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School Examinations – Scarcely Scary! April 2, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, General, Personal, Women and Children.
Tags: , , , , ,

My home is all abuzz with exam fever, exam pressure, exam analysis, exam fear, exam voodoo, exam poojas – all that can be termed as relevant reactions, while preparing your ward for the annual school exams.

Cut to the previous night

9:30 pm to 10:30 pm – “One last game Ma. I just have to reach the World Cup Finals.  I just have to.”

“You are too addicted to your PSP.  Just shut that down and go to sleep. You don’t look like one who is bothered about his final exams.”

“Please, Ma. Today!  Just today! Leave me alone.  Tomorrow, I’ll be a good student.  But today, I need this break Ma. Please.”

“What did you ever do, to deserve a break? Anyway, get done with it fast.”

10: 30 to 10: 45 pm