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Exams: The Positives

Every year, around this time, kids' lives come to a screeching halt as exams make their appearance. Fact of life: exams are the bane of students' existence. However, it has recently come to light that there might actually be some positive side effects of exams. But it is not us students who are the beneficiaries.

Although you'd very much like to think they do it for you, and they certainly want you to think they do it for you, it just doesn't make sense for them to run around to all those different centres unless there's something they're looking forward to. Throughout the year, they asked you how you were doing in your mocks and whether or not the school had finished the syllabus. You generally told them the school took only one mock, and didn't return the papers, and all your friends failed anyway, so there was no point thinking too much about it. Then they went to the exam centre and met other parents. Namely, your friends' parents. The same friends whose relationships with their mothers are beyond your understanding, where they tell their moms every last detail from school. Hence your mother finds out everything you've been keeping from her since you learned to lie.

Of course, they've also always wanted to meet your friends, and you've been deftly avoiding such a situation by making up too many excuses to keep track of. Now, in the exam centre, everyone's there. So when that one friend you never wanted your mother to meet barrels into you right in front of her, then introduces himself, and your mother looks him up and down, you resign yourself to the Talk that is sure to come.

Your brothers and sisters are probably the only ones who don't face any major repercussions of your exams. These little critters are the happiest creatures on the planet when you're having exams, because by then their own exams are over and they're experiencing the bliss of holidays. The television is theirs. The computer is theirs. The internet is also theirs. And you're not around to stop them from destroying your precious, precious laptop. When the ban on you is finally lifted, you discover that the channels on the TV are messed up and half the files on your computer are missing. Also, a major Trojan has taken over your hard drive.

Social benefits
Putting aside the traffic problems created at or near your exam venues, how many of you have the guts to refuse a beggar his alms when he taps on your tinted car window? More importantly, how many of your parents have the guts? It's bad luck! Your mind shouts. You try to gather as much blessing as you can during exams, and beggars will usually say a small prayer (sincere or not) for you when you press a ten taka note into their hands. So you pay up and ask them to keep praying.

Rickshaw-pullers and CNG drivers tend to earn a lot of dough during this time as well. Rickshaw-pullers more, because the exhaustive traffic near a centre eventually forces a good number of students to ditch their cars and hail a rickshaw, a vehicle capable of breaking all traffic rules and racing forward on the wrong side of the road. Point is, they get you there on time, and you pay up whatever they ask for simply because you're grateful you didn't miss half an hour of that Economics exam.

As can clearly be seen, the negatives for you far outweigh the positives for them. Actually, there are fewer positive points overall than there are negative ones.

Exams are just the bane of people's existence.

By Professor Spork

The Other Examinees

Daughter sits inside the exam hall, sweating her brain and trying to come up with the exact answers for that Chemistry paper. Mother stands outside the hall, literally sweating in the heat, anxious and waiting eagerly for her daughter to come out. Drivers lounge inside the air-conditioned cars, bored out of their minds and irritated at the incessant traffic jam on the roads. While the sibling stands out of his school at the other end of the city, his wait seemingly endless because of the unavailability of the family car.

Seldom do we realise how much the exams we give affect the people around us. With the exam season on, it's not hard to find out these people and the amount of suffering they have to endure for the sweet examinees.

The Mother
Well, parents, exactly, but in most of the cases you will find these mothers living under the stress of the exams as much as their children. She is always at their elbow - whether to feed them, or to remind them of the essentials before setting out for the exams. Then they stand for hours outside the exam halls in the sweltering heat, finally rewarding the pesky kids with something sweet and/or spicy. Not to mention the anxiety and apprehension regarding the results. But the biggest punishment of all - having to go through the said examinee's report card.

The Siblings
When the elder brother of this writer was giving his certificate exam, all the media of entertainment were completely shut off for a month because of the distractions they might offer him. Now, few people have such harsh punishments [for no reason, if we may point out] during their siblings' exams, but it's still a hard lot for them. They don't get to make any noise, they can't have cousins over, they can't even talk with their siblings when the sibling is in the mood. You know, the I'm-gonna-fail-so-I'll-make-life-miserable-for-everyone mood. And since drivers can't be spared, they don't even get the car. The walking distance between Dhanmondi and Farmgate is no piece of cake.

