It was the year 2000. A reluctant engineer in the second year of college. It was her university exam and Nina was hoping to pass the exams hook or by crook! She was good at studies, just that she didn't really feel engineering was her cup of tea! She cursed the day she set foot into engineering. Ah! Tracing her thoughts back to the exam hall, her mind drifted back to that fateful day.
It was a Friday, and it was the IVth semester's Computer Organization & Architecture paper that she had that day. She had prepared enough to pass the examination, but she felt a little uncomfortable. She had been deliberating since quite some days. She found reasons to reason and justify her actions. The most common was - everyone does it. Why not me? Saying this to herself, she walked into the exam hall. In front of her, sat Sam - her inspiration. He cast a spell on her in ways he didn't know. She idolized him for reasons she kept to herself. She stalked his every move like a hawk. That is when the invigilator walked in and distributed the answer papers and a little while later, the question paper. Half an hour into the exam, Sam worked his magic. He pulled notes out of nowhere and started copying. Nina watched him. She was truly amazed by his art. And how he was never caught. Today was her day. She had decided. And a little while later, she pulled out her notes too. She was on top of the world. Proud at her feat, she just couldn't stop grinning. She had done what Sam had been doing all this while. And she wasn't caught. Yet.
Meanwhile, the invigilator smelled rat and out of nowhere, pulled up Sam and asked him to leave. Nina was shocked! Her idol, her role model was caught! Was caught copying! She was numb. Her instincts told her that she could be the next victim. Nah! She said to herself. I'm a girl! The sir would never suspect me! Sadly enough for Nina, the sir did suspect her. He asked her if she had any notes. She said none and made the most innocent face he had ever seen! The trick worked! He let her off. He thought to himself, how can an angel like her cheat? Nina was good at dramatics and that day she used all her skills to prove it! She heaved a sigh of relief! She was glad that the professor didn't catch her copying! She saved her dignity. She thought to herself. Well, not quite! Her classmates weren't so sure of her innocence though! They whispered, she was caught during the COA exam, wasn't she? Nina was embarrassed. Thoroughly. But with the shame, she learnt a lesson. She resolved to herself that she would never ever again cheat at exams. She would slog, burn the midnight oil, toil do whatever it takes. But copying - no never!
She kept her promise and two years later, she passed her degree with flying colours and soon enough was working with one of the topmost MNC's as a young executive. She was proud of where she was.
Today, however she was distraught. Nina, a young executive was nervously biting her nails. She was at the school where her daughter was studying. Her daughter Nancy was caught copying in the exam. That is what Nancy's teacher told Nina. Nina was sad. Like mother, like daughter? No! She said to herself. She was determined that she wouldn't let Nancy do the same mistake she did.
Her long wait ended when the principal's room opened and Nancy, a sobbing ten year old walked out. Nina took her little girl in arms and asked her, What happened sweetheart? Why are you crying? Nancy said, Mumma the teacher told the Principal that I was copying in the exam. I wasn't. Nina smiled. She knew she had to deal this with care. She said to her girl, I know you didn't. What happened? Can you tell me? Nancy wiped her tears and told her mom, Mumma, the guy who sits next to me Ronald; he asked me a question. I helped him. That's all. But the teacher thought I was copying from him. I promise I wasn't. I was just helping him. Just like you've told me to help others. Nina laughed. Nancy was confused. That is when Nina said to her, dear, what you did today was a cute thing. But, helping your neighbor pass the exam is wrong. It is cheating. Don't do that again. He should be studying for himself. You shouldn't be prompting answers to him. Give him the helps he needs for studies. But at exams - no! Alright?
Nancy understood what her mom meant to tell her. She smiled and said to her alright mommy! I won't do that again! Can I have an icecream?
The mother daughter smiled and walked to a store and gorged on icecream. While slurping the ice off the ice cream, Nina went back to her college days and she promised to herself that Nancy wouldn't make the mistakes she made and she wouldn't let any Sam or Ronald lead her little girl astray.