It was selection process for a batch of civil engineering students. They were taking a TAT test. For the uninitiated TAT stands for Thematic Apperception Test. TAT shows a single picture or a series of pictures. The candidates are asked to make up a story on the spot about the picture or the series of pictures. The mental frame of the candidates could be found out by the type of story that they recite or write down.
The civil engineering students were shown a picture that showed a huge mountain and a river meandering through the mountain. On the shore was a small village and they were fishermen shown fishing in the river.
The picture really excited the students. Armed with the gift of the gab and a colorful command of English learned over a period of 15 years they went to work. They wrote pages and pages of colorful stories of people watching beautiful sunsets. Some had written love stories and romantic river cruises. Some had weaved stories a la bollywood style including heroes, heroines and villains. Suitably satiated after a binge of exciting writing they handed over their papers. They were expecting to be selected for the next round.
To their utter dismay only one student was short listed. He was the student who had scribbled only one sentence and HE WAS SHORTLISTED. Curious the other candidates asked him as to what he wrote in the script. He said “I was very disappointed. I was not able to write anything. I was not getting anything in my mind. So out of frustration I wrote Blast the mountain and Dam the river”.
This student was very lucky instead of writing the swear word DAMN he wrote DAM. That saved him. After all blasting the mountain and daming the river is what is expected from the civil engineering students not a second rate cock an bull story lifted from a third rate bollywood movie!