Friday, December 14, 2007

I've been Tagged!

I remember as children, we used to play the game of tag. Run around in circles, the 'den' trying to catch you, while you desperately try to outrun him. Then, he runs up to you, slaps you in the back and says "Tag, you're it!"...all too familiar. But I did not know tagging has aqquired a different meaning on the net. You actually 'tag' friendly bloggers. I've been tagged, first time by Miss Latha Vidyaranya mam, and as per the rules, I have to state 8 things about myself. Usually, I never pay heed to those "Send this message to five people in five minutes or else you will suffer eternal misery until your death-day" sort of taunting mails and comments, but tagging is friendlier, and fun too, so I have decided to be a sport and quickly jot down 8 things about myself. I know dear readers, I am merely boring you with this. I already talked about myself on my birthday! Ah well...this is for Miss Latha mam then.

8 things about me: (which you did not know)
1) I am a person who likes to see the world as a pretty, happy place to live in, ignoring the viler parts because I find uncomfortable truths hard to digest.
2) I hate anything which is artificial--like artificial fruits in your pretty bamboo basket, or even those plastic flowers you bought home for 15 rupees.
3) I love frosty, cold, or chilly weather, preferably if it is a stormy day with heavy rains. Getting drenched in the rain and swimming are somethings I enjoy.
4) My balcony is one of my most favorite places in the world. It's the place where I study, read, or even reflect on life (don't blink your eyes)
5) I like walking, when I have the mood for it. Walking home from tution in the morning can sometimes seem frustrating, but sometimes, it's really fun.
6) I LOVE to eat things spicy. I always like spicy food, no matter the weather. I even eat the apples and the pomogranites with chilli powder. I love granny's pickles. I hate the unhealthy sweets and never eat too much.
7) I like meeting up with friends and cousins. I have this knack of mingling better with people who are younger than me when compared to my peers.
8) Ah favorite holiday spots happen to be visits to national parks, and not malls. I feel claustrophobic when I'm in a crowd, not at all comfortable. I hate public gatherings and avoid them.
So there you go...8 things about me. So I have kept a promise and been a sport then. I have to tag a person, now, I guess...isn;t that how it works? OK, then, I tag my friend Deepti then! 'Deepti,'re it!"
And the rest of you, sigh in relief and wait for my upcoming blog next Sunday.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Overlooked Problem

When we hired the ‘van man’ to drop me home every evening from school, I never imagined that the situation would present some delicate complications. The ‘van man’ picked up kids from all kinds of schools—and, waiting period for this gentlemen, Mr. Someshekar being long, the footpath would be crowded with all sorts of stranded looking children. It was a mass confluence which presented diversity in the sorts of kids you would come across, which itself was the problem. You see, all of us would inevitably interact, and, by then, we were old enough to have mastered the crude ability to judge the other person and analyze situations.
It would have been well if we were from the same school, or from the same syllabus. But you see, we were ICSE and they were state-board…which made all the difference.

Ah…so you have understood. Or maybe you haven’t? Let me explain. We were taught from the beginning that the syllabus we were studying was highest in the country. That felt like Cinderella going to the ball. Although the teacher intended it to be a bitter truth that was to shock the young minds, we took it all optimistically. “Of course, we will be brainier”. This awareness, or perhaps, the illusions, lead to misinterpretations. We were over-confident, held our heads high, and never considered falling to the level of the ‘staties’ (the nickname). We believed that our syllabus was tougher, and hence we were obviously brainier than the state-board students.
We were unfriendly, and scorned at those people. We refused to accept State-board students to be equal, intelligent and talented.

I remember when a state-board girl had once said, “There is too many mud in my shoes, ya!”, my friend had sniggered and whispered, “All these state board people don’t know how to talk.” Generally, the ICSE and the CBSE students were recognized to be hostile and indifferent at school gatherings—we never mingled and had those strange attitude problems which are difficult to explain. Of course, I never considered myself being anywhere above the state board students, seeing we shared similar perspectives. More than that, I did not believe it was my authority to judge a person on marks, but sadly, most ICSE students still refuse to think like this. It feels good to consider yourself superior, and they cling to the illusion. They do not like to be associated with the state-board students, in fact, they stay away from each other even, forming different unfriendly groups.
When a state-board student, who had secured 94% in state-board tenth examinations got 96% in first PU, one girl had remarked with evident surprise, “But how is that possible? Only a CBSE student is supposed to get marks like that!”Even in the first trigonometry class in college, every ICSE student was ready to blurt out answers even before the teacher said anything, simply trying to announce that they already were aware of the syllabus. The first thing the teacher said upon entering the class is “I want every ICSE and CBSE student to shut up, and listen only!”

This behavior of the ICSE and CBSE students becomes noticeable when you come to college. Once again, this is the place where students from all syllabi come together to form a class. People hunt out for ‘CBSE’ friends only. You’re godly if you’re from the central or the Indian board, or else, you’re inferior. It’s a negative impact on the minds of the state-board students who are already warned that the PU syllabus is too difficult for them to handle. I think, this is one of the overlooked issues of academic life—teachers don’t talk about this issue often. I agree, and I’ve written this in my previous post too, the state board curriculum needs improvement, but it does not mean other students have the right to discriminate. Haven’t we all been taught in school that everyone is equal, no matter anything? As a student, I think it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of what school or syllabus you come from. State-board students are ignored, discriminated, and forced to feel inferior. The major problem arising in children is still this horrible complex. It continues even today. Only something like a miracle can change the way we think. Childhood is no longer supported by the reigns of innocence, instead, in the fiercely competitive world, children are adapting to learn to discriminate in terms of marks, and I think, the horses are heading the wrong way, destructing the nature of the purer heads, and finally, we end up not understanding what true equality feels like with our unbalanced and biased minds.