Of exams and other forms of warfare!

lobia lobia

It’s that time of the year again – exams and combined studies and sweating through power cuts and candlelit study sessions as young people in millions of households prepare for the dreaded public exams.

Reams are written every year about how stressful these are and solutions are proposed – only to be equally promptly disposed of by god… oops, sorry, I meant to say the various examination boards – the powers that be.

And the exams go on… midnight oil is burnt, stress takes its toll – both on students and teachers.

That’s right – teachers too are not just up to preparing kids for exams. The stress continues – with marking of answer sheets and deciding the fate of some poor hopeful soul sitting in Asansol or some other remote place…

It’s really a wonder that more teachers don’t take to drink – considering the kind of answer sheets they have to correct.

In every life, however, some rain must fall and in a teacher’s life, this comes, amongst other things, as hilarious answers to questions.

Let’s take a look at this year’s crop: (actual answers, btw!)

Q: Calculate something, something, something… in the Math paper

A: …and this is how you make the most awesome chicken sambar that I had last week

  • chicken – x kgs
  • onions – x cup etc. etc.

…psst… if I’d been the examiner and he’d got the proportions right, I’d have given him full marks – remember the chapter on “Ratios and Proportions” – Math, right?!!

And this heartfelt appeal from an honest Joe:

“I don’t understand Maths but still I made an effort to get up every morning at 5.30 to solve maths problems but to no use (i feel for him – truly!). I feel these problems are not at all relevant and useful.”

Yes, indeed, if they are about two trains traveling at different speeds and how much time they will take to pass each other or some idiot who is trying to fill water into a bucket at so many litres a second while a hole at the bottom empties it out almost (but never quite!) as fast as he can fill it – the wonder of this is that the guy knows there’s a hole and instead of trying to plug it or buy another bucket, he still insists on filling it! And then we try to teach them conservation in another paper called “Environmental Sciences”! Phew, there really is no end to the illogicality of education boards!

To hero No.2 too, full marks for logic!

And oh, he ends his fervent appeal to the examiner thus: “Please give me at least 60 marks. You will be blessed by god as I will pray for your well-being!” Spiritual kid too – what more can you ask for?

But the cream of the bunch is this answer from hero No.3 – again on a Maths paper – “Please pass me otherwise I will use black magic on you! Sorry for such strong language but I will commit suicide if I don’t pass! And it will be on your conscience!!”

Chanakya (Kautilya) who wrote the famous treatise on the art of war had nothing on this kid – who knows – instinctively – not just the four basic tactics of warfare – saama, daana, bheda, danda – conciliation, bribery, division and force but also the more advanced tools of Maya, Upeksha and Indrajala – deceit, ignoring and jugglery!

I’d pick this guy straightaway for a job in the War department – as a spy, maybe!

And after all that, the teacher’s head must be spinning so let’s make him some serious comfort food!


  • 1 cup lobia/black eyed beans, soaked overnight or for 6 hours. Drain and rinse
  • Ginger – 1 ” piece – crushed
  • Green chili – 1 – chopped
  • Onions – 1 large – chopped
  • Tomato – 3 – chopped
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Dhaniya/coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Amchoor/raw mango powder (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt
  • Kasooti methi – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Oil – 1 tbsp

Pressure cook lobia in two cups water along with ginger and green chili  for 3 whistles.

In another pan, heat oil. Add the jeera and let it splutter.

Add the onions and saute till brown. Add tomatoes and all the powdered masalas. Cook till tomatoes are mushy.

Pour this cooked masala into the pressure cooker and add salt and kasooti methi and mix.

Pressure cook for one more whistle.

Switch off, let it cool and add the hot milk, mixing it in as you pour.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and mint.

Serve with rice and a salad.