Yesterday, I received a call from one of my relatives. He wanted to get his child enrolled in my alma mater and hence was curious about the inside story. While it reminded me of my school days, when my parents were doing all this research bit, what was actually disheartening was that my relative, let’s call him X (name changed for anonymity. I need anonymity more than he does. I can only hope that he doesn’t read this. So be kind, and don’t share this post :P), wasn’t happy with his ward’s result. Not because, he expected/deserved more, but because his colleague’s son Rahul did qualify for IIT while his son didn’t. Story doesn’t end here. He had a logic to justify it when I told him that he simply can’t compare his child with others. They are all different.
He said-“They played together, they went to the same school, they went to the same coaching centre. Yet, Rahul is in the merit list and my son has gone for a toss “.
I wanted to tell “Maybe, his father is not as dumbass as you are!!”.
As the discussion continued, he inquired about which trade would be best for his child. When I asked him about his child’s inclination, this is what he had to say-
“Kuch bhi padh lena, jahan jyada package hoga wahi branch lega. ( Whichsoever branch has higher package, better placement, he will opt for it )”.
I tried to convince him that his approach was not the best but he was adamant. I really felt sorry for the child and disconnected the phone citing an office party.
Today as I came to office, one of the ‘new guy‘ in my office was talking to some IIT aspirant. From their conversation, I could figure out that he was talking to his daughter back home. I have tried to reproduce his conversation.As this was a telephonic conversation I can only guess the other side of the story.
New Guy– Hello, Did you read today’s newspaper?They have come up with the interview of the toppers.
New Guy-You must have read Dainik Jagaran, Navbharat has an entire page of interview.
New Guy-This guy K, he used to read 12 -14 hours a day. He started his preparation right from std IX. You must have started after X?
[Perhaps the girl on the other side answered in affirmation]
New Guy-you should have started early. And you had a test at coaching? How did you perform?
[She probably said that she secured 4th rank or so]
New Guy– WHAT!! Again you are not in top 3. You should study 12-14 hours. This guy K used to watch TV just for an hour and then go back to study. He read for 3 hours in stretch, because he knew that JEE exams are conducted in 3 hr slot.
New Guy-They have even published the list of books that he read, should I tell you?
[Girl must have answered in affirmation, knowing that he would blabber the list anyway]
New Guy-“S L Loney for trigo,Hall and Knight for algebra, Finny for calculus.”
[He continued with the similar list for chemisty and physics]
At this point he realized that there must have been information overload and decided to revise. He narrated this entire story again focusing that K read for 12-14 hours a day. He studied even on his holidays. He solved 5 sample papers everyday.
[Out of the blue he realized that his daughter was not an IIT material.]
New Guy: Getting into IIT is tough for you. You didn’t start early, you don’t read 12 hrs. Get into any B Tech college. But prepare for IAS from day 1. Read 14 hours a day, start early and you would be back into league of toppers. IAS are considered to be toppers.
Very much like an Ekta Kapoor soap opera, he would repeat the same things every now and then. Now that I was not getting anything ‘interesting’ and had enough of crap, I decided to move out.
These two events had me thinking. Only last weekend, Bangalore page of The Hindu reported that last weekend witnessed abnormally high number of suicides, most of them students. Is there any link? This is a season of exam results, be it IIT, IAS, GATE, CAT. Suicides are high during exams and results. But is it the stress of exam or these insensitive parents? This ‘New Guy’ is working in an average IT company. Safe to assume that he never went to IIT (or he screwed it terribly thereafter). The story remains same for my relative Mr X. Even if they ever qualified for IIT, that doesn’t give them the right to cramp their children for space.
We decide what our children grow to become. We decide which college he joins, trade he opts for, sports he plays(given that he is allowed to), movies he watches and finally the partner he marries!! I am not gainsaying that these are crucial life events and parents should have a say in it. But we go overboard and leave our child with no choice at all. He ends up living upto your unfulfilled dreams. you wanted to go to IIT but couldn’t and now you see your child as a medium to fulfill this dream. Maybe your child wants to be a singer, but he will have to wait for his ward to fulfill his dreams. Break these shackles, live your dream and let your child live his. If your child comes back to you at old age and says
“Dad, you ruined my life!”
You should have audacity to stare back at him and say
“You made all the calls; it’s you who did what you did to your life.”
And trust me, if you give your child the freedom to live his dreams, he will always thank you, if not now, few springs down the line. Today, I thank my parents for letting me live my dreams. [I know they would read this eventually, so let me gain some brownie points]
Its NOW or NEVER!!