The best thing about being in India, in eleventh grade, is that Craziness is CERTIFIED. It’s not just the scheme of my school, the thing is, in eleventh grade every one every where goes ballistic down a rat race to form, form, and form a winner profile, and then to apply to BIG colleges.
The sad part about this, is the moment you let your passion be your sole concern, that’s when you start getting Ifs and Buts in your plans. The Indian education system is perfectly moulded for the Science and Commerce people. Talk about the Arts/Humanities and you mean Problems.
In very simple terms, we have a cut off system in eleventh grade. In the results of tenth, those students you get 9/10 or above are eligible for Medical Studies, 8/10 are eligible for Non Medical Science, 6/10 are eligible for Commerce and anyone else, gets PUT INTO Humanities. I repeat, Anyone Else gets Put Into. Of course you can always OPT for Arts, as I did following passion, but then you are greeted with very very raised eyebrows. Are you stupid, they ask. If you’re not, are you bent on wasting your school years, they ask then. Oh you want this field, so you ARE stupid, they spell verdict.
Anyway, this isn’t a whiner post at all, today. This is a celebration post. I found sense in eleventh grade, and in the first two weeks too, hurray.
What is the good part about humanities. Field trips. Taken for granted, so kinda free. Time to breathe as there is no extra tuition or coaching centers. We do get the maximum holidays too. Pluuuusssss, we get to waste time.
No seriously, that is very important, cause Imagine a day after a lot of heavy theory subjects, like Political Science and History, and all this in a school where you read from textbooks only and other resources are your own extra digging. So when we get lots and lots and lots of reasons to waste some time, we like Humanities.
Today, for some abstract reason I haven’t yet fathomed, eleven-thees were on the prowl, roaming free and frolic. There is some kinda Math Conference tomorrow, so we had something that resembled a trial run today, and many volunteers, most of them from the ‘useless humanities’ were “busy” with that. That left the rest of us innocent bystanders with very less class strength and very disinterested teachers. Ohh, it gets better!
So, to put all us eleven-thees under one roof to make it easy to watch us, we were called in the Auditorium, where some silly film about an Indian mathematician, Ramanujan, was played for us. Now everyone knows that was just a herring, no one expected us to actually listen or the volume would be appreciable, the teachers only wanted us in one place and all accounted for.
That’s where my friend circle comes in. When you choose a stream, you choose YOUR stream, and all your friends from the previous class are dispersed. Now we are all teenagers, and we are all rather emotional and possessive. So I took my nine periods of school today as The Opportunity to meet anyone and everyone I knew. And that worked just fine.
I have friends in every class, and every sphere I engage in. Sure, some are very special friends, but it’s pretty established that I’ll find someone to talk to anything I sign up for. When you’re just separated from long friendships and put in heavy streams like Humanities, this is important.
Back to the Auditorium we are. So we are “watching” a film, and we are all talking. Two of my friends from the row behind me engaged me in a debate on how good (they said) and how bad (I said) a new TV programme was. I said it was so typically American that it wasn’t really American at all. They laughed to that, and I cried after that, as another friend aimed a paperball at my head.
This guy is Ankur. He has symptoms of ADHD (just kidding), is destructive (not really kidding), and has very similar interests as mine. First we talked about upcoming Video Conferences, Debates, Seminars, Student Exchange with Foreign Countries, Blogging and also some tests like SATs… Then, drained of such mundane things, we dismantled a fallen ID card and shot it into the crowd. I don’t know how I became so senseless.
He then shrieked “Eish hairy!” looking at Ramunjan’s chest in the film, and while I recovered from the laughter, he was moving towards the front rows where the chairs became sofas and I followed him, with two other friends. It was a tight squeeze for all four of us to fit in one sofa, but we did it, part because we really all just wanted to sleep, and part because it was fun fighting for space.
My friends, are saviours.
Later in the day, I had a seminar about education outside India planned with the insane dude from above, Ankur. Secrets of the trip include why we were going for this particular seminar. We are interested and blah and blah.. but we admit, Most of the reason for attending was because it was held in a Good 5-star hotel.
Ok everyone, lay back, and imagine…
Golden and cream doors, with polished glass and valet service pronto. Scented air conditioning. Wide corridors, flower decor, carpet to muffle the footsteps, huge crystal ball afloat a porcelain saucer that together made a sort of fountain. A second fountain where the steps at the end of the hall began, and this one with tiny orange and golden fish in it. Violet and deep blue flowers in every nook. Glossed handouts outside the seminar hall and inside, a BUZZ of ambition and a JINGLE of intelligence.
It’s these kind of places that remind me what dreams mean. Dreams… are our personal world of 5-star.
Tonight, so, my word for all the eyes that read these words now is, Please do remember to enjoy. New beginnings I find may be hard… But with friends and a little dreaming, these start up days can become bliss.