This article isn't about being an harsh, but being real. As a rational person, someone who subscribes to logic rather than fantasy, there's something that needs to be said - the phrase 'marks don't matter' is subjective. There are just too many variables to determine if it holds true for every single person, from every kind of life situation.
If you come from a position of high privilege, then sure, marks don't really matter.
You can just do your schooling, scrape through, and join the family business or whatever. You can go abroad, and pretty much escape the whole shebang.
If you come from an economically weaker section of society however, where your family isn't connected or moneyed to the bone, then good grades can definitely open certain doors.
It can free you up to a better quality of higher education, which could ultimately result in a better standard of living.
That's not to say that marks are the be all and end all of life. They're important for a certain period of time, but just as important is passion and drive.
The will to do well, by yourself and by those you love, is a driving force of the human condition. When you're in school, you have certain responsibilities, a certain idea of what you want to do. Chances are, things will turn out very differently from those ideas, but you have to at least try, right?
The 12th boards are a harrowing time in anybody's life, and Indian culture has ingrained the fact that your results will determine the rest of your life. This isn't true obviously, but it is going to bog you down for a while to come. That's a failure of the system, and also our tragic reality.
It's all well and good to be an idealist, to go with the flow, and to believe that things will just work out. But it's also important to be a realist, because going with the flow doesn't mean sitting back and goofing off all day.
We're all expected to put in the hours. Plus, if you've got a certain course in mind, you'll obviously want to get into the best college for said course. That's just common sense.
If you're supremely talented, well then you lucked out. Maybe you can follow in a different path than most.
But for the average human being, good marks can provide at least short-term relief, and what's life if not short phases of happiness followed by a general plateauing of existence?
Basically, you've got to prioritise things. Your physical and mental health comes first. Always. Parents - don't put too much pressure on your kids to perform. Let them have a life. And kids, live your lives, play whatever it is that kids play these days, and know that what you read on the internet isn't always true.
People simply throwing around phrases like 'marks don't matter' are being irresponsible. Of course they matter, just not as much as you might feel they do at the moment.