Nov 23, 2005

Is there an end to it?

"Ma, I'm leaving for coaching class", says the 13 year old Aravind. "Drink a glass of milk and leave. You had just come home from school", replies the mother. "No time, ma", he says taking his cycle and rushing towards his class. Such incidents have become a common sight these days.

Open the newspaper, you see advertisements of different coaching institutes coxing to grind the brains of these young students with IIT-JEE, SAT and PMT entrance coaching classes. There was another unique ad that I happened to see recently. A small kid holding a thick management book with spectacles over his tiny eyes and the caption reads "Start early". Many students in 9th and 10th std are attending IIT-JEE classes apart from their regular classes at school. They are being forced by parents, relatives and neighbours to multitask all these classes and churn their little brains with almost every single concept of Physics and Chemistry. I say relatives and neighbours here because most of the parents get influenced by these peers who put their kids to these extra classes and this inturn makes them feel insecure about "their" kid's career. "Oh, maybe he should also join these classes from now on, Only then he would be well prepared four years from now", says Aravind's dad, as though IIT is the end of the world for all these 9th std studying students.

A child would get to understand his interest only in these growing-up years. But they don't have a choice. They are too small to take their own decisions. Naturally, it gets grilled onto their minds that IIT is their ambition. Why don't we think of any option other than medicine and engineering during the deciding days after 10th std? If a student is inclined towards these fields, then it is perfectly fine. But if he/she is forced to join, worse effects are bound to happen in the future.

What has happened to our Aravind? After a few years...........

Aravind has indeed got a seat in IIT after 4 years of strenuous hard work and dedication. His childhood is gone now. Enters teenage, he finds himself in one of the most prestigious, at the same time a tough course. The hard work and struggle continues for another 4 years. GPAs, ranks and semesters torture him. Praying to God that these 4 years should pass quickly, he spends his days. Now in 3rd year, his uncle asks him to prepare for GRE and take up his higher studies in US while his distant cousin says that MBA is the best option and that he should start preparing for CAT. Pulled from both ends, he finds himself confused in choosing one of the two paths. His dad says in a cool manner "Why don't you prepare for both these exams? You can try both these options and go ahead with whatever you get selected for". Aravind stares at his dad, thinking "Tu baap yaa villain? Am I a man or a machine?". But he is left with no choice since it is instilled in his mind that he is still not mature enough to take his own decisions. Slogging with his engineering exams, he prepares half heartedly for GRE and CAT. Exams came and went. But his marks were not upto the mark. Dad shouts "I knew you were going to flunk. With so little preparation, how were you able to go and watch movies?". "Dad, It's been a year since I watched a movie. Since my friends insisted, I went last week", Aravind replied softly. "I'm putting you in an intensive coaching class for GRE. The classes start from tomorrow. Better prepare well this time. You need to join your MS next year at any cost. Look at Santhanam, your cousin. He is doing his PhD there. He got through GRE in his very first attempt. And her sister, Usha, she is going to join MBA this year. Get some inspiration from them", his dad spoke angrily.

"Ma, I'm leaving for coaching class", says the 21 year old Aravind. "Drink a glass of milk and leave", replies the mother. "No time, ma", he says taking his bike and rushing towards his class. And the saga continues.........

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