The Art of Fixing Exams & My Last Words

What with all this talk of fixing going on towards the end of this year’s IPL, the whole country (including me) were left feeling cheated, weren’t we? Spot-fixing, match-fixing and what not.

And with this latest one-liner floating around, ‘Enjoy the cricket. Fixed toh aapki shaadi bhi hoti hai‘, can’t help but wonder what all on Earth can actually be “fixed”?!

Have you ever consciously/subconsciously/unconsciously ever indulged in “fixing”? I am sure you must have. We all resort to manipulation in some form or the other in our daily lives. We learn it from our parents who used to manipulate us (good intentions, of course, no doubt) to get us to do what we were supposed to be doing.

  • First finish your homework. Then you may go out and play.
  • If you behave well this weekend, then I will take you to Jurassic Park once the guests are gone.
  • We will buy you that cricket bat if you come first in your class this year.

It always worked.

If this was at home, there was a bigger racket in school during my growing up years. Exam-fixing! Oh yeah. I have heard stories of students resorting to various ways to get teachers to give away free marks: pleading, begging, bribing, threatening. Poor teachers, ’em.

And then there’s the other kind of exam-fixing, largely unheard and unspoken of. If Wikipedia were to define exam-fixing, it would have said,

“In exams, fixing occurs as a exam is held to a completely or partially pre-determined result, violating the rules and often the law. Exams that are deliberately lost/failed/underperformed are sometimes called thrown exams. When a student intentionally fails an exam, or does not score as high as s/he can, to obtain a perceived future competitive advantage, the student is often said to have tanked the exam instead of having thrown it. Tanking is personal to the student and very hard to prove.

Exam-fixing generally refers to fixing the final result of the exam. Another form of exam-fixing, known as subject-fixing, involves fixing one or more subjects during the semester/academic year, but which are unlikely to prove decisive in determining the final result of the student’s future.”

This sort of exam-fixing is something I have regularly been doing for the last 8 years, I must grudgingly admit, though I have no idea why and I am NOT proud of it. I have fixed, thrown and tanked many an exam for reasons best known to not-even-myself. There have been times when I have just refused to study for an exam (not because I was busy doing much else), saying to myself that it’s okay, no big deal and more of such crap.

What is it about failure that when most people shun it or run away from it, seems like I am almost attracted to it? Why that craving for failure? Sometimes, why does failure give me as much a high as success is supposed to give, if not more? Is it just me or does that often happen to others too? That weird obsession to take almost-sadistic pride in my failures, nothing to be proud of actually, really. Weird, and equally scary, if I don’t come back to my senses too soon, that is.

I once had said this to a friend of mine (in jest, or so I had thought back then), when I was in one of my show-off moods. Needless to say who is the Batman here…

The Batman loves to be mysterious. The moment you catch a trail, he will go to any lengths to lose you. But he loves to show off, always trying to prove he is one step ahead is all that matters to him. Even if he’s not successful at it. Despite this, momentary failure excites him. Because it motivates him to do even better.

Has the Batman been taking his philosophies a bit too seriously? Things do look serious right now.

To bring some sanity back to the blog, some famous last words of notable personalities I couldn’t help sharing. The top ten:

  1. No comment.” by Edward Abbey.
  2. Wait a minute..” by Pope Alexander VI.
  3. Well gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.” by George Appel.
  4. Am I dying, or is this my birthday?” by Lady Nancy Astor.
  5. Now comes the mystery.” by Henry Ward Beecher.
  6. Useless.” by John Wilkes Booth.
  7. I am the problem.” by David Burke.
  8. I am so bored with it all.” by Winston Churchill.
  9. You got me.” by John Dillinger.
  10. You can stop now. I’m already dead.” by Abigail Folger.

And some possible ‘last words’ (speculation only):

  • Why this Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri di?” by Dhanush.
  • Well, of course, you know.” by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
  • Aauuun!” by Shakti Kapoor.
  • My time is now.” by John Cena.

As for me, my last words would be:
I should have invested two thousand rupees in five bags of mangoes.

Cheers.


Update (3 February 2016):

How do people feel when they know they are going to fail their next exam?

Something like this:

I have been plying this trade (going to exams unprepared) for nearly 10-11 years now. I can sufficiently claim to have turned a pro by now.

It feels good. It is also very motivating, because once I am resigned to my impending doom, I let it go. Now that I promised myself that I am going to do extremely well in the next exam at least, to make up for tomorrow’s failure, I am all pumped up and inspired to start studying right away. Flashes of all-nighters and serious preparation fly across my hazy eyes, and I start fantasizing about how I am going to beat them all and top the class in the next exam. Now that I have accepted my fate, I go to sleep peacefully that night, feeling cheerful and relaxed for having made a life-changing decision.

Next morning, I am back to feeling like a loser.

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