Tuesday, December 20, 2011


This incident took place in April 2004, while I was appearing for my final year degree exam.  The paper was cost accounting.  My preparation for this particular paper was very good, so the day before exam, I just went through solved examples and old theory questions.

The next day, I got up early in the morning and by an impulse picked up an old solved question paper and went through the essay problem.  It was a numerical and as I tried to solve it, I got the wrong answer.  I consulted the solution and rectified it.

The examination center Nehru College, Kanhangad, was 2 hours journey by bus, so I had to leave early, but I was feeling euphoric since getting up in the morning and felt so throughout the day.  I nearly shouted with joy once I got the question paper as I knew answers to all the questions and the icing on the cake was the essay numerical of 15 marks, which was the same one that I had practiced in the morning.

On the day previous to costing accounting exam, there was some commotion in the adjacent classroom and I had seen a wailing young man being lead by a group of men towards the main gate some time before the final bell rang.  On enquiring from my friend who was sitting in that classroom, I came to know that this guy had just lost his sister, who was suffering from some incurable disease and his relatives had come to take him home.

On this cost accounting exam day, there was some change in seating arrangements.  Our classroom consisted of 3 columns of desks and benches with 2 students seated on each bench.  The examiners shuffled us with students from the adjacent room, so while I was in the same room, my position changed, I was now in the back bench in the middle column, my bench mate was a guy from the adjacent room.  As I started to write the answers, I could suddenly feel my bench mate’s gaze on my answer sheet.  I was starting to write the first section, that was the one word answers worth 15 marks.  I looked at him and raised my eyebrows to which he pleadingly said, “Just show me the first section answers,” although I felt a bit grumpy initially, I let him copy the answers as I wrote them.

The second section was a bit of mix between theory and numericals and I started working on them.  It was worth 35 marks and required answers that were bigger than first section, but smaller than third section.  I was wholly engrossed in my workout and a couple of times that I glanced at my bench mate, I found him bent over his answer sheet.

Things were moving very smoothly for me and soon I entered the final section, where the same question awaited me that I had practiced in the morning.  As I was working it out, I made the same mistake, got the same wrong answer, but then I also remembered the solution as if someone held the solution book in front of me.  The wrong step was easily corrected I got the correct answer.  The second essay question was also numerical, but it was rather simple and soon I finished it.  There was still 15-20 minutes for the final bell.  I revised my answers.  It looked like the bell would not ring for eternity when I felt a nudge and saw my bench mate again looking pleadingly into my eyes and saying, “Can you show me 1 essay question.”  This time without raising an eyebrow, I showed him the solution to the first essay question.  After some time, the bell rang and I left the room in a hurry to join my friends.  My bench mate was busy writing some other section even as the examiner started collecting answer sheets and so we could not further our acquaintance.  I never saw this guy again as the next day, our seating position was again changed and he probably went back to his old room.

Time flew and I just forgot about this young man.  I had landed a job in a BPO company during the exam vacation and so it was only a month or two after results were out that I could get leaves to go and collect my mark sheet.  The mark sheet is sent by the University to the exam center and so I had to again sit through the 2 hour bus journey to reach Nehru College, Kanhangad, my exam center.  Needless to say I had to take this journey alone as all my friends had collected their mark lists earlier.  I got my mark list and marks were as expected except in costing where I had scored 70/80 whereas I was expecting full marks!

On my way back I was thinking about the adventures that we had while coming to this exam center, the tension on the first day when each of us thought how difficult it was to travel 2 hours everyday just to write this exam and that also eight papers, one of my class mates even picked up a fight with the local students of the college and it snowballed into something else.  I kept thinking about all these and smiling to myself when suddenly my reverie was broken by a young man who had just entered the bus.  He came and stood near me and flashed a smile, I smiled back, and although I faintly remembered his face, I could not place him anywhere.  He asked, “mark list?”  I was carrying my mark list wrapped in polythene bag and I said yes.  “Can I see it”, he asked eagerly.  I passed my mark list and he said, “Hey! I was expecting full marks in costing from you, but you got only 70.”  I said, “I am still wondering about it.”  It was then I was able to recognize my bench mate on the day of costing exam.  After giving back my mark list, he caught my right hand with lot of emotion and said, “Friend what you did that day meant a lot to me”.  I was embarrassed and said, “Come on, I just showed answers worth 15 marks and there is no need for thanking me like this.”  He laughed wholeheartedly at my answer and said, “It looks like you have forgotten, you also showed me 1 essay question worth 15 marks.” I said, “Okay, no big deal.”  He continued, “Since you were so much engrossed in writing, I even copied some answers from your second section without your knowledge.”  I was really amazed at the honesty of this guy.  There was no need for him to come and talk to me in the first place and then also to disclose that how much he had copied.  I just smiled at him.  He said, “That day after exam I wanted to talk to you, but you just vanished, I wanted to tell you my story.  My elder sister was suffering from a terminal disease of the intestine and she passed away on the day just prior to cost accounting exam.  It was my sister’s wish that I complete my degree, and costing was my worst prepared paper.  My sister had insisted that I complete my exam and should appear for cost accounting exam whatever be my preparation.  I came fearing the worst and then this MAGIC happened.  I was moved to your room, and because of you only I managed to score 50 in this exam.  I will be leaving for Mumbai shortly as one of my relatives has promised getting me a job there.  I am very happy that I was able to see you today and tell you how grateful I am for your help.”  Eventually, his bus stop came and he left me after giving a firm hand shake.

I did not own a mobile phone in those days and so did not collect his contact number.  Today, I don’t even remember this guy’s name, his appearance, but this one event left a profound impact on me and had me questioning my own convictions, concepts, and misconceptions that I had formed regarding life, God, and destiny.  On that particular day of cost accounting exam, besides my bench mate, I too had profited from THE MAGIC, or how else could I explain the 15 marks question which I randomly picked in the morning and the same question coming in the exam, the euphoric feeling which was with me all throughout the day, also the unexpected meeting with this guy in the bus.  Coming to think about it, meeting him in the bus was the greatest MAGIC of all as the Kanhangad Highway is crowded with private buses and chances of both of getting in the same bus were as remote as finding a needle in haystack.

Even now when I think about this incident, I am left wondering at the many MAGIC that keeps happening in our lives, which escapes our attention as we are very much busy in running the rat race and keeping ahead of the competition.

NOTE:  Although I am labeling this as a story, this is a real life event.

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