Wednesday, September 10, 2008


A friend and I were sitting and reminiscing about our medical school days. Arif was talking about oral exams, or vivas, which all medical students are required to take at the end of each year. Vivas are, or they used to be, the bane of a medical student's existence. There were usually two or three examiners, one external, from an outside institution, and one or more internals who would all be sitting behind a desk waiting for you as you walked into the room. The external would usually begin the questions and after a few minutes, which either went by very fast, if you knew your subject, or painfully slow, if you didn't, the internal examiners would take over. The whole process was fairly subjective and very stressful and we all dreaded it.

"I remember when my wife was going in for her final year surgery exam," Arif said. "She walked into the room and sat down. The internal asked her name and then asked the external examiner to start the viva."

"Saniya was very nervous. We had just got married two days before and with the wedding and everything, she hadn't had much chance to prepare. You remember how brutal those surgery vivas could be. It was like those surgeons were operating on you!"

"So she sits down and waits for the examiner to start questioning her. He's an old man, a professor from a big medical school, dressed in an immaculate suit and tie, like the old British surgeons. The examiner looks at her hands and asks her "What's this?"

"Mehndi, sir," she tells him. "I got married two days ago."

"Then what are you doing here?"

"I'm here for the exam, sir."

"No you're not," he says. "Hogaya exam! Chalo bhago yahan se!" (We're done! The exam's over!)"

Arif grins. "She passed."


Anonymous fathima said...

i love.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Prasanth said...

Well, if that trend persist among all examiners, I am going to get married two days prior to my doctoral Viva exam.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

should i ever find myself in a viva, i will walk in with mehndi on my hands.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous prasanth said...

Adnan - Mehndi as such doesn't make much sense without associating it with marriage! Isn't it?

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hah. marriage is too big a price to pay in order to pass an exam. i think just studying for the exam would be simpler, it's the old-fashioned way.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kk - your posts are great! I remember I used to read them and then took a long break from blogging until about a year ago. I've just added you back to my new(er) blog. Keep writing!

12:43 AM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

Apologies for the late reply. Things were/have been quite busy these past few days.

fathima, beanay: thank you. i'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

prasanth: sounds like a plan, though not all examiners will be so kind.

adnan: good luck with that but the mehndi might get smeared when you pull that card out of your sleeve . . .

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its always a pleasure reading your blog..!

1:02 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

anonymous: thank you. i'm glad you enjoy reading here.

3:36 AM  

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