everyone is doing it”, or my heart which says, “That’s the only reason you should not.” With these perplexities on my mind, Gurneet and I decided to abstain from cheating. The reason was simple for both of us. We could not bear to be happy with the results even if we scored highest. Once the decision was made things were not that difficult. Then giving the exam to the best of our knowledge and ability became our focus. Having Gurneet for a friend is a blessing that I always thank God for. That day, again I was re-affirmed about the correct choice I had made in Gurneet. She did not once ask me to go the wrong way. The usual answer of ‘everyone is doing it’ or even ‘if you don’t want to don’t but I will’ could have come from anyone else but not her.
The worst part was seeing the teacher, Dr. Ritu being totally shocked. Never had she seen students so bluntly and openly cheating. I could sympathise with her. The viva went well. Though ma’am was a little worried for Gurneet and me and our marks.
The events of the exam were least of my worries. The documentary and saying yes to Sabiha ma’am had consumed me completely. I was so tempted to tell Gurneet. That was the toughest test of will power I had given myself till date.
P.S: Gurneet and I faired well in the current affairs exam. Surprisingly better than those who cheated front to back, introduction to conclusion. Guess the evaluators are smart people after all.