Saturday, December 11, 2010

It is a race...and all run!

I was traveling in this metro train to the railway station to catch a train for trip sometime during early November this year, the trip didn’t happen because of the train delays that day, well...that is a different story.
I was so tired and had all the plans to take a quick 30 minute long nap while my metro train travel. I got to sit from the time I boarded the train and after I set up my luggage and all, I was all set for my nap. It felt really good when I closed my eyes for a while. Soon after 3 or 4 stations , about 10 minutes into the journey, I heard some words ‘IIT Rourkee’, ‘civil engineering’, ‘tuition’, ‘board exams’, ‘physics’, ‘p-block elements’, ‘periodic table’ etc. which interrupted my sleep. I saw in a little haze in front of me, two school-going boys standing and chatting all this. They were not very well dressed, but the uniform showed they were from a good school, one of the boys had a batch which read ‘School Captain’. And while I overheard their conversation, I came to know that he was a topper in the Chemistry subject. The world for them seemed to revolving around preparation for the engineering entrance exams and seemed to be ending on becoming an engineer. “Oh GOD! Not again”, I thought. But this is the reality, it was because it had been a while since I heard or saw such things around that I was shocked more.

I met this boy a few years back who was preparing for engineering, and this conversation reminded me of him too. I went to their place during Diwali time and this boy came from his IIT coaching weekly exam. I am very much fascinated with the subject called Mathematics and I love solving sums related to integration especially, there is something in it! So, I took his question paper and started seeing it and it seemed quite familiar and nice to me. I wanted to talk to this boy, and wanted to ask him about how he answered the questions and about his aspirations and so on, this boy was just not speaking, I saw a strange kind of a fear in his eyes which looked up from the floor just once during the 1 hour I sat in their home. Talking to his parents, it felt like their world is just the boy, and his engineering and absolutely nothing else. They had extreme dreams around him joining one of prestigious engineering colleges in India, and it felt like life would end if he didn’t get into one such college in one such course!!!

I thought of myself, ‘What are we doing to this boy! Does he really want to do all this? Is he capable of doing this? What if he doesn’t clear the entrance? I was afraid to even think of that option, and I prayed that he clears it somehow (seriously!). What if he clears the entrance but is not able to cope up with the actual course! Why is he pushed into this shell and refusing to come out of it now and see the world without the IIT or the engineering!”

I felt like asking him to just try giving up all this once, and ask him what he wants to do. The thing about becoming an engineer had been totally ingrained into him so much for probably many years now that he probably never got time to think of his own interests and what he actually wants to become! He doesn’t know himself! He is very much away from his own self . It feels like just because everybody is running, we run too. The entire education system seems to have become a routine machine, the course content is practically not possible to be covered in the time frame given, in any grade of our system. Many of us adults would fail in a proper conceptual test for basic concepts, I bet! I am forced to recollect movies like ‘3 idiots’ and ‘taare zameen par’ when I see such things.

I feel like saying to all, ‘please stop, stop, stop running the race, and pause for a while, and think, take time to talk to yourself, and recognize your own self.’ But to whom should I tell, to how many can I tell! The winners are not the ones who run the race of the masses, they are the others :-)

No comments: