Examination Stories (Apni toh Paathshala, Masti Ki Paathshala)

Was going through Brown Phantom’s memories. Started a chain of memories for me

I grew up with siblings, all male, most of ’em older than me. Which means I grew up as witness to wonderful capers all to be blamed on exams …..

One sibling was totally exam challenged. What aggravated the issue was that he was made much of by his Granny and Mom, the only male child followed by sisters. He fared badly in the exams and threatened to jump of the roof rather than show his report card. Needless to say the ladies panicked. My Ben Hur Uncle walked into the courtyard to see weeping Aunt and the boy on the ledge and got into the act. He pushed his bhabi into the room and locked the door. Then told the errant boy “Koodna hai, kood ley, main hoon na” {Wanna jump … go right ahead, I’m here to take care of you}
The boy stood for a minute, took stock of the situation, shrugged and replied “I wasn’t trying to scare you, I was just trying to scare them” and tamely climbed off the ledge ……..

My elder sibling had a friend who had flunked his boards umpteen number of times. He introduced me to the world of “pharras” or cheat papers. They were tiny, folded like Japanese fans and covered with minuscule writing. He hired my brothers to write his pharras for him. They subcontracted the chore to us young ‘uns for Ravalgaon toffees. We dutifully made the pharras copying all the answers from Kunjis (help books). Then the friend came, his coat lining was torn and the pharras tucked inside the lining at strategic points, while we kids watched with fascination. A soochi (key) was made of where each pharra was hidden. That was tucked into the seams of his tie. I kept thinking that if he lost that soochi or his tie, he was sunk!!!!

He barely made it, you know, just got 33%. We didn’t care. We got our toffees and the elder Bhais got their money πŸ˜€

During our in-school exams our class was made to sit with students of higher classes. It was a nightmare for our school teachers! At one time 17 of us from the same family studied in various classes in the same school. They kept trying to shuffle us, but it never worked.

Once there was some theorem I could not memorize. I knew it would come in the exam and was almost in tears. The brothers tried to help me, but it did not work. At the last moment, one of my brothers slipped a pharra into my hand and said “Use this”.

I panicked, got this insane urge to pee, got hiccups …. u know the classic I wanna flee reaction …

Managed to walk and sit down at my desk. Sure enough that dratted theorem was in the question paper. Not being able to face up to the challenge of opening the pharra (he had shoved it under the dial of my watch) I attempted everything else. Once I had stopped trembling and my heart beat was some-what normal, I risked opening the pharra ……

In my terror I had worked myself into copious sweat (even though we lived in Imphal, Manipur) and the ink had run and blurred the entire pharra.

I did not know whether to laugh or cry …

That was a multiple choice question, and I easily attempted the other one …

My brothers were in splits when I told them what happened –

Ah well!!!


23 thoughts on “Examination Stories (Apni toh Paathshala, Masti Ki Paathshala)

  1. I have no such interesting examination stories to tell, all it always happened was I helped some souls to cheat from my own paper. That meant I had to sit at one angle so they they cud copy from behind or beside. At one time, I had to pass my own answer sheet, my heart would stop everytime till I got them back, to my friends. Duh

    ROFL, so you were a phattu! Nvr mind, lots of ppl are cautious

  2. I came by your post quite randomly I think via IHM.. I like your style πŸ™‚

    As for my cheating
    I along with two others hid a book in the toilet and checked answers during bathroom breaks. And also passed back papers. I have never done Pharas for the exact reason as you – unless u do it all the time and are an expert it is a very nerve racking experience.

    Yeah, its very very nerve wracking

  3. Ha ha…

    @Poonam: This used to be a standard thing.. teachers used to come and ask me to sit straight every few min… especially the last half hour used to be the worst. Its wuite comfortable when you’re seat is next to the wall though…

    I can quite visualize it …. πŸ˜›

  4. LOL Ritu reading these blasts from the pasts is my tonic for staying fit ..A daily dose of laughter does good tome πŸ˜€ nice one

    Thanks Tiku

  5. LOL !!!!!!!! Once, when I was in class 3, I saw a bhaiyya from class 8 taking out a pharra and with all my idealized notions of no cheating in exams, I complained to the invigilator and he got chucked out from the exam. The next 2 years in school, I spent doing all errands for the whole 8th class 😦 ( (

    LOL, let’s say you got an education in street smarts πŸ˜›

  6. LOL 17 of you in the same school, that’s a riot!! πŸ˜€

    Can you imagine the state of the poor teachers’ morale? Specially the Discipline In Charge? πŸ˜‰

  7. LOL πŸ˜€ nowadays they are called micros- photocopy of stuff done at 40-50% size πŸ™‚

    Vive La Technology!!!

  8. The underside of skirts was where I wrote all my formulas. We even hid books in the loo. But the teachers wised up!

    They always do, so kids have to keep innovating

  9. ROFL!!:D totally get it!my story too:D
    with two bros and an endless number of cousins this could be my story..hell this IS my story πŸ˜€

    It keeps us surprisingly grounded and helps us develop a thick skin, hai na?

  10. 17!! I thought me having 7 from a family was more than enough… πŸ™‚

    In the same school? Poor teachers πŸ˜›

  11. ROFL!!! One mischievous kid you have been during your times… The Pharra incident it Lolzz!!

    Let’s say I had a well spent childhood

  12. lol!! ur parchas brought back a lot of memories… 17 of u, and I thought we were bad…10 from the same family in the same school. πŸ™‚

    Yeah we did not know what loneliness was, and we did not know what limits were either Phew! Swear, my kids are saints – but dont tell them πŸ˜›

  13. wow wat fun..na re I grew up wid the perpetual fear tht i had to do well ..exams never meant fun time to me DO WeLL ScORE well was all tht was stuffed into my head …..Dread those days….parchas was an abuse word ..Im glad i said it ou t loud now and got over tht paranoia!

    Hahahaha Jay, I am the kind of girl your mother warned you about! Now take a deep breath, exhale and say P-H-A-R-R-A. There, now you can get over the paronia πŸ˜†

  14. LOL :)I am also like you, I would have been petrified of using pharras though we did hold our paper in ways that the person behind or infront could read what was written πŸ™‚ Once my paper floated down and another kid picked it went through it and returned it later by letting it fall on the floor!! But I’d never tell all this to my kids!

    LOL, Yeah, lips are sealed!!! It requires guts to use pharras

  15. Haha.. No need for Pharras.. You can write on your palms and fingers with ball pens.. It doesn’t get wiped off.. And no one would even think of checking your hands!!

    An ENTIRE Theorem?????

  16. πŸ™‚ ‘Pharras’ by any other name shall still be pharras πŸ™‚ We used to call them ‘tundus’ or ‘bits’ or somesuch thing..Don’t know cause i never used them.(Yeah i was a good good good student–a teachers dream)

    I have another friend like that, I call her Hermione Granger aka THE SWOT. Her real name is Dr. Jayshri Kannan with a string of degrees as long as an arm πŸ˜›

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