If my memory is right , it is March 2009. It’s midterms in KU. It’s the second year of the BS program of all departments in Karachi University. Some political elements have a thing against these midterms. 1 year into the program, and they have realized that BS program is not properly designed. A boycott campaign in being carried out in KU. There have been news about papers being snatched and torn up in the middle of an exam.
I am warily invigilating my paper. I hate this feeling of uncertainty. I wish these 50 minutes would pass quickly. Tick, tock, tick, tock…the clock is ticking, half hour into the paper, and it’s just 9 o’clock. 20 minutes more to go. I hear some distant chants. It seems like a protest. One, two…five, six, a number of different voices. The chants are nearing. I look at the students working intently. The clock has progressed to 9:05. The protesting students have come near. I can’t see them but their rants are loud. I am kind of scared. I take a quick decision.
“Class, hand back your papers, it’s 2 marks extra for the whole class” , I announce and start gathering the papers. The last student hands in the paper, when the protesters enter my class. They shout but have nothing to do. They leave as there is no paper going on to disrupt. I am shaking as I leave the class. I want to reach the safety of my car. I hear the head of the department call me. The departmental staff accompanies me to the chairperson’s office. I am asked to count the papers, I can’t. I just want to leave. I want my papers to stay intact. I am afraid for the answer scripts, not for myself.
I calm down by the time I reach the car. I start and drive out of the university, back to home. Another thrilling day at KU had come to an end.