Monday, December 25, 2006

Of Exams and Earworms

Before I start off barking about on how good(or bad) my exams went, I must first thank two characters that frequent the stone benches on the ground floor in our college. They are Arun M and Raja Deepak. They were of a great help in the days before each exam. I spent a lot of hours on the phone with them while they patiently explained the nuances of such things like microprocessor programming and query processing and the design of Turing Machines. Of course I raked up a huge bill, but thats a different story altogether.

Now let me start barking proper. I have a huge problem with earworms. A lot of people do have it, I know, but mine is especially bad considering the songs that get stuck in my head. In case you didnt know, or hadnt deduced by now, an earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head and repeats itself over and over annoyingly. How wonderful it would be if earworms would be something soothing, or good to hear. How nice would it be to get something like Hotel California or Yanni stuck in your head. I get the Hotel California stuck in my head only when I try to remember what my usual earworm is!! Talking about my usual earworm, it happens to be a pure dappankuthu song (composed by Deva obviously) from the film Bhagavathi. Its the Coca-Cola brown colour da tune. It happens to me so often that I am playing heavy metal now on full volume, despite it being 1:30 in the night, scared that I might get it.

Earworms are especially irritating during exams. During our practicals, I went in to pick up a sheet before the DBMS thing and suddenly the song started off ominously. Coca-Cola brown colour da, yaen akka ponnum adhey colour da. Sitting down in my place the I hear the song continuing, Coffee la bunna amukku da, andha combination romba dhool da. I write queries access tables, and the song continues full blast, Ayyo jillunu en allu patha da... I am at my wits end. Somehow I manage to finish everything off without mishap, and go and sit for the viva. The external was a woman wearing a green sari. She asked me to sit down and looked at me for a couple of seconds. The song which had been on pause for some time started off on a different stanza, Hey paccha podavai othu pakkudhu.
"What are the ACID properties?", she asked. I look at my own internal, a guy in his thirties, sitting next to her. The song continues. Purushan kooda irundhum enna pakkudhu, machi machi machi.
"The ACID properties are.. um.. "Podaango, podaango...

I managed to grin my way out of the viva. The next two practicals too were of the same case, with me struggling with programs, vivas, and earworms.

Ten or so days later, we had to take our theory exams. Ten days I'd wasted playing cricket and now I started to regret. First exam was DBMS. I looked at the question paper, and I knew I would clear it. I finished it off, of course with the song playing in the background. Same was the case with the networks exam. The third exam was something called Theory of Computation. It primarily deals with the work of one Mr.Alan Mathison Turing in an obscure field where mathematicians work with computer engineers to produce a race of super-boring people. Turing, I noticed with some glee, had been arrested for being a homosexual. Serves him right. Two days before the exam, we went off to play cricket. The only thing worth mentioning about this piece of absolute irresponsibility happens to be that I managed to hit a rasping square drive of the bowling of Vinod, one of the fastest ever, with all the elegance of Rahul Dravid. I reached the highest point of my life. One-fourth of a second later, Seshu casually bent down to pick up the ball, and I was caught out. I reached the lowest point of my life. The syllabus of TOC being what it was, I purchased two books at the last minute, and fell asleep with three books propped open in front of me. I went to the exam hall, and suddenly found that my brain had bought woofer speakers to enhance my earworm.

Next exam was something called Microprocessors and Microcontrollers, affectionately called Mu.P. Why someone would regard a microprocessor with any affection still remains a mystery though. I wrote the exam well, though I screwed up on an essay question. The next exam was called Discrete Mathematics. This paper was suppossedly easy, as it was a combination of binary manipulation, modern algebra, and a whole lot of other general mish-mash that we had all suppossedly come across before. I sweated the exam out, and came out feeling absolutely rotten. Last exam was something called Principles of Management. I spent the whole of the three days playing cricket, and when I opened the book at 6 pm the day before, I realized much to my horror that I'd underestimated the whole thing. Frantically, I mugged up the important bits, only to be told the next morning that they were all not in the syllabus. I wrote whatever I could think of that any self respecting manager would do, and managed to fill up thirty odd pages of total nonsense. Deva of course kept me company with his "exhilarating" tunes.

Ten days have passed since. They have gone in a complete blur. I have no idea what I have done or what I proposed to do. The rest of the holidays, I am sure are going to run out in the same way. Oh, and its Christmas now. Merry Christmas.

Yours earwormially,