I sat there on the strange yellow desk facing the rather large blackboard wondering if our boards used to be this big as well. I looked down at my palm and saw sweat collecting in the lines of my hands. Am I nervous I wondered? I looked around, people all around me in different states of restlessness: jiggling legs, fingers tapping against the desk, heads on the desk and that look in the eyes. This is the least favorite part of any exam for me, the part between leaving your belongings outside the examination hall and actually getting the paper in your hands. This part, like taffy can really stretch out, five minutes seem like hours, and in those hours you can imagine each possible outcome of this exam: you plan out, knowing that it never happens this way, each event that follows this stupid exam.
I sit there in that tiny infinity of time, thinking (because really what else is there to do?) This morning since I got here there has been a wrestle for space and by space I mean the simple wish that no one stands on my toes. I got off the auto almost a kilometer away because the remaining road to the place was stuffed with cars and other vehicles. Well at least I am not subjecting myself to this alone. But I must tell you, the number of people as I got closer to the examination hall grew exponentially. To see my allocated hall, I had to duck under a couple of armpits and elbow a few rather enthusiastic (and slow) examinees as well.
I was to go to the sixth floor. I looked at the staircase, it said “Burn calories not electricity, take the stairs.” I smiled and nodded in agreement and went and stood waiting for the lift. As you must have already guessed, it was crowded, but the amazing part happened when the lift arrived, like circus clowns in a car, the entire two dozen of us crammed ourselves into an 18 person lift. And as soon as the lift door shut, I looked around to see (me eyeballs were the only part of me that could move at this point) if I was the only one who found this amusing. Everyone just looked on and inhaled each others odors like they do this every day. On the fourth floor, as instructed by the helpful peon on the ground floor, all the clowns alighted this lift and almost comically coordinated, like one person, entered the adjacent one. I could barely control my laughter but I did. Not wanting to look like a retard does help.
The loud screeching voice of the examiner in the hall brought me back to where I really was as he read out the instructions from a piece of paper. Three times. Because clearly we looked like a bunch who would not get it the first couple of times. As he blabbered on I noticed how skinny this guy was (with a tiny shred of jealousy I must admit) His pants were clearly hoisted only with the support of his belt which I imagined him getting new holes punched into. You could see every bone on his face, his skin taut over it. And being on the first bench I also earned the privilege of ducking from the showering saliva from his mouth as he spoke. Does he get paid well for doing this, I wondered? Or is he a college professor?
As I wondered, the sweet Gods above smiled and the bell rang. Collective gasps filled the room, I think I was the only one relieved that the waiting is over. I slid my pen in the question booklet and tore open to begin the exam. I sighed again, at least the tough part was over.