The Drivers
Oh, the drivers. We shudder to think what they have to face. No holidays. Endless waiting, for hours. Then the distance they have to cover while moving from one exam hall to another. Hungry and tired, eyes hollow with the lack of sleep because of waking up at six in the morning, the drivers of the examinees are the people facing one of the hardest toils.

The Street People
How are they concerned, now? Oh yes, they are affected by the exams too. Walking down the street of any one of the SSC centres during the exams will clarify our point. The streets remain jammed so that not even the pedestrians can walk. People going about their lives get hindered by the streams of students hollering as they come out of the halls. And just imagine what the neighbours around that area feel. What would you feel if half of Dhaka city's population stood clustered outside your house, screaming and bantering like there's no tomorrow?

So, next time you are having one of those one-to-one conversations with God about how terrible your life has become for the exams, think about all these people. The exams aren't even their dish, but still their sufferings are tantamount to yours, sometime even more. Perhaps that will ease your mind somewhat, perhaps you might find some peace. Perhaps not.

By Kiddin' Kid

Fuzzy Diaries

I found it in a corner of the Biology lab, all furry and lonely. I just had to take it home, I couldn't resist. But I knew that Mum wouldn't be too happy about it. She threw out my pet squirrel, my pet lizard, and even my pet unicorn. So I kind of figured by now that things would get ugly if I turned up with a fungus.

*1 hour later*
We didn't have a Petri dish, so I used my baby brother's cereal bowl instead. I put it under the kitchen sink, hoping that it would do for a 'natural habitat'. There was already some bluish-green stuff living under there, so maybe they could be friends. I'll have to think of a name for it…

*3 days later*
All is well. Mum hasn't found out about my newest pet. Apart from the suspicious look she gave me when she couldn't find Junior's cereal bowl, I'd say that things are going pretty good. I think I'm going to call it Fuzzy.

*1 week later*
Fuzzy's special diet of vegetable peels from the garbage has done wonders for his health. My little fungus has grown so much! But he's getting a bit aggressive these days. There are hardly any of the blue-green stuff left. I wonder if Fuzzy has eaten them.

*8 days later*
I should really try teaching Fuzzy some tricks. He's kind of boring, actually. I watched him for a long time when Mum was out shopping the other day. He does nothing. Absolutely zilch. He's the laziest pet I've ever had. I don't think I like him anymore.

*14 days later*
Haven't checked on Fuzzy in a while. He's just a fat lazy fungus that won't even make funny noises. I wish I had my frog back.

*16 days later*
That snot-nosed kid from next door wanted to come over and play with Fuzzy. I only said yes because he was being annoying. So he swaggered in with half a bottle of dishwashing liquid, a rotten egg, and his sister's makeup.

He gave him a few drops of the egg white, and wouldn't you believe it, FUZZY CHANGED COLOUR! That's the neatest thing I've ever seen a pet do. We tried out different things on him until he got tired of it and wouldn't play anymore. But that was ok. We'll try again tomorrow.

Fuzzy is the coolest pet I've ever had!

*21 days later*
For a little fungus, Fuzzy certainly makes a big mess. And a stinky one at that, too. I had no idea that you had to clean up after a fungus. Maybe bringing him home wasn't the brightest idea I'd had in a while…

*23 days later*
Mum is starting to get suspicious about the smell. Fuzzy has outgrown his cereal bowl, but I don't think it's safe to get him a new home right now. I don't like where this is going…

*24 days later*
I tried beetroot on Fuzzy while Mum was out. He turned a lovely red, but so did the kitchen sink. HELP!

*a few hours later*
It was worse than the time when she found my pet worms in Dad's sock. Like the others, Fuzzy had to go. It wasn't fair- I was just starting to bond with him. She wasn't even impressed with the fact that he changes colour.

Now all I have is a pet baby brother. I think I'm going to call him Nuisance. Oh well. At least he makes funny noises when I poke him. Maybe I can teach him some tricks.

By TheAlien4mEarth


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