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A Powerless Observer


IIT (Indian Institute of technology, it’s like MIT and Harvard university here in India) exam is still 2 or 3 months away, but I can feel the pressure. Not like I’m the one appearing in the exam, I’m in final year of (Bachelor of Technology), doing internship and have a confirmed job. It’s someone else, my cousin. Today is Sunday, 11 am, still in bed, heard my parents talking about my cousin. His parent said he lies a lot. He just talks big. He is in the bottom five of his preliminary final school examination. Well. Your kid can’t perform until you teach him in the initial phases of school.

They say he lies a lot, what else can he do. So much pressure from everyone of performing well. With parents scolding him, expecting him to do well in his exams. Saying,” You don’t have to top the exam, or even do good, but at least show us the zeal. Study like you really want to perform well in exam. Result is not in our hands but preparation is. What other responsibilities do you have in your life. All you have to do is study”. Indirectly stating they want results. And when result is not good, the same cycle repeats. “You are not serious. Students who want to do something have that different aura, they have that zeal, the passion to do something, And YOU DON’. At least show us some will.”

IS it that easy to make something you don’t like, your passion? Does passion develop from others telling you about it? Can you grow it inside you when someone asks u to be passionate about something? Seriously??Giving example of other kids doing good, showing newspaper articles about toppers, saying they studied for 10 hours a day, they sacrificed their social life, internet for a year. If THEY can do it, why can’t you?

Because I’m not them.

They sacrificed and studied because they liked what they were doing. Everyone cannot be like everyone else. What happened to “Every child is special and have their own capability” stuff.

So, what is my cousin’s special capability? I don’t know. I don’t think he does. He used to play Chess and learn Taekwondo in school but stopped it. I think they were more of a hobby.

So, what should he do? tell his parents that he is not into studying and does not know what he is into.

What should I do? I only know one guy who did not went through this IIT stuff after 12th (Final school exams) (He is my friend). He was into Animation, so he learnt animation courses and went to Bangalore. It took him sometime to find the job he likes but he has it now. He has made animated shorts for some Punjabi songs, met Jazzy B, has an ALIENWARE 17X, maybe worked on some animated movie.

But I can’t just slap this one example and say, “stop pressuring others for IIT. They are going to ask, what else is he going to study if not engineering. Answer is, I don’t know. I was into science so I never explored any other options. I don’t know about them, but it does not mean there are no other options.

That’s the problem with most people in India.
In other countries, parents tell their children, “agar Engineering nai ho rhi toh kuch aur kar le. (if you are unable to study and become an Engineer, work on something else [ do what you like].”
In India,” Kuch aur nai ho rha toh Engineering kar le (If you are unable to work towards anything else, then become an Engineer)”

It’s like a default thing to do after 12th. Give IIT and other exams.
When on earth so many students got into science?!!

Maybe it’s the only clear cut option they see.
Imagine his situation, you don’t go to school, only coaching(tuition) classes, you are studying something you are not fond of. Parents keep indirectly or directly pressuring you to do good in that certain something you are not fond of telling you your whole life depends on it. Most of the time your family goes out to meet relatives, conversations are based upon you, with parents saying,” We are keeping him in the city, we did his dummy admission (don’t have to go to school, only external tuition), we are sending him to the best coaching classes, he does not have any other responsibility. We are doing everything we can. The rest is up to him, but he does not realize it’s importance.” And then they will give a few stats supporting it. And then everyone will start telling you to study hard and shit.

And then you don’t perform well in the regular exams of your coaching classes. Your parents ask you why? What will you answer?
Do you have a logical answer to that. Will you say it was a bad day? Or maybe you don’t understand the topic, to
which the answer will be to ask your teacher, we paid him for that. It’s easy to tell this when you are not yourself a student.
To that to you will say there are a lot of topics which you don’t understand.
And if you are a student, only then you can understand why you don’t clarify every doubt you have.

Parents think it’s easy to study, like they have provided you with every facility, and you just have to study. How hard can it be? Read the books, solve the questions.
If it is so easy then why is it so that not everyone is able to get the same score, why are they not studying on their own. (No disrespect here)

Doing something so boring that it makes you go to sleep for over 5 hours a day when you can go to watch movie, or may be complete a TV series. Hang out with friends. Watch a game of cricket or football. But no. You have to do this every single day. Study that is.
You can’t give in to those temptations. Going to coaching classes which only makes you feel like your efforts are not working. Everyone else is better than you. And then people around you nagging you that you are not serious enough. You need to put in more efforts. Your life depends on it. Do well in exams now and rest of the life will be easy.
I’m damn serious about it. I study even if I don’t like the subject. Go to coaching classes. Don’t watch TV. What the hell can I do when my brain does not find the subject interesting enough to keep me awake or motivated or in a good mood.

Insulting him before everybody, using me as an example (I did decent enough after school), it hurts. If it works out, everything will be forgotten and all this scolding will be for good, but what if it does not.
When I see his parents scolding him before everyone else and giving me as an example to be like, it feels like they are scolding me… and I’m the one responsible for him being insulted. I have been in these situations but they were not that intense. My parents are easy going. Dad stays out of town most of time due to work and mom didn’t used to know much about these exams. I’m the eldest kid in the family. So, it was the first time for everyone. It was easy comparatively, a lot easier for me.

I was into science but was not able to do that good in IIT and AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam) (10K rank in IIT and 21K in AIEEE), but I could not have done better. I’m not a competitive person. I do not like to study exclusively for exams.

His father asks me to call him once every few weeks to tell him how to prepare and advise him to study hard.
I don’t. I don’t want one more person telling him to do something he is not fond of, science (like most people). I can understand his situation. Even when we meet, I never talk about the exam or how the preparation is going on. Just the normal,” What’s going on. Anything cool. You are preparing fine?? right”, and then we talk about movies, Animes, tech. This is the place where he can be himself, a temporary escape.

I don’t like when people try to take advice from me in topics like how to prepare for exams or which coaching institute is best, is coaching necessary, should they take a break after 12th and prepare for entrance exams.
I feel completely lost and confused.
I have been to coaching institutes, not a huge fan though. In 12th for 1 year, but dropped after 6 months. Found it hard to balance schooling (7 am to 2 pm) and coaching (3 pm to 7 pm).
Then dropped a year after 12th, took coaching full time.
What should I tell them, put him in a coaching institute, something that I don’t believe in? Or don’t put him in a coaching institute when everyone else is in one. What if he does not qualify, I will be responsible.
Is coaching necessary? I don’t feel what they taught me was of any use to me in my exam, I would have done the same without coaching. They teach a lot of extra advanced, out of syllabus stuff which is not asked in the exams. And what does come in the exam is not that advanced level stuff and you get confused between what you learned and what is asked. May be that is just my view. If you did good after taking coaching from an institute, you will say it works. If you did not, you will say It does not.

But what should I say? It worked according to everyone else, but not according to me?

All this becomes even more depressing when you include the fact that I’m also preparing for GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering), though I know it will just be a formality as I have 9 am to 7 pm internship. I too joined a coaching institute in 6th and 7th semester for GATE. My parents think I will do well in GATE but now I simply tell them it’s not possible. But my cousin can’t.
I can relate to him.

[This article is not against parents, they are thinking good for their kid and wishing well for his future but the way they are thinking is not that good. This article is more about the study of psychology of someone under this kind of pressure]

One Comment

  1. I m from India too. I skipped lot of paragraphs. I can understand ur feelings. U should let go of all these things. Because too much thinking causes cancer??. I know that u r a girl with kind heart. You should tell ur uncle to don’t harass ur cousin. Fight it once and for all.

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