Mugging, cramming, handwritten notes, photocopied aka ‘xeroxed’ notes, borrowed notes, maaroed (stolen) notes, notes that were passed down for generations until they acquired the iconic status of a textbook, lugging thick heavy textbooks from the library, staying up late at night, getting up early in the morning, sweet, milky sugary hot chai to keep the eyes awake and the brain on red alert, not sleeping some nights in a row, the fierce guarding of notes, going round the hostel rooms to see who was sleeping and who was awake, who was reading which textbooks and notes, tripping over muggers i.e. crammers in the hostel corridors and steps……………oh the flickering tube-lights and air of nervous electricity as we prepared for exams!
‘Rattoing’- nothing wrong with that as some facts just have to be learnt by rote……stuffing facts into an already overflowing brain. ‘What are the contents of the foramen magnum?’ The spinal cord of course. Yes, but what else? Well, who remembers now? Short term memory is great- it allow you to retain as much as you fill in and then post-exam, the memory pot leaks copiously and a few days later- Whoosh! it is as empty as the foramen magnum in a dry skull!
Making mnemonics to remember everything. The weirder the ‘aide memoire’ the better. ‘What are the side effects of corticosteroids?’ Uh, pain? Well, painful to remember especially when the brain already had a million other ‘side effects’, ‘contraindications’, ‘pharmacological uses’ floating about.
Panic attacks, tears, dark circles, acidity, regurgitation, overeating, under-eating, last minute dash to eat Chyawanprash for better memory, oiled hair, maxis (not to be confused with glam maxi dresses) aka gowns all day long, self-inflicted torture, self-inflicted confinement to hostel room/corridor…….oh the discipline, the punishing regime which got harsher as the exam date approached.
It has been 3 decades…….yesterday’s misery is today’s ‘those good old days’.