First, this article is not in anyway concerned with the song. It's about an innocent teen's true feelings. Even my parents do not know I wrote such an article and they'll only find that I have been doing something else other than studying (which, in their lingo, is sin). I am doing my X standard, which I feel is just another chapter of life, contrary to my kith, kin, mentors and even strangers who'd animatedly say, “Rapscallion! You are in your, gasp, Standard X! Go get your books! Now!” And that is why, not me, but all other (or, at least, a few other) students of Standard X suffer.

Over-worrying parents, intruding neighbours, concerned relatives, hawkers, vendors and ‘you'll-get-a-state-rank-teachers,' care for (read torture) us so much that we are exhausted and completely spent. We are asked to study, memorise, learn, mug away or whatever you call it. That isn't the rigmarole. What irritates is that we are asked to study this, study that, study here, study there, study now, study then and study the facts given in pale green, pale yellow and pale blue boxes. This has even led its way to the creation of a new verb — byheart. A word that was used by people like “I know Psalms 16; 11 by heart” is now being used infamously by history teachers like “Byheart all events that occurred during India's freedom movement.”

I am often advised not to potter away my time and to go and ‘byheart' sincerely, sombrely and seriously. To quote my mom, if I remember correctly, “It is your scholastic achievements that are going to give you a bright future. Your histrionic, oratory, terpsichorean, vocal and writing skills will not be of any use, I'm afraid.” And scholastic achievements to her mean high marks, higher marks and the highest marks. Obliged I am at this point to also put in a few words about the eerie atmosphere that prevails when the marksheet is handed.

“How much?”

“643/700”

“And Archana?”(Archana is our school overall topper, household name and eternal source of comparison).

“662/700”

A kind request to parents: please do not compare the marks of your son or daughter with somebody else's. Agreed that competition is healthy but that has to be between me and Archana, not my parents and Archana's over whose ward will score more. It really hurts when you point out the one mark missed when we show you a 99. Do realise that we are putting in our everything into ‘byhearting' in spite of the truisms that English is exacting, Tamil is terrorising, Maths is muddling, Physics is lethal, Chemistry is confusing, Biology is befuddling, History is hell and Geography is stupefying.

I can visualise thousands (an underestimate) of parents cursing me, if not, busy typing me a hate mail. Whatever, my plea is this: Give us a break. Just a wee bit of time to relax is all we ask for. And shun the kolaveri for God's sake.

(The writer is a Standard X student in SBOA Matric Higher Secondary School, Nagamalai, Madurai. His email id is: gerleo.nimalan@gmail.com)

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