We use to have "unit" tests every 2 months of 1 hour each worth 25 marks per subject during our school days . The test was conducted at our class rooms only and on that particular day, I was sitting with my topper, who was just a hi-bye-go die kinda friend of mine.
Maths it was. Exam started,paper was kinda easy and within 40 minutes I solved everything. Thereafter, I saw my topper,he had also completed everything except the last Qs which he was in the process to solve. 5 minutes later, I saw him again, still trying his level best to unriddle the same. I gestured that I can help but he denied. 5 minutes later, I observed him again and this time, he was sweating like hell. The quagmire of last question was slowly killing him like a colchicine mixed with apple juice. The click of every second passing by was like the sound of his coffin being nailed 6 feet under the ground.
I have always felt that for toppers, marks are binary, its either full(=1) or, if not full, its equivalent to zero.
He, still, unable to solve, deep inside knew that he can't solve it anymore, adding to his misery, was the fact that a dumb witted moron(that's me) has solved it.
3 min left and ahoy! this boy finally gave up and "literally" pleaded "vineet, please show me how u did it"
I smiled(= I won): I sneaked the test copy towards him and within next 2 minutes, he copied everything.
Paper got over.We submitted the answer copy after which i expected at least a heartfelt thanks or even a comforting smile but all this guy managed was a cold stern glare.
WHO CARES, I was glad with my performance and didn't bother much about that.
1 week later,test answer copy was distributed and i got 23 out of 25. My topper got 25/25 and gosh, so happy he was.
I was happy with my 23, a guy who has been sitting for whole of his life in the 3rd last bench sleeping( and sometimes even murmuring in the sleep), for him, anything beyond 18 is a bonus.
I was chit chatting with a group of 7-8 friends along with the "topper" in that circle when someone asked me " hey Vineet, how much you got in Maths yaar"
I (with a proud smile and virtually patting my back): dude, 23
AND THEN CAME THE REPLY WHICH I AM NEVER GONNA FORGET TILL THE LAST STAR FALLS
he said " haan saale, topper ke saath baitha tha naa"
I was like WHATTTTTTTTTTT
It felt like someone has given me a head-shot with a sniper from a small range.
I looked at my topper and holyshit!!can u believe it, he was looking at the floor,smiling sheepishly with a " ohh come on, no big deal for me" look.
I, mum, was glaring at him,eyes wide opened, waiting desperately for him to clarify but then his ego never let him do the same. That son of a bitch never told anyone that his fucking 25 was because of a 3rd last row guy.
PS: I almost gave up cheating after that.
PPS: but then i needed my 23, and as i grew old, that 23 even out of 50 seemed like skydiving without ropes.
PPPS: these days, Back on track.