Just when school students were getting ready to step out for their exams came the heaviest spell of rain on Monday.
Students going to write their ICSE and CBSE exams took the biggest blow of a rainy morning: waterlogged neighbourhoods, slow traffic, few cabs and problems many.
Several students were late.
An ICSE school in North 24-Parganas district started the exams about 15 minutes late.
The manager of the bank where the question papers were kept was stuck on the way to work and was late in reaching the bank, said a school official.
At least in one school, students reached just in time for the exams. In another school, they had to be given extra reading time.
The ICSE Class X exams started at 11am with a 10-minute reading time before that. The CBSE Class X exams started at 11.30am with a 20-minute reading time before that.
Teachers and heads of schools, especially in low-lying areas, were tensed about whether they would be able to start the exams on time. Outside some campuses, parents were seen helping students change into school shoes.
In some schools, students turned up in casual dress. They changed into their uniform before the exam.
“It rained consistently in the morning just when students would start for school for the paper. We saw some of them slightly wet… as they waited for public transport,” said Terence Ireland, principal of St James’ School.
Some parents said they could not get an app cab in the morning - the app showed “No cars available.”
“I tried two operators and then after 15 minutes I decided not to wait anymore because after all it's a board exam and we cannot take chances,” said a mother, P. Dutta.
The resident of Garia changed transport thrice to drop her daughter to school near Tollygunge.
“I had to protect her and in the process I got completely drenched,” she said.
Many parents were keeping an eye on the weather from the previous evening and had made preparations to start early.
“It was difficult to get an app cab because it was rainy and the timing coincided with the office rush,” a parent said.
At Julien Day School Kalyani, the authorities allowed students to appear for the exams in sandals because of the weather.
“Parents told us they had to wait for a long time arranging for transport and had to spend much more money than usual. Not everyone has a private vehicle. Some students, who live in low-lying areas, had a difficult time on Monday morning,” said Terence John, principal of Julien Day School Kalyani.
Some teachers also had to travel long distances to reach school or the examination centre on time.
“My driver did not turn up and three app cabs got cancelled. I wasted about 20 minutes there. I could understand the plight of students and teachers,” said Purnima Chatterjee, vice-principal of MP Birla Foundation Higher Secondary School.