Being in the tenth or twelfth standard was considered to be the pinnacle in one’s student life. Everyone one in the rat race to become an engineer, doctor or any other profession requiring high ‘percentage’ for enrollment would work their butt off . When I look back at those days, I wonder if it was worth it.
Do you guys remember how you were told over a million times this is your board exam…study, Study, Study, STUdy, STUDY! Gosh I used to hate the word study for that entire year. Even if you want to take a break in life i.e. read a book, watch TV or go out for a walk/stroll people wouldn’t leave you alone. If you are at home/school reading a story book (Nancy Drew which I used often love reading at that time) the so called scholar students would come to me and say ‘Don’t you have any shame the prelims are on the horizon and you are shamelessly reading a story book. I was this close to tell them ‘Agh!! I know what to do miss studious, go get a life! But being good friends, I preferred to go on the IGNORE mode and get back to my reading…today when I think of it, I tell myself that despite not going through that grind, I did pretty well for myself!
I know of brilliant girls and guys who have spent sleepless nights learning trigonometry, wondering how the hell can I get a correct reading if there was a zero error, what could be the possible chemical reaction if I add H2So4 (sulphuric acid for those who don’t know) in an chemical equation probably helping their parents in their apparel business, bankers, artists…to name some. Time and again I have this lingering thought that was that a perpetual waste of time? At an age when children need to identify their interests and nurture them, you are making them go through the grind of studying some outdated/not required mumbo jumbo which they may never ever use in their lives. I mean think about it, in your adult life how many times have you used sine theta? How many times have you called water H2O? Does it matter to know how many layers of skin does the frog have (leave the poor child alone for god’s sake!)
But I must day that as the board exams would come closer, there would be a terrible eerie feeling. I would feel horrible in my tummy. Every Algebra & geometry problem would look like an alien to me. Whenever I would look at it, it seemed like I am seeing it for the first time in my life. Despite having learnt the chemical equation, Sodium would seem like Sa and not Na, gosh those funny jitters! I would tell myself gosh what if I fail? It would be such a shame. What if I get low marks? Will I get an admission in my desired college? In my case though I think my Dad was my source of energy. He would always say, ‘Give it your best shot’ ‘Don’t give up without a fight’ What would be the worst case scenario, you could fail….but remember after every March, there is an October and believe me when you know there is a second chance, you would never want to take one….maybe that’s what despite all my leisurely activities like playing basket ball, reading all the Nancy Drew’s, Hardy Boys & Linda Craig’s, I managed to score a distinction.
One thing I would specially like to mention is the feeling of black out! Guess when? When you have received the exam paper, everyone around you seems to know what to do, some of them jump at the question paper, start drawing the so called margins already & the moment they have the question papers, start writing the answers, you seriously feel that something is wrong with you. Also not the forget the regions symbols like ‘shree’ ‘om shree ganesha’ ‘lord be with you’’help me Jesus’. ‘ya ali maddat’……hahaha…..seems so childish today. It’s like you are hoping that god will come to your rescue and change the answers to the right ones.
Then the aftermath, the results,…aghh! More than you or your family it’s the entire world who wants to know how much you scored in your boards. Funny are those parents who are on seventh heaven when their child scored one percent more than their neighbor’s child. Today when I look back, all those who were in the rat race head down have done well in their lives if not reached great heights, but those who have lived life on their terms & have focused on their skills & not percentages have really excelled. That is why I keep asking myself again and again…is going through the board exam grind or making your kids go through it is worth it?