(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
In a few days, as we finally say goodbye to angsty April and waddle into marshy May, we will be reminded why May is one of the most important months in the children’s calendar. While for most of them it is the beginning of the summer vacation - a lovely time which they make forced memories of happy times with their families by heading out to overcrowded vacation spots full of other families wanting to make forced memories - for some it is the month of nervousness and anticipation.
That’s because in May the board exam results are announced. For some students it’s a culmination of years of hard work. A moment in time, which if goes their way, would vindicate all the sacrifices they’ve had to make since they were nothing but a mere twinkle in their parent’s eyes. For others, it’s an indication that getting a decent result by pulling an all-nighter is a metaphor for the rest of your life. A life which you will spend ignoring that pesky voice in your head which fruitlessly keeps asking you to stop procrastinating. Now, since we once skimmed through a book in which a minor character was a child psychologist, we feel that we are qualified enough to offer our counsel to all our young friends out there to help them cope with the aftermath of such a game-changing life event. (We call them ‘friends’ because that makes it easier to speak to them in a condescending tone. You see, that’s how we old people talk. We also answer every question about our age by saying I am __ years young in a faux-inspirational voice. We even use the plural ‘we’ to refer to ourselves. Why do we do that, you ask? Simple! Because we’re a terrible person! As you kids say, Like duh.) Also, since we don’t know how to communicate with teenagers because the present lot of them seem to suffer from some sort of a mystery ailment that makes them talk and write without using any vowels, we’re hoping that one of our kind readers would translate this article into teenager-friendly things like a “facebook status update” or a “sext.”
Now, kids, the most important thing to remember is that your board exams do not define you. They do not decide the trajectory of your life. One of the objective of a well rounded education is to make you try a lot of things to find out what you really want to do in life. “LOL j/k.” Kidding! Your board exams results are the most important thing that will happen in your life. They are the only thing that will determine how successful you will be in the future. They are so important, that years from now when you’re old and haggard, and your half human/half-Pandorian grandchild asks you why you and the rest of your family are not allowed to enter the ‘gangnam galaxy,’ you will have to tell him that it happened because you weren’t successful enough and that this downward spiral started when you only scored a measly 95% in your board exams. His innocence shattered, he will look at you with disgust as you hang your head in shame and drown yourself in a puddle of sadness and humiliation.
The best course of action is to just follow the path your parents want you to walk on. This way, you don’t have to take any personal responsibility for your own actions and can spend the rest of your life being resentful towards them. Also, by pretending to be the sort of person who “obeys” his parents, you’re automatically set for the road to sainthood. In this country, the sort of children who cannot think for themselves and blindly do everything their elders tell them to are every parent’s dream accessory. Other parents will cite you as an example for their children to emulate. People will assume that you’re an honest and trustworthy person, for some reason. And once your parents decide that you’re old enough to make a lifelong commitment to a random stranger of their choice, your stock in the ‘arranged marriage’ market will be higher than Microsoft in the 1990’s.
If you get good grades then you’re in for a lifetime of success! All you have to do is continue the same routine you had before. Just spend all your time working. You can sleep when you’re dead! And keep fooling yourself into believing that this is only temporary and that you will finally be able to really start living once you reach your goal because you will keep shifting the goalposts. And then, in a blink of an eye, ten years will have passed and one lonely Saturday night when you’ve finished work early and have had too much to drink, you’ll let your mind travel to that dark place where you finally ask yourself whether it was worth it. But nothing will come out of it because even though you know the answer to that question, you’re too much of a coward to actually do something about it and on Monday morning everything will go back to normal.
Hope that helps!