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ENTRANCE EXAMS Its that time of the year. The 12th Boards are coming to an end.

The coaching-plus-school jang, is also coming to an end. Its finally time to sharpen your pencils, keep your blue/black ball pens at the ready, your hall tickets prepared, exam hall location-check, last minute revision and a battle plan, and there you set off for the battle field called THE ENTRANCE EXAM. Two years of hardwork, full preparation, and today is the final judgement day. Students gather around their alloted exam halls atleast an hour before. Some cross the limits to make it two or more. And obviously, more anxious are the faces of both the parents, who have tagged along, as if its their lifeline that depends upon whether their kids get through it or not. Maybe so it is. Some do pujas on the spot, putting a tilak on their son's forehead, who, by the way has fashioned himself a choti (grown his hair and tied it at the back) as a mannat. When the exam ends, he will go to the barber to get rid of it. Most give advices in the form of dhamkis, Thik se likhna. Idhar udhar mat dekhna. Questions do baar padna. Some literally give dhamkis, Agar is baar bigaada toh dekh. As for the students, bold or meek, they just stumble off to their alloted seats, after checking their roll number thrice, on the notice board. Some are those, who are confident and in full battle stance. Those brilliant ones who know they own the paper. So do their parents. Even before the start of the exam. Then there are those, who are so full of fear, that inspite of being brilliant, they do stupid mistakes and get killed by the paper. And of course, most are those, the brave ones, or the ones who have always known they have lost the battle four to five months ago, because they simply had to scrape through their boards with decent marks. No revision, nothing on mind, they walk in jauntily, with happy-go-lucky expressions, while their parents are still begging to god to somehow make him or her do miracles that day. The invigilator starts giving instructions, while the students drink her words like holy water, so they don't get themselves disqualified by accident. OMR mein naam thik se likhna, bubbles dhang se bharna, mobile room ke bahar hee rakhna, agar kuch bhi garbar ki toh disqualify ho jaoge, paper start hone se pehle hee. And the streneous two hours begin. The scratching starts. The brilliant ones immerse themselves deep in the paper, marking answers after answers. While the others literally drown. Some who came for time pass, do time pass all the way through, by either drawing sketches on the question paper or putting their heads down. Sometimes some concerned invigilator may ask, Beta kuch toh likh lo. Atleast try toh karo. The beta will smile back, and go back to what he was doing anyway.

With five minutes to go, the invigilator announces, and even the hopeless ones think of writing something on their empty OMRs to make it look atleast somewhat presentable. And the bell rings. Hundreds of students try to escape out of the building, with bright smiles, smiles of relief, crying faces, all eager to leave the battle field, to reunite with their parents. Who obviously badger them to give full details of what transpired in the battle. Some are very specific. They start counting their scores five minutes after they have returned. Some just try to ignore the question with saddened faces. Some are like Jo hua so hua na! Thik he gaya! Result aayega toh dekh lena! Just another day, and another battle has been fought. Whether to good end or bad, only the result day will tell. The Result Day Drama. The Server is down as the nervous child and his more nervous parents sit infront of the computer screen. It has been down all the while now. The results have been announced. Phone calls are already finding their way, relatives, friends, acquaintances, all inquiring the same. Rank kya aaya? Some parents call other parents to see whether they can check their kid's results also, along with their own. Most are sitting infront of the screen as the server comes back to life. Roll number:

The two words are enough to give multiple heart attacks to many. And now is one of those most terrifying moments, whether be brilliant or dumb. The shaken child types in his final call. The roll number. The god-loving mother starts chanting. The tough father stops staring at the screen. The pitiful student, is at the verge of dying. Submit Even a more terrifying word that can cause apocalypse. And the few seconds when the roll number gets processed, those few seconds are the last ones before the world as we know it, ends. And another battle has been either won, or lost. Some plan to rejoice their victories. Some try to ignore their pestering relatives. And the rest say Jo hua so hua. But then life won't stop for anything. Such battles will come and go. Specially when you are a

student. And as any one who has seen Three Idiots will say, Bhaiyya all is well :) Aratrika Bera FE-6