Sagar Dutta loved his college- Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh, Assam. In fact he loved it so much that he had managed to remain a fifth semester student for the last two years after he had put in hours of dedicated effort. And he still had a second professional MB subject to clear- Microbiology. He was determined to remain that way for at least another year or till he got bored; whichever came later. He loved his college that much.
It was the night before his Microbiology practical and oral exams. He was in his room downing a few pegs and listening to some music. Loud. The boy staying in the adjacent room knocked and came in. he was a few batches sagar’s junior and looked tense.
“Sir”, he addressed Sagar, “there is the Micro viva tomorrow…
“Yeah, yeah, I know”, Sagar cut in, “I should be studying and blah, blah, blah. But I don’t wanna pass”.
“Actually I also am appearing for it”.
“So what should I do about it,eh?”
“Well, I haven’t finished studying and…
“Don’t appear for the exam. Simple”. Sagar said with a genuine smile.
“I was thinking that if you please turn down the volume a little, I could study.”
Sagar frowned, but being a good human being, a compassionate one, he retreated. The junior mumbled his thanks and was halfway out of the room when Sagar called after him.
“Fuck you”, he said. And the junior blushed and scampered out.
The next morning came. All the examinees were lined up in the Micro verandah with looks of livid apprehension and fear on their faces. All but one: Sagar was smiling and whistling to himself. They were soon ushered in for the practicals and as soon as they started on the experiments, the peon started to call them one by one for the viva. The hero of our story was the first person to be called.
“May I come in, Sir”. The examiner looked strict enough and Sagar smiled in surety that he would flunk again.
“Good morning Sir”.
“Morning, morning”, he said and asked Sagar to sit. He sat down with a thanks.
“Your roll number?”
Sagar smiled in anticipation of what he knew would happen next. “420, Sir”.
The examiner made no comment. Sagar was surprised. The same response had flared up the examiner the last time. Not because his roll number was 420, but because it was 551. This one just glanced at the sheet in front of him and said “ Here it says 551”.
“It is 551. I was just joking”.
“Good joke”, he said and started to laugh. “Name?”
“First attempt, right?”
“Sixth attempt, Sir”, he said proudly.
“Oh, my poor little boy! You will pass this time”.
“No I won’t Sir”.
“Are you challenging me that you won’t pass?”
“Yes Sir. I won’t answer anything correctly”.
“Is it so? I will make you pass if you give me correct answers to any five of my questions. First question: What is Cryptococcus neoformans.?”
“Crypto means hidden, coccus means circular, neo means new, and formans most probably means formed. So it is a newly formed hidden circular organism”, he replied without missing a beat.
“Excellent! Correct answer”.
Sagar was horrified. Was the examiner mad? He himself knew that the answer was absurdly stupid, even though he didn’t know the correct answer.
“So what type of organism is it?”
Sagar didn’t answer.
“Ok, I will give your four choices: (a) bacteria (b) virus (c) fungi (d) none of the above.”
“Wrong, try again”.
Sagar was shocked. He had been trapped.
“What disease does it cause?”
Sagar decided to play safe. “I don’t know”.
“Good. That’s the third correct answer you have given. Of course you don’t know.”
“Trapped again”, Sagar thought with a frown. He decided to stay mum from then on. The examiner shot question after question at him for the better part of half an hour only to be answered with silence. Exasperated, he asked Sagar “What’s your father’s name?”
“Safe question”, he thought. The name was almost out of his mouth when he smelled a rat and said “Mr. Dhiren Dutta”.
“Wrong, Sir. I lied”.
“Am I not the examiner? It’s correct if I say so”.
“But Sir I know my fathers first name is not Dhiren”.
“It is Dhiren”.
“No Sir, it is Biren”, Sagar said in frustration.
“There, I pried out the fourth correct answer”, he said with a satisfied smile. Sagar felt like banging his own head on the wall.
“What was your name once again?”
“You may go now”.
Sagar even forgot to say “Thank you” in elation. He had answered just four questions correctly. He was going to fail again! He lived his happy and carefree life till the day his results were out. He had the shock of his like. He almost had a heart attack-he had passed. Bent, broken, and defeated, the realization struck him. The question about his name was the fifth one he had answered correctly.