How I beat the exam blues

How I beat the exam blues

Though I was a good student, my mother would scare the day lights off me during  examination time. I faced immense pressure from her.

I was a good student and was always in the top three ranks of my class but it wasn't because I wanted to be an excellent student. My mother drove me to it.  I remember once during my sixth or seventh standard, I came eighth in class rank-wise and all hell broke loose. This was when I played more sports, especially cricket.  

Maaz, my brother is two years younger to me. He played cricket  at the  state level and was a good player, while I was a competitive one.  We had an apartment complex next to our building and all the young boys would gather and play together.

I  was quite a  prankster despite my strict schedule.  In the first week of my 10th standard, I somehow got hold of the school's letterhead and wrote a memo with a fake sign, which said that my school timings had been extended to 4.30 pm, while the timings were  still 3.15 pm. I enjoyed doing whatever I wanted to do including playing cricket during this time, for a month. This was because the moment I reached home, I was expected to freshen up and study.

I was soon caught.  One day, I reached home and the atmosphere was like that of 'Inglourious Basterds'. My mother was quiet and Maaz wasn't saying anything. I freshened up, enjoyed my snack time and sat down to study when my mother  pulled the ruler out. She tells me, 'Your friend Karthik came to invite you to his birthday party. He was here by 3.40 pm and told me that school is done by 3.15 pm.'  I went blank. She struck the ruler and asked me, 'Where have you been all this while?'

The worst thing was that the school was  walking distance from my house. After this incident, my mother dropped in any  day she wished to, to check on me. She told my teachers about what I had done and they all doubted about what I was up to next. But, my  friends thought I was cool  and wished that they had come up with the idea.      

Veena Rao's tuition classes were a big thing during the 90s and I was enrolled in those classes too. I had to drag myself to classes at 6 am. My tuition teacher  was close to my mother and would be informed about how I was doing in all the tests. Life was quite a challenge then.  

It  didn't stop there. Cable TV was a big thing during the 90s. Whenever my parents would go out, my mother would take the cable wire with her so that I did not watch television during study time. I got another cable wire.  My brother and I would want to watch cricket and we would.

But I got caught again. Once, we were watching TV with our domestic help, when my mother walked in. My  mother decided that she wouldn't go outside the house until my 10th board exams were over.

I could never bring my head around just studying all the time. I was good at mugging up lessons. I had lost interest in the way education  was imbibed in us. It wasn't creative at all, it was functional. But things were easier for me when I went  ahead for my engineering course abroad.  

Now I sit back and see young teenagers preparing for their own examinations. I have something to say loud and clear to all of them. Your age is about rebellion and  not understanding the importance of being focused. Studies and examinations are not the end of the world but they are important during the formative years. This is why, Indians excel around the globe.

If my mother hadn't been what she was back then, I wouldn't be what I am now. To parents I say, hold a middle ground. Cut  the young ones some slack and let them be, once in a while.    

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