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Posted at: Apr 16, 2018, 12:49 AM; last updated: Apr 16, 2018, 12:49 AM (IST)

Lessons learnt by fluke

Lessons learnt by fluke

DC Sharma

SEEING politicians using gimmicks and jumlas today, I get nostalgic. During my youth, only a few people would make use of tukka, tikdam and ghugi. Tukka or guesswork may work, or may land you in trouble. Tikdam is a cunning scheme which some people use to grind their own axe. And ghugi is simply putting your initials instead of taking the trouble of putting your full signatures. I have had a bitter experience with all three.

I was in BA-I, when my teacher of economics, a learned professor, naively told us how to get good marks. ‘Answers on Indian economy, particularly about why farming is backward, could bring good marks when you pack in more points....’ ‘But, Sir, if I forget to put more points, is there some other remedy?’ I humbly enquired. ‘Yes, you may easily make use of tukka! While writing points up to 15, you may miss a point here and there — writing up to five and then eight, nine, and then 11, 12… Examiners generally take evaluation work like the harvesting of a crop. They rarely go through all points. They only note the number of points and award marks.’ When the results were declared, I was expecting 80 per cent, but could barely reach 60. The use of tuka had dealt me a hard blow.

After completing MA in English, I tried to make use of tikdam. The job of a lecturer in English was vacant at a college in a border town of Punjab. A friend took me to a politician who promised to help me, provided I taught his daughter grammar. I took a room on rent there, and started coaching her. Thank God, the girl who basically knew nothing was brought on track. I was hopeful the tikdam would click in my favour. As per the interview date, I approached the politician, who at once lifted his phone, and rang up: “Hello, principal… he must be put on probation... mind it....’ And he put the receiver with a thud. 

Elated, I tried to impress upon the principal just before the interview was to start: ‘Sir, I am the one about whom you had received the telephone call this morning!’ ‘What? I have just returned from Delhi and you talk of a call in the morning!’ he rebuffed me. 

I had heard a lot about the lure of ghugi. When I brought the subject of Communicative English for the first time in Himachal from the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, in 1995, I had to work more hard as students had to be prepared for practical exams in English too. Being awfully busy, I had little time to even sign their practical notebooks. Finding it convenient, I had started applying the rule of ghugi, simply putting my initials instead of my full signatures. While conducting the exams, I observed that a student had himself put my initials in his notebook. Though the initials seemed exactly like mine, he had erred to note that I would only use a fountain pen. 

That day onward, forget about tukka or tikdam, I never even used ghugi; thanks to the lessons I learnt at a price!

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