Growing up in a desi household basically prepares you for living in a curfew whenever required. Yes, there was an unofficial curfew announced during the exam time by the parents.
You know how much I envy firangs? A lot. The kids there, if they do something really out of line like getting caught doing drugs, then they are grounded (Yes, I watch a lot of sitcoms) which is like the normal happy day in a desi household. I would score 80% and would still be grounded for missing out on the rest of the 20%.
All this was during the normal exams, but then our education system has its own version of Mahakumbh, the boards. Ever since I was introduced to a pen as the replacement of the pencil, everyone started feeding me with the fear of boards. Have you seen some overexcited people on Facebook doing a countdown to their birthday? That was my life until I finally gave the board exams.
My relatives were more excited than I was for the boards, in every family gathering/shaadi all they would ask me was this.
“Aur iss saal toh board hai, haina?” was the teenage version of, “Aur beta ab toh shaadi ki umar ho gayi hai.“, but, only worse. You can postpone your marriage but not the boards.
But it wasn’t just parents and relatives, school teachers were equally responsible for creating a ghost-like fear in our mind for the board exams. “Answer sheets bahar jayengi check hone“, was the biggest hoax someone could pass around to terrify the students.
More than anything else, I knew I was most certainly not going to reach my dad’s expectations of only 99%, but, the fear of going below 70% was something that kept me up for nights.
Back in the time when I was appearing for the board exams, they started from 1st March. But, it’s the boards. The curfew for it starts as soon as you got the date sheet for the exams, which was usually February. You know, I could never fully enjoy my birthday till I was 18 just because it comes in February.
All we did for all of February and March were just two things:
2. Pretended to study so that dad didn’t yell at us.
Now, here I am after 6 years without board exams but the fear is still intact. I wouldn’t know but my subconscious mind still remembers everything. It’s almost like some part of my brain is always preparing for those 3-hour-long exams. The sense of responsibility, fear, and nervousness comes naturally when I see February or March written somewhere or hear someone mentioning the same. I can’t help it at all.
PS: A special mention to the financial year ending and the appraisal season, there would always be something to worry about in Feb-March.