Here is an article I wrote for Mid Day.
The SSC results are about to be announced and this takes me back to my school days. I remember being petrified of exams, even more petrified of the results. The red lines on my report card were demeaning, disheartening, and most discouraging. How could I face my friends and family? Shame! Broken self-esteem.
I remember I used to have nightmares. In fact, after having put in a distance of more than 20 years between myself and my last exam, I still haven’t managed to escape the cold fear of exams and results. I still wake up with the shivers after a nightmare about going blank in front of a question paper with time running out.
I am sure there many children out there who go through similar emotions and are currently in a state of panic about the impending SSC results. Kids, don’t be afraid. Just chill. All izzz well!
Don’t look upon the SSC Boards as a milestone in your life, it’s just another stone with many miles on it! You have a long way to go and many more important exams to face. Not the school or college exams, but the exams of life. And those are the ones to be prepared for. The mark sheets to look out for are not the ones printed on some paper, but the ones on the faces of the people you love. Those are the mark sheets that matter. Bring a smile on the face of your mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend, and you have done well in the exam of life.
I remember that the one person who always gave me strong support and encouragement even after bad results was my father. My mom would complain and tell him that I had failed in Marathi or History or something and he would laugh it off and say “What? You failed in only 2 subjects? I always failed in at least 4!” “Don’t worry about exams,” he always said, “just have a good time in school and be honest.” Honesty was always a big one for him. It genuinely never bothered him that I had done badly. And when I look back now I realize that it was probably because of his utter and absolute belief in me, and his strong support, that I grew up with confidence in myself. Had he lost faith in me I would NEVER have been able to reach where I have in life, and achieve what I have.
Parents, there is a strong lesson here for all of us. Tomorrow the SSC results will be out. I want each of you to remember that we need to accept our children as they are. Your child might fail, or get average marks, or might miss by half a percent the result that you may desire, either way, I want you to accept him/her as he/she is. Is the mark sheet more important or is your child more important?
Do not be disappointed with one exam. Life has so much to offer. Each one of us is special. And for each one of us to do well in life we need the encouragement and support of the people who love us, especially our parents. REMEMBER THE MARK SHEET OF LIFE. And this mark sheet has only 3 subjects – love, caring and happiness. Fame, success and money are calculated on some other mark sheet, and they cannot compete with the value of love, caring and happiness. Let us, as parents, not to fail in the exam of life. Remember our face is also a mark sheet, as is the face of our beloved child. Let us see really high scores on each and every face this time!
This exam, no matter what the marks of the child, I want every parent to hug his/her child when they come home with their results. Try it, and see the power of love. See what it did to me when I came home to my father.
This exam I would like teachers and principals to click photos NOT WITH THE TOPPERS but with the students who have not done as well. Reach out not to the toppers but to the ones at the other end. Give them your encouragement and support, they need it much more.
Kids, any problems with your parents, show them TZP and 3i. You have the power to change the world no matter how much you have scored in your exams. The whole wide world is ahead of you to enjoy and contribute to in small and big ways.
By the way, did any of you know what Gandhiji scored in his Matriculation Exams (which is equivalent to our SSC boards today)?
Now do you believe me?