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Monday, September 29, 2008

Raw Facts

When I was at school, we used to have tests on subjects General Knowledge and Art. Yes, ART. The same thing Renoir did. They used to give us a theme, and we would have to draw a picture about it. This was one of the few subjects I was terrible at, apart from the Social Sciences. (Seriously, what is the point in learning about the Battle of 1142 in 1999?). I could not (and still cannot) draw a straight line which has less than 4 curves.

This particular exam, the theme was "Farmer in a Field". Everybody was happy. Except for me, that is. I suck at drawing people. No, really. My stick figures need identifying labels. The field part was all right, pour green paint over the canvas, and it would be done. The farmer was the hard part.

Using my innate cleverness that serves me to this day, I devoted one corner of the canvas to a tree (green paint for the leafy bit and brown for the trunk), and had a ladder lean against it. The farmer was up the tree, and thus was hidden from view.

GK wasn't quite so bad. Most of the questions were along the lines of "Who is the current Prime Minister of India?" and "Who won the Booker Prize for The God of Small Things?", but sometimes they would throw in bombs like "Should Sachin Tendulkar be made the captain of the Indian cricket team? Write at least 200 words on the subject", which could induce fits of hysterics in cricket allergics like me. I would usually manage a B on these, and sometimes even a B+, if there were more of the Prime Minister type questions than the Sachin Tendulkar types. But the most unforgettable exam was the one that I topped. I remember just one question from that exam, and this was it.

Question: What is India's intelligence agency known as?
Answer: Research and Analysis Wing.

Obviously, there was no way I would know that. And thus was born, the Spying Corporation of India. If only I was making this stuff up.