Examination is something that most students love to hate. The thought that it is the performance in this year-end torture and not an assessment of the entire year that determines promotion to the next class makes examinations particularly unwelcome. However, when it comes to competitive examinations that pave the way for government jobs, the entire attitude of these very students changes completely. They study hard round the year just to appear in these examinations.

A colleague came across one such government job aspirant, who had been eagerly waiting for the Uttar Pradesh Police examination. Finally, the date of the exam was declared and his examination centre was in Kanpur. New to the city, the young man hardly had any idea about the roads.

This cost him a lot as he got stuck in the traffic while heading for the examination venue. By the time he reached the venue the entry was closed. Highly disappointed, the poor chap had no other option but to return to Delhi, cursing his ill-luck all the way.

At his coaching centre and library, when other aspirants were discussing the question papers and their prospects of passing the exam, the poor lad kept mum. A few days later, when he and his class-mates were engrossed in their study circle at the library, our friend spotted a news item that made him shout in joy! As his shout disturbed the silence of the library, the other students wanted to know the reason for his joy.

It turned out that the UP Police examination was cancelled due to mass cheating. Of course, he was the happiest of the lot and could hardly believe his luck but not all those who had performed well in the examination!

Missing tailor

What happens when a tailor goes missing? The customers are in panic. The same thing happened recently when Ali Baba, the bearded tailor, was absent from his seat under a peepul tree and about whom a piece appeared in this Notebook column earlier. Frantic calls were made to the number painted on the wall behind which he sat. There was no reply. Meanwhile, women and girls wanting to get their dresses loosened or tightened or new ones stitched, kept coming to the spot and going back disappointed every day. Ali Baba has resurfaced now. He had gone to his village for Ramzan and Id and his mobile phone was not functioning during this period.The customers are relieved and the children too, thinking he had deposited the treasure found by him in the hideout of the 40 thieves in safe haven. The tailor keeps up the pretence alright to amuse the kids.

Traffic woes

Traffic-control lights remaining nonfunctional for days, even months, in Delhi's National Capital Region often results in frayed tempers and cumulative loss of man hours for commuters and policemen. Damaged light signal posts, leaning over for weeks after an impact, are dismal reminders of civic apathy. Yet no roving repair crews is deployed for speedy restoration to ensure orderly flow of vehicles. A colleague found to his pleasant surprise that in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, their pre-1992 Soviet Union era traffic management discipline continues. There is a citizens' fault reporting system and the traffic police ensures that technicians rush to restore functionality.

Traffic snarls in NCR are aggravated by reckless drivers flouting road rules, defiantly cruising on the wrong side of the road and along the side walk pavements. Meanwhile, brazenly helmetless two-wheeler riders forever resort to unsafe manoeuvres to get ahead, despite there being nothing solid between them and a crash. And helpless policemen contend with disorderly vehicular streams to just keep them moving, to avert exasperating gridlocks.

Tailpiece

Social media is teeming with quips on how those buying tomatoes at the current exorbitant prices are under watch for unaccounted wealth!

(Contributed by:RV Smith,Rakesh Kumar, Samir Pal and Asha Ramachandran)