You Be The Detective
The Lying Student
Writer: Aparna Sundaresan
Illustrator: Savio Mascarenhas

Ms. Parita Parrot was angry. One of her students had cheated at her geography test and she was intent on finding out who. Her class had just finished the chapter on Australia and Ms. Parrot had given them all a test to find out how well they had understood the chapter. But two students had turned in near identical papers. Who had copied from whom?

There was a knock on the door. Ms. Parrot let Roshni Rhino into her office.

“You’ve done quite well in your geography test, Roshni,” said Ms. Parrot.

“Thank you, Miss,” said Roshni.“To be honest, I didn’t study much, but I did take down lots of notes during your classes. I remembered most of them, so that helped me.”

“I see. Do you remember Australia’s longest river? I mentioned it in class but didn’t ask in the test.”

“Yes, River Murray.”

“What about the population of the city of Perth?”

“Er… sorry, I don’t remember that. I don’t have a good memory for numbers.”

“What can you tell me about Mount Kosciuszko?”

“It’s Australia’s tallest mountain, located in New South Wales. It’s 2000-something metres tall… I don’t remember the exact height.” Roshni looked a tad embarrassed. “It’s a good thing these questions weren’t in the test, Miss, or I would have failed.”

Ms. Parrot made some notes in her notebook and dismissed Roshni. A few minutes later, Bipin Buffalo walked into her office.

“Ah, come in, Bipin,” said Ms. Parrot.“I was quite impressed with your test paper.”

“Thank you, Miss,” Bipin beamed. “I enjoyed your teaching so much that I looked up Australia on the internet and read up everything I could get my hands on. I spent a lot of time researching and reading.”

“Indeed? Anything you studied for the test that really stood out for you?”

“Australia has a national day, known as Australia Day, and it’s on 26 January! The same day as our Republic Day!”

“Ah yes, you got that answer correct in the test.”

“Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of the UK, is also the queen of Australia. But the Prime Minister is the leader of the government, whose headquarters are in Sydney, the capital.”

“Hmm… I did ask about the Queen in the test too, but not about the government.”

“The native or indigenous people of Australia are called Aboriginal people. The word aboriginal comes from the Latin aborigines which means original inhabitants.”

“That is almost word for word from your test, Bipin. Anyway, it’s time for my next class. Thanks for coming in.”

After Bipin left, Ms. Parita Parrot smiled to herself. Now she knew which of the two students had copied during the test.

Who was it and how did Ms. Parita Parrot find out?

It was Bipin Buffalo. If he had indeed studied so hard, he would have known that the capital of Australia is Canberra, not Sydney. He copied from Roshni Rhino’s paper.

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