One Hundred This Side and One Hundred That
I had a chance to accompany my sons(they're the twins!) up to their exam venue today. They were happy to have me as their chaperon and I could sense the special reason that made them so happy: their mom would not accompany them to remind every third minute if they had kept their pens ready, admission cards in place; if they remembered the dos and don’ts for a candidate in the exam hall; if they remembered that they would have to check their answers thoroughly…
The candidates that assembled before the gates waiting for the bell to ring and gates to open were exceptionally jovial, bereft of an iota of on-the-eve-of-exam-tension. I was reminded of my days in the high school. Oh, it was such a horrible phase and exams were dreaded like a ghost or an impending calamity. I know now the courses of studies have been made far tougher than they used to be in our times. I also know everybody these days expects a score in the range of ninety plus and parents are real stickler of discipline.
But despite everything the students are so fearless before their exam! Remarkable, really it is so.
There I found their teachers busy, going from one group to the other with words of encouragement, and I understood to some extent what held their students upbeat. These days teachers not only teach their students; they also know how to give appropriate psychological strokes to their students before they are to enter the labyrinth of questions—long questions, short questions, bit questions, tricky questions, scoring ones, trivial ones….
‘So, Ajay, you’re scoring 98, aren’t you?’
‘Yes, ma’am, by all means.’
‘What about you, Sunidhi—are you making me happy, as usual? You know I’ll beat the examiner to pulp, if he/she gives you anything less than 99, you know.’
Sunidhi blushed—for the statement of her teacher was quite correct in the face of her previous class scores—but her friend was there to pick up his cue. ‘No doubt about this, ma’am, you can do so, easily.’
The teacher, in a hurry to meet as many groups as possible before the bell rang and her students streamed into their exam halls leaving her outside, missed the joke. She was a little on the weightier side and there could be no doubt in her students’ mind that she could beat any unfair evaluator to pulp.
So much for the mental toughness of the children of these days. I could find something else really alarming: an overwhelming percentage of students—boys and girls alike—are carrying weight about them, rather overweight. Fortunately my sons are not one among them.
Observing them a little close, I had a few questions in my mind. Do they really eat so much? We as children used to eat much but we were not so pudgy. Have they, then, shunned playing? Do the teachers keep mum watching their students start bulging out of their desks? What do their moms feed them? Only ice creams and pizzas? Pints of Coke and packs of fried chicken?
Finally, will a boy of 100 kg be happy if he scores 100 in maths?
A. N. Nanda