Monday, February 29, 2016

A MOTHER'S BOARD EXAMS






Pic.: Anand Sreedhar



As I write this, ICSE Board (Class 10) exams are a few heartbeats away. The students, obviously, are anxious. But, my thoughts, today, really go to the mothers of all these students… In fact, mothers of any Board (Class 10) students. It is their Board exams, too… They are even more anxious!

I have been teaching college students for over 35 years… 12th standard HSC, ISC, CBSE Board students… and the Final-year Degree students. But, strangely, I had never been worried about my students’ exams… I had never been keeping a track of their exams dates, results dates, and, yes, their marks and ranks, too. The only thing I had been keeping a track of was my teaching… and, I had been doing it exactly the way I had done it on my very first day of teaching, with my very first student… with total passion and involvement…

I had learnt to let go of the rest, yes, ever since I taught my first student!

When it came to our own son, my own concern about his Boards was absolutely normal. My wife was involved more, as most mothers are… But, even she did not worry too much about our son…

But, then, I really feel for what all mothers do, including my own wife, when it comes to their children’s Board exams… If they have 2 or 3 children, they have to go through the entire process all over again… and, imagine that!

Sonal was my dear student when she was in 12th and TY B.Com. She has two daughters and a son. I had taught Manvi, the first daughter, when she was in 12th. Manvi now is preparing for her final CA. Two days ago, when I was at our Tai Chi camp in Lonavala, Sonal had called. As I had missed this call, late last evening, she called me again… The reason: She was anxious about her second daughter, Janvi’s ICSE Board (Class 10) exams which were to start today. I hadn’t taught Janvi any of her school subjects… But, Sonal was keen that H wished and blessed her young-one. I gladly did… and could feel a mother’s anxiety dropping down a little…

My thoughts went to Sonal… She is still not done with Manvi… Janvi is all set to give her first Boards… and her third child, the son, is still in 9th!

How many times mothers have to go through all this!

My thoughts, also, went to many elderly ladies – particularly Mrs. Lakshmi and Mrs. Sunanda - who attended our Tai Chi camp at Lonavala. Mrs. Lakshmi and Mrs. Sunanda were in their eighties… Interestingly, they had been great friends before one’s son got married to another’s daughter… They are great friends even now, after many grandchildren! It has been a pleasure watching them in our Tai Chi classes and in our Lonavala camp. Their presence was simply inspiring!

Yes, my thoughts went to them… How many times they must have gone through the Board Exams experience… their own, their children’s’ and grandchildren’s’!

So, when I saw these elderly women in our Tai Chi classes and camp, I was the happiest person… “They deserve this break,” I kept telling myself.

As a man and a father, that’s the least I could do: Feel genuinely for a woman and a mother for an experience she alone goes through!

I mean it.


GERALD D’CUNHA


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