With exams nearing and just a month away, revisions with kids form the top priority right now. It’s almost a revising experience for me, to go through the same butterflies as I once had when I was their age and preparing for exams. Distractions of the idiot box, TV and the mobile were gratefully not there so we had no options but to study, even if for some it may have been reluctantly. The scenario is slightly different now with all the distractions occupying their own space in the timetable of any child. So getting the child to sit for studies is a task for sure!
So as on one hand I am helping them prepare for their exams, I also rewind myself and recollect my own experiences and take a peep into the beautiful past, though which was not so then but only with experience and all the years behind has become one today. I say so because as a student I remember the most difficult part of the exams for me would be writing ‘Essays’ in the middle school (Writing them in English was yet another horror. Writing in Hindi and Marathi was much easier).Until primary(till class 4th) the essays would be spoon fed by teachers so reproducing them as it is from the topics taught was easier. While in middle school it was difficult because at that age I could not imagine and write on topics not taught in school. Reading habit was cultivated by parents at an early age so enjoyed it, but when it came to extempore writing or elocution then it was like climbing a huge mountain. Essay writing would be the last question mostly in all the language papers, if not would be kept for the last by me. Scribbling down and just managing to finish it in the least amount of time.
The topics that drove interest then were ‘A visit to a zoo’ or ‘An evening on a beach’ or any such visits which even if we had not visited would have scored the most for our imaginative powers. Topics like ‘If I were the school Principal’ or ‘If I were the Prime Minister of India’ would end up being disasters and only God or any super power that came to mind at that point would be summoned for rescue. Among National leaders Gandhiji, Nehru or for that matter Lokmanya Tilak were ‘My Favourite Leader’ for almost entire class and so any other leader was never thought of or explored in essays.
As we came into high school the topics became more and more thought provoking and difficult to write. Some were beyond the scope of imagination like ‘Mission to the moon’. Debate topics like ‘Science a boon or bane’ or ‘Exams should be conducted or not’ would be attempted by the scholarly of the lot.
The topics went on becoming complex and testing our writing skills(perhaps my non-writing skills to put it right) . Every paper would have me ignoring marks for Essay writing and conveniently calculating the grades, which were slightly better than those with them.
And now, as I said with few decades down the line, here I am penning down and writing with pleasure. Yes and the credits for this entirely go to all those essays that forced us to think out of the box, sometimes beyond imagination and also creatively use all that we read. Though the kids now are much better with not only all the information that they have at their fingertips, thanks to internet and other sources of information, but also for their ability to think with even greater clarity.
So to all the kids, this quote by Benjamin Franklin “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” puts it the best. All the best!!