Dr Kedar Padte
The scene was the Biology Laboratory and the event was Biology Final Exam. The emotions were mixed. The chief examiner was outraged and was yelling “Fail”. The co-examiner professor Talkerato was at peace and trying to be the mediator.
Timidita, the student, was scarred out of her skin over possibly failing an exam for the first time in her life.
She had reached the examination hall 10 minutes late. Professor Talkerato was the internal examiner and also knew she was a brilliant student, so he let her enter the exam hall.
“Why are you late?” he questioned. Timidita said: “Sir, I am so sorry, but my fried R T Rina was not feeling well. I had to drop her outside for some fresh air. She was feeling claustrophobic.”
Professor Talkerato said okay and asked her to get on with the biology exam.
The exam consisted of identification of various species and short notes on the same. The other section was slides that were pre-loaded and had to be identified and questioned.
There was a long question on the system of a given animal like the frog, earthworm or cockroach. At the short question table many questions could be asked in a rapid fire event. Since the last and the main practical exam was the dissection one had to anesthetise the animal one chose to dissect.
Timidita had chosen the frog. However, when the examiners arrived at her table to see the dissection there was no frog on the table. The chief examiner, who had already formed an opinion in his mind that Timidita should be ranked first, was nonplussed.
“Where is the frog? What about the dissection?” yelled the examiner.
Professor Talkerato as aghast and whispered: “Without the dissection marks you can fail.”
“I went to pick my frog and was about to put it in the chloroform chamber when he looked up at me almost pleadingly. I was touched. What were his thoughts? He was about to die. He seemed to ask me as to how my marks would increase by killing him. I thought to myself – that this is how we learn dissection to ultimately learn the various circulatory system etc. in order to become doctors or surgeons,” said Timidita.
“The Of the 600 children doing dissection today in their premedical practical how many will get into medical school? Maybe, 60? And out of them how many will become surgeons? Maybe two or three students. So why are 600 frogs dying to let just two students get into MS General Surgery.
And instead of 600 frogs, why don’t you give two or three humans some formalin and dissect them?” asked the frog.
Timidita was in tears. “Sir, it’s okay for me to fail the exam, rather than have the frogs die. Can stop put an end to this sort of practical?
The chief examiner was touched. He said: “This teenager has taught me more biology than I have learnt in my PhD.”
The feeling of compassion was getting really abstract in the minds of today’s youth. However, this child has shown that it’s not true. Compassion does prevail.
“On the basis of her performance so far I will still rank her first in the class. I will also recommend the curtailing of animal dissection to the university, unless mandatory at some stage.”
Professor Talkerato was over the moon.
“Congratulations,” he blurted. “By the way who is this new friend of yours, RT Rina? I have never seen her so far?”
Timidita giggled and said: “Sir, RT Rina is short form for Rana Tigrina, the speciesof the frog I let out in the fields.”
(The columnist is a well-known gynaecologist practising in Panaji. Send in your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org)