11th October 2014: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

She glared at me from across the classroom, over the heads of the students calmly writing their papers (hiding the stress that bubbled just beneath the surface). Sweat glistened on my brow. It was ridiculous — I knew I hadn’t done anything, but there was something so accusatory in that glare that I felt guilty, like I had committed some unpardonable sin.

This is a scene from my examination hall today afternoon. For some inexplicable reason, the invigilator had taken into her head that I was copying answers off the paper of the girl sitting in front of me. I wasn’t. It was a 60 marks paper, with 4 questions of 15 marks. Completely subjective. I couldn’t copy, even if I wanted to – and I didn’t really need to. I knew the answers, was assured of them, and yet She was convinced that I was cheating.

Do you know how difficult it is to concentrate on writing when someone glares at you? She kept coming over, and every time – EVERY TIME – I looked up she was there, staring at me with narrowed eyes. I hadn’t done anything, but her gaze made me feel like I had. Every time she walked past my desk, I only had one thing in mind – don’t look guilty, act cool, act cool. And of course this meant I looked all the more guilty.

She looked at me like the lean, mean cop in the hard-core detective film looks at the suspect, who squirms under his gaze, and confesses to the crime. I never sympathized with the poor fellow till today, when I was placed under the same position.

Invigilator *with her eyes*: Cheat in my exam will you? I don’t think so! 

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Me: I didn’t do anything – stop glaring at me!! 

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I was afraid to look up, to even move an inch, just in case she came over again. I got a crick in my neck. I was more focused on acting nonchalant than on answering my paper!

I was relieved when the final bell rang, but the narrowed eyes of the invigilator as she collected the answer booklets told me I was by no way free from the burden of accusations – what can I say – Guilty Until Proven Innocent

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