THOSE EXAM WARRIORS AND THAT FIRE IN THE BELLY








As a student, both in school and college, I was always scared of my exams. Obviously, I did badly in all my exams. Somewhere in my S.Y. B.Com, I had decided to enjoy studying and leave my exams alone… I wasn’t keen on preparing for exams… I was only keen – in fact, obsessed – to ‘discover’ more and more and more!

Planning for exams, trying to excel in them, needs the right ‘exam-cracking’ mindset. I did not possess one. I just wanted to ‘express’ myself well… and, teaching became the medium… and, the subjects I taught just happened to be  there…

So, for nearly four decades of my teaching, I have never ever asked a single student of mine, “How much did you score in your exams?” I don’t even keep a track of their exam dates… I don’t hold the typical ‘Tests’ and ‘Test series’… I do not like to correct papers and declare marks… All these are assumed to be so essential and typical of all ‘coaching’ system…

May be…

But, I tell my students, and I stick to it: “Enjoy the subjects… Love them… Be obsessed and discover more and more and more… Be a self-starter… Do things without being told… Do homework on your own… Go beyond the classrooms and texts… Believe in yourself… Depend more on your own strengths and less on borrowed one… Shed off the herd mentality… Compete with self… Keep your own bench marks… Don’t be too concerned about the marks; instead, be concerned about what you want to do in life… and, find how your love for subjects can take you there…

Many understand what I say… and many don’t. But, I have survived for more than four decades in a field where marks are treated as weighing stones… and coaching classes are the weight-producing factories…

And, teachers?

I don’t wish to comment, sir!

A few nights ago, my wife was glued to her phone: “P.M. Mr. Modi is addressing the students… It’s interesting,” she said.

I was not interested. So, I went off to sleep.

The next day morning, my wife started praising our Prime Minister for doing a fantastic job of dealing with an important subject – ‘How to beat the exam blues and be an Exam Warrior’.

Like Mr. Modi, I am an underdog. He proudly claims, “I was a chaiwala’. I proudly say, ‘My condition was no better.” We both, belong to the ‘Ekalavyan School of Learning’. So, from that perspective, while I am intrigued by our P.M’s motive behind helping young boys and girls to succeed in exams when he himself did not lay a great emphasis on ‘Exams’ in his personal life, I am intrigued – in fact, mystified – by my own motive behind helping young minds in their studies and exams for over four decades!

Why do I teach? Even in my daily blogging, the teacher in me takes the drivers’ seat!

I believe, to crack exams big time, the young ones need to have the fire in their belly. Both, Arjuna and Ekalavya, were Dhronacharya’s students… though how they learnt from him separates them as two different breeds. They did learn from the same master… Same inspiration… Same source… Same determination… Same focus… But, Ekalavya will go on to provide more hope and inspiration to people like Mr. Modi and me… That fire in the belly, yes, it is missing badly in many, many, many young ones around us, today…

I am saying this after spending my two-third life time with young ones!

To me, young boys and girls like Ansar Ahmed Shaikh are real heroes. Ansar cracked the coveted UPSC civil services exam (2015) in the first attempt to become the youngest IAS at the age of 21. Yes, to me, that’s the Ekalavyan spirit.  He was an underdog - a rickshaw-driver’s son… He hailed from remote village in Maharashtra… He was raised in a household that belonged to below-poverty-line… His father had three wives, his mother being the second… None had become a graduate in his family… Forced by financial situation, he had worked as a waiter in a hotel… But, he resolved in his belly to go for the impossible…

And, he did!

Please watch these videos…










Is Ansar Ahmed an ‘Exam Warrior’?

Yes, he is…

Is he my hero?

Yes, he is.


GERALD D’UNHA

Pic.: Uttom Ghosh

Videos: YouTube

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