It had been sometime in May 2006, when I had sworn myself off voluntarily writing any more exams. My engineering B.Tech degree was done and I was through with formal studies. As the world around me went crazy over CAT, GRE, GATE, GMAT, ICS and various other similarly acronymed monsters, I preferred to fade way in the background as attending sleepy afternoon classes and end of term exams were not my definition of fun. So I decided to begin work instead and have steadily stuck to my wise decision! It did turn out that the first few months at work were more like an exam every day without a pre-defined syllabus but at least there was no one grading the sheets and minimum attendance meant a healthy sum of money being deposited at the end of every month. With my long American stint being the proverbial cherry on the cake, I was happy... some would say too happy. Things were coming to a head and vindictive spirits had to have their own.
So it was that an exam was announced at work. The month long technical training in welding types that we had had was to be put to the test and we were told of the date 2 weeks in advance. I was shell shocked! 4 years of corporate life and no one had even suggested an evaluation of this level. It was like a forgotten nightmare had returned to haunt me. So worried was I that like so many of past semester exams, I managed to avoid touching the study material before today, that was the long announced day of reckoning. I woke up early to try and make a last minute hash of the vast sea of welding knowledge before me, all the while praying for divine intervention in postponing the exam, parrying the danger away even if only for a while. At the time when I usually leave, it started raining... really really heavily. I cheered up "This is it then! Divine intervention at its best. 4-5 hours of this deluge and all of Calcutta would soon bring out their monsoon time swimming trunks." The joy was very cruelly short lived! The rain stopped abruptly after about 15 minutes almost as if someone had suddenly grabbed it by the neck and chucked it out of a 15th floor window.
Grumbling and still rolling the abysmally small morsels of information about welding in my head, I looked around for my helmet, found it too easily and hoisted myself onto my motorcycle to make my way to work. And what do you know... the rains came to life again when I was halfway between work and home, on an long open section of the road without sufficient tree cover and drenched me to the bone without rhyme or reason. The first shelter I found under a big enough tree, I stopped and lo behold, the rain immediately ceased too. Here was another opportunity presented to me. With my soaked clothes, walking into my office's Air Conditioned interiors meant death by pneumonia or such like, therefore giving me a solid reason to return home and stay there. But a brighter idea blazed inside my not-as-bright mind.
The self-incepted plan was that I would still go to work despite my wet dog like condition. Going back home now would entail coming back to work in a fresh set of clothes by lunchtime as the exam was scheduled for 16:00 hours. So my master plan was to attend work and then when the chills/mild fever came to me just after lunch, as they surely would inside the cool environs of my workplace, leave for home citing authentic sickness. But as my luck for the day would have it, the clothes dried themselves to the driest possible in the billowing AC breeze and in the time that I was hoping it would take but none of the evaporation had the slightest ill-effect on me. I felt as hale and hearty as an ox roaming free on a meadow. No chills, zero colds, not even the ghost of a fever. 16:00 hours came and so did the adversary from whom I had been on the run for the past 4 years. Today was as far as I am concerned, my Judgement Day and nothing could save me from my sad, ugly, lazy fate!