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.