The kunji was slim, and so to hide it on one’s person and carry it to the examination hall was not a big challenge. But there were some intrepid fellows who took on mightier mountains. I remember a fellow who smuggled the state-prescribed physics book into the exam hall. And that was a real tome, some five hundred pages or so. If I remember right, it was authored by Harnam Singh, perhaps co-authored, for it was fondly referred to as ‘four authors’. Now, the invigilator who happened to walk the aisle that day had the habit of bending his head suddenly, and our young intrepid student thought he had been caught and he blurted a sudden ‘sorry!’. The invigilator woke up to the unsolicited confession, and dived to find out the sin. And there it was, in the drawer of the desk. The huge tome itself! Even he was shocked!
‘Copying’ was a fine art those days, a parallel education passed on by tribal elders. Bit papers with finely calligraphed subject matter were exam-keys for many a student. There was even a name for this ‘bit-paper-meant-for-copying’. It was called a ‘Furraa’, and I dont know if that word is found in the Hindi dictionary. Furraas were kept in geometry boxes, socks, shoes etc. There were some tribal elders who knew the art of attaching these to a rubber band tied to the shoulder, so that it could be released from the palm, and shot back into the sleeve, when danger was spotted. Oh the slings of David!
And it wasnt just the boys who used ‘furraas’. I remember this girl who was caught with a ‘furraa’. And she fainted when she was caught. ‘A’, she was a girl, and ‘B’, she had fainted. And so she was let off on ‘compassionate’ grounds. Well that would have been fine, except that she brought in a furraa the next exam the following day, was caught again, and she fainted again!
Lets now come to the term ‘ee adichaan copy’.
I asked a few people about the etymology of this colorful phrase, and heres what I heard.
Exams were on. Student ‘A’ telescoped his vision to look at the answer sheet of student ‘B’ sitting in the seat ahead of him. Now, there was a house-fly sitting on the answer sheet of student ‘B’. Student ‘A’, who was very exact in his copying, thought that the fly was a part of the answer, and so caught a fly and pasted it in his answer sheet too. A fly is called ‘Eee’ in Tamil. And ‘Ee adichaan copy’ means, he copied the ‘fly’ as well!
Which brings to mind the famous Hindi proverb – ‘Nakal mein bhee akal honee chahiye’ – “Even to copy, you need some intelligence’…