Lady luck is mine. She always has been, and always will be. Our relation is unbreakable.
Turns out, even the most close knit of relations can and will have hiccups and betrayals along the way. And they can occur at the most inopportune of times. Like the time you need luck for doing well in the practical exam of a subject you absolutely loathe. Read on.
I’m studying computer science and engineering in Bangalore. I’m in the first year, and here we have a weird way of starting this professional course: Teach the students nothing related to their future profession. That’s right, a whole year of the 4 year course is used for teaching other subjects which are supposed to be important. But this post is not about that. Sorry for the digression.
It so happened that I was to have my practical exam of BASIC ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING on the 5th of this month. Until the 3rd, I was running around the college for obtaining my hall ticket which is the admit card for my final exams. I had to go to my village that night, and I was, on 4th, ready to finally start studying (after having to attend a family function, that is). I was to study 16 experiments, out of which one was to be performed and which would decide my marks for the entire semester.
(Note: Up until this practical, I had an excellent track record in all the practical exams I had taken.)
On the morning of 5th June, I left for the exam. Out of the 16 experiments, I was pretty confident about 14 of them, and the other two were about transformers:
1. Short circuit test to determine Copper losses;
2. Open circuit test to determine Iron losses;
I’m still baffled to this day by what they even mean. The logical part of my brain reasoned that the probability of me getting either of these experiments in the exam was 1/8 or 0.125 and with my relationship with lady luck, I’ll sail through this one easily.
With this comforting thought in my mind, I hopped onto my scooter and rode off to college. On the way, a particularly nasty speed breaker almost broke me into two when I was too distracted to notice it. I should have realised at that time itself that it was a sign of the impending, inevitable doom. Alas, I entered the lion’s den with no idea that I was to become the sacrificial lamb.
At the entrance to the lab, a thin man wearing the staff ID card asked for my hall ticket. Oops. I had left it at home.
But that hall ticket was supposed to get me entry only into the theory exam, and was not even required nor requested for for the lab exam, I shouted at him in my head.
The cocky man contrived to ask me how I could forget to get my hall ticket on my exam day.
Only, I thought in my brain, this wasn’t a theory exam you fool!
What resulted in the next few minutes was me not getting allowed into the lab. After requesting persistently, they finally allowed me in on the condition that I would get my hall ticket the following day, and my marks will be finalised and taken into account only then. I agreed.
I had my lab manual with me. I asked the teacher present where do I keep it. A perfectly reasonable question, don’t you think? Evidently , the teacher didn’t think so. Keep it on my head, she replied.
Wondering why the day had so far passed in such an unpleasant manner, I thought to myself, what could possibly go wrong now? I’ll just peacefully do my experiment and ace it.
By this time, all of the other students had picked their question chits. There were only two question papers left for me to choose from. And when I errantly picked up the one kept on the left and turned it around, “PERFORM THE SHORT CIRCUIT TEST ON THE TRANSFORMER AND DETERMINE THE COPPER LOSSES.” greeted me. Just great, don’t you think?
Hehe, not these cool transformers though.
When it came around to me doing the circuit connections, I was as clueless as Suresh Raina against a short ball. I utterly messed it up. The teacher didn’t even let me switch on the machine, fearing, possibly, that it might blast thanks to my connections.
She sent me along for my viva voce. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a series of oral questions that the professor asks you, related to the experiment you have performed. Here is how my viva went:
Teacher: (after squinting at my written procedure for a couple of minutes and failing to decipher my handwriting) What’s your experiment?
Me: ma’am, Short circuit.
Teacher: Okay, tell me what do you mean by short circuit.
Me: (quickly trying to think of something smart to say) ma’am, its when the secondary of the transformer is shorted.
Seriously did I just say that?
Teacher: okay, what are copper losses?
Me: ma’am, the losses which occur when the secondary of the transformer is shorted.
Seriously, what was wrong with me?
Teacher: where do the copper losses occur?
Me: ma’am, across the secondary..
Teacher: No, I mean where in the transformer.
I thought about what a transformer is. I remembered that it contains a core and windings. So, unwilling to take a chance,
Me: ma’am, in the core and the windings.
This was seriously stupid. I mean, I just answered the whole damn transformer!
Teacher: are you sure it occurs in the core too?
When the teacher asks you such a question, ALWAYS say no.
Me: no ma’am, no. Only in the windings.
Teacher: how do you estimate the copper loss?
Me: by means of Wattmeter reading.
For once, I had answered a question correctly. But of course, how could the teacher just let me be ?
Teacher(now looking at my drawn circuit diagram) : where’s the wattmeter in your circuit?
I pointed at the relevant portion in my drawing.
Teacher: what are these two windings called in the wattmeter ? Why are there two? What are their functions?
I mean, woah , give the kid a break lady!
Me: ma’am, there is a inductor in this winding , so this is inductive winding. There’s a resistor in that winding, so that’s the resistive winding.
At this point, the teachers sitting on either side of this particular teacher have abandoned the papers they were correcting and are staring at me like as if I came from Mars.
I thought I’d made enough of a joke of myself.
Me: I don’t know ma’am.
The teacher scribbled something on my paper and told me I could leave. And that I did gladly.
What a horrible day that had been.
Needless to say, I didn’t go back the next day to show my hall ticket.
Lady luck and I were done.
From now onwards it’s only hard work. 🙂