Plagiarism. It’s all around us. Business wars worth millions are fought between two sides claiming originality. A pretty young author sees her new found fame evaporate just as fast as it came. If one were to really reach deep into the recesses of one’s mind, one would chance upon various instances of plagiarism in our otherwise uneventful lives.
It all begins innocently. A chance glance at your neighbor’s answer sheet and you discover something amiss in your answer paper. Hastily corrected, you forgive yourself for this one time faux pas. The next exam, the glance ceases to be just a glance. You exercise your neck muscle a little more. Only to realize that students all around you seem to have something in their papers that mysteriously isn’t present in yours. And thus you begin a journey of ingenuity, lateral thinking and saving your face.
At the risk of not returning answer sheets the way you received them, copying is by far one of the greatest tools devised by mankind. The very art of copying, I believe, promotes creative thinking. You rejig answers so that the teacher doesn’t have a case to haul you up. Some have met worse fates by attempting to be re-create formulae and trigonometry. And were hauled up for different reasons. Mishaps occur in other forms too. What if the copier is awarded more marks? How does the good samritan fight for his rights? But what if the copier copies something wrong? Wouldn’t that qualify as injustice too? There are no easy answers to these deep questions.
I am reminded of exams when my neck was constantly subject to all directions to escape from my abject situation of answer poverty. Also, I am reminded of my wistful and wasted youth, many hours of which were spent in exam halls, looking for that elusive answer. It also brings to mind those bright individuals, who brightened up exam halls and have ostensibly gone on to do great things with their lives.
One wise person feigned illness and asked to be excused to the toilet every half hour or so. Once in the confines of the smelly loo, he realized he had smuggled his geography book, while the question paper in class was asking physics. Another ripped his writing pad in half to stuff notes. This one bright spark managed to smuggle in a 1000 page text book, only to waste half an hour or so for each question, trying to find the answer in the book. And one enterprising chap after having explored all the numerous avenues just wrote down the question paper and underlined everything neatly. Rumor mills were abound about half mark being awarded for underlining.
So please copy and paste this and send it to as many people as you know. And humor me with your tales of those wonder years.