School Chale Hum!
Blog :Yellow Agony
Date: 8/12/2012 6:37:00 PM
No. This ain't working. I'm not able to catch with you y'all. So many things happen daily, I think in my own head all the juicy phrases dripping with sarcasm that I'd use to explain those things and then - then I forget to write them down and then the moment passes.
A few days back (something like 15) I was invited to my own school as the Guest of Honor at a district level English declamation contest. I was pumping with energy and excitement on the prospect of going back to school. My school. I woke up early, clean-shaved, took a shower and believe it or not, by 9 sharp I was shining like a crazy diamond though more of brown than white (Yes it was a racist joke, ha!).
Every thing about my school was so big in my head. Like I remembered that traffic goes crazy in morning at the main road on which my school is situated. I used to go on a bicycle all these years, this time I was in a car and yet I dint feel any traffic. There was an enchantingly beautiful garden right at the entrance in my memories, in reality it was a stub of green, nothing much more fancy. I reached exactly on time but had to wait(!) for half an hour or so. Instead of waiting in principals' room I took permission to take a round around the school. Walls with cheap quality distemper and cemented floors were strikingly different from what I've got used to now. Thought of the day written in 3 colors of chawlk - that was pretty. Reminded me of early school (class 3- 5) when I was in charge of maintaining a similar black-board. Innocence of young children was all over their white and gray uniforms. I silently wished if I could live through these days once again. You might now believe but I even gasped.
I won't lie. My friends had told me that average smartness of girls in school had gone up exponentially after we had passed out and I was expecting to see some very beautiful girls. I found out upon reaching there - they were girls. You know. School girls. I can't believe but even students of class 11th and 12th felt so childlike. I felt a tinge of guilt for my own expectations. I sure have grown a lot in these four years.
We reached the "Madhav hall". It was GRAND in my memories. I swear - it was atleast as big as a football field but somehow it had shrunk tremendously this time. Maybe that's the effect of global warming. Or maybe because I myself have grown bigger (and a little round too, if I may add).
Floral tribute to Saraswati Maa and lightening of lamp - seriously? A prayer to Maa Saraswati in Sanskrit? What about those guys who are atheists - who don't want to pray to a god? What about people who maintain different deities? How about chanting a prayer whose meaning people understand? Crazy old customs - boy aren't they sticky! And only now they felt weird, for the first time ever. I realized soon enough though, that there aren't any people who fit in any of the categories I just mentioned. You've so little variety of thoughts here that it is almost depressing.
Declamation contest was a disappointment. See I knew that my school or city for that matter wasn't good with English. I had my classmates using broken English, smoothly interleaved with Hindi and 'ummm's. But this was a shocker. Contestants of a district level Declamation contest had a terrible flow and even worse pronunciation. I was feeling like an outsider all the time. More so when I noted that girls and boys were sitting in different rows, well separated from each other. Seriously? Okay I get this is a small city school based on Vidya Bharati's paradigms but as an outsider it felt like fundamentalist.
And you know what felt really really odd? Everyone who came to the podium and spoke on microphone was politically way too correct! Way too idealist - saying all those bookish things and quoting dead presidents and scientists. You know - preaching how money is a petty objective for education and how people who go out of country dazzled by green aren't really scholars. And how all roads of science lead to religion (that too only Hindu). They were all glorifying everything ancient Indian. I was chocking. This education had an impact even on me which took good 2-3 years of liberal college life to infuse some practicality and bravery, is that the right word, into me.
But while I was driving back, I was wondering - how could I've come from here? Is this where I belong? How did I achieve everything I did and learnt everything I did after coming from this city and this school?
I know I gobbled up this post's clarity towards the end but that's because my phone flashed sometime back and my attention has already diverted. But let me finish on this ending note that has been worrying me ever since that day - our education system needs to under go a steep make over. How else will these unfortunate small town kids compete with the rest, tell me?