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Friday, May 17, 2013

ICSE 2013 and us

Well, my daughter has passed the secondary level public examination called ICSE with close to 92 per cent marks in the aggregate. Which is on the one hand more than her dad did, and on the other hand no big deal at all, because a) these days, owing to massive ‘marks inflation’, a lot of candidates have scored as much or more, including many I know who are far inferior students, which will become apparent by and by as they study at higher levels and appear for tougher examinations, and b) if she had scored a few percentage points less or more, it would not have made the slightest difference to her career in the long run. All that matters is that she has crossed one major milestone in her life, and a great deal of growing up is ahead of her.

The point I wish to make here is that she did it all without living the kind of hothouse-plant life that virtually everyone of her contemporaries and classmates has done. She has wasted very little time on worthless tuitions, she has never been bullied or harried to ‘study hard’, she has not been held prisoner in the house at all times unless she was going to a wedding feast or some shopping mall with her parents, she has slept and exercised a great deal, she has tried singing and dancing and karate and swimming and painting and handicrafts and cooking, she has read widely and watched a lot of good movies with the active encouragement of her parents, she has had some fun  with boys, she has handled money, she has spent days away from her parents, she has surfed the net thoroughly and written her own blog, she has spent thousands of hours chatting about all sorts of  interesting things with mom and dad, she has made good friends across a wide spectrum of ages…in short, she has had a rich childhood, and without sacrificing anything significant at all that her contemporaries have enjoyed. Good genes, yes, but I shall take a great deal of credit for it, too, and as a teacher I do believe that a lot of parents would become much better parents if they swallowed their silly egos and learnt from my example. I am proud, and again, I know I have reason to be. I also believe that the way she has been brought up, she will be able to live much more richly, in the broadest sense of the word, than 99% of her contemporaries, only God willing.

So today I am unfazed about my daughter’s ICSE results, again unlike the parents of most of her contemporaries, for whom it is very big news: they will be preening or moaning in their own tiny circles for weeks and months while we get on with life. So unfazed, in fact, that my phones have stayed switched off or unanswered all day, because I was keen neither to hear a lot of people tell me their scores, nor to tell them my daughter’s. Those who are really interested in us will know that we have far better things to think and talk about: we always do. And if they like us or love us, they will wish us things that really count.


Sumitha said...

Congratulations to your daughter, Sir; and to you and her mommy for being such down-to-earth and sensible parents! I'm sure the folks who are gushing about their wards' superior scores and points will realize a few decades down the line, that it was mostly for naught; and that, at the end of the day, a score/grade is just a number/letter.

Sumitha Kurien

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thank you, Sumitha. Welcome back to the fold!

Rajdeep said...

Congratulations to Pupu! Well done!
It is nice to read that she has had an interesting and rich in experience childhood. May she evolve as a wonderful human being. I wish her all the best for her future and may God bless.

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda

Congratulations to Pupu. My best wishes are always with her. She is privileged to have sensible parents like you and Boudi. I am sure your guidance will always prepare her for the time that lies ahead.


Dipanwita Shome said...

Dear Sir,

I keep telling whoever will listen that there should be a very strict eligibility test that will decide whether a particular set of parents should in the first place give birth or not. Have you ever considered that you should probably give tuitions to parents rather than to their wards?!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Haha, Dipanwita, if only they would come to me and pay! In this country, that authority is given only to babaji-s and mataji-s with 'spiritual' powers, and I have found from a lifetime's experience that people go to them mostly in the hope of miracles, not to learn anything truly wise and useful...

Subhadip Dutta said...

My heartiest congratulations to Pupu, Sir! I wish her all the best in her life. She is a very intelligent girl, and will rise very high in her career. And from what I have seen, I can also say that she will not be blinded by money. I do not think she will ever keep money above morality.

And about the darker side that you have told about in your post, I think I have today written a related post in my blog in which I have tried to show some real life examples of how parents of those children who had once scored just good marks, and now grown ups they earn good money, actually think treat other people in the society, and also of how much ill-behaved children of barely 14 or 15 years of age are becoming.

I urge you and your other readers to please read it. I think everyone will like it. I have given the link below:


Soham Mukhopadhyay said...

Sir, I would like to congratulate Urbi for her result. It is nice to know that she had such nice and rich experience in childhood. She is very lucky to have such parents. And I fully agree with the two points that you have stated in the first paragraph. Most of the students don't really care to learn anything at all and if they do, it is because only for marks and to get certain ranks in public examinations. Most pathetic of it is that they soon forget what they have learnt even a month ago while still boasting of their percentages or ranks that they have attained.

Debarshi Saha said...

Dear Sir,

Warm regards. Congratulations to Urbi, and best wishes.


sayantika said...

Dear Sir,
Congratulations to Pupu for doing well. I wish her all the best for the future. I remember I had sulked about not getting six points, and you had told me nine years ago that it wouldn't matter at all. Much later, I realised how foolish I had been.
Thanks and with regards,

Unknown said...

Dear Sir,

We always knew that Pupu would do well, but still congratulations are in order from both of us.

Pupu has indeed been lucky to have you and Boudi as parents! I still remember how she helped us out with breakfast (she was just in class 6 then) on a cold winter morning in Delhi. It said a lot about the person she is, and I'm sure she has a lot to thank you and Boudi for.

You had always impressed this upon us that ICSE is no yardstick to judge a student. This post reminded me of Churchill's observations on examinations. Ironically, it has for ever been part of the Higher Secondary syllabus, but doesn't seem to have broken much ice in the Bengali midddle class psyche.

So much for us Bengalis carrying forward the baton of all that was good in the Raj!

With regards,


Percipient Shameek .... said...

Dear Sir ,

Congratulations to Pupu..!! I wish her all the best for her future...!!

I also agree with the very first comment on this post & reading it i just remembered your words , that later on these results wouldn't matter at all....!!!

With regards ,