“Here's an issue that's very close to my heart.
The class 12 results came out today. Millions of kids have been pressured by an educational system designed to test out memories more than our minds.
I got a 59% in my 12th and thought my life was over. I really did. Needed someone to tell me then that these results would never matter again in two months time. It's just an exam.
So parents I urge you to rally around your kids no matter how they did. That’s something they'll remember forever on a day when they face nothing but harsh judgement. Turns them into great people.
The one thing I have learned. There are millions, literally millions of people with great marks. Having 95% doesn't make you special. Thinking different, makes you special. That when you get that job, crack that interview, meet that special someone, have that idea. That's when you have a unique life. And you don't need a mark sheet for that life.
So the message to kids today is as follows:
Great minds and great personalities don't always have great mark sheets. All you need for a great life is the first two.
You're gonna be fine, because you're already pretty awesome.
Vir Das, June 6th.
“Padh le beta, bus dusvi tak! Zindagi ban jaegi”
Translation: “Study child, only till 10th. Your life will be set.”
“12th e toh asli padav h. Phir acha college. Phir toh kya h bus!”
Translation: “12th is the real test. Get through a good college. What will stop You next!”
I know, I know its a cliché. We’ve all heard, bore and sat through these lectures.
But every time I received one of these lectures (which was A.L.W.A.Y.S. after a result), I would explode with enthusiasm to put every second to use. The energy that would last only till the answer scripts would be signed and returned.
Yet, I studied. Dragged myself through the entire ordeal. Slogged. Nothing changed. Nothing earth moving would happen just because I had studied hard. It was my Dharma(Translation: Dharma), my Karma [Translation: You all know about that Dudette(Gender translation to dude)].
I’ll tell what was earth-shaking and earth shattering. My N.O.T. studying. I didn’t study.
10th I scored well. 11th. Nothing. I would be ill most times. I couldn’t understand a word of that organic compost! Only physics gravitated me to itself. But it alone couldn’t pull me through. Not studying stirred. Stirred attention, consideration, interest. I became a subject for everyone in school and nightmare to my parents.
I switched subjects soon. I knew I wasn’t cracking any competitives. And my overtly active neighbour announced I am doomed unless I crack IIT (except the fact that her kids never did).
What I learned:
· Failure is in fact the path to success (I stood 1st the next term.)
· An arrow to move forward must be pulled back (I captained my school house next year).
· Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Not on my own though, but I decided to not give up. I took a defeat and turned it into one of my most exhilarating experiences. It still escapes me how and where did I find the strength.
· And I received mankind’s one of the greatest presents: Friendship. It was then when I realised how many friends I had made through the years. They held my hand when needed. Perked me when I was low. And scolded me when I was losing hope. Not one had compassion for me. They only had friendship. Which I treasure to this day:
? I was sitting alone. Not coming out. Not talking. And I was having one of those days. And they were becoming regular. I knew the pain inside me was evident on my face. A friend had come down to me and said “You want us to feel bad for You? Really, is that that person you are becoming? Make us marvel at you. Like You always do.” And gave me her hand. I was in an all girl’s school and that’s the kind of friends I made. Am to this day scared of a society that cites pity as a virtue.
· I’ll tell you what I understood of Robert Frost’s “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Both teachers and mentors alike. I learnt how important it is to be treated normally. And what it is to be understood. And left for contemplation when not. I was taught to teach.
I learnt what it is to have a family stand by You and not question and only enthuse courage and will.
I learnt what it was to learn and not only gather knowledge.
The year that I didn’t study at all was the year I learnt the most from my school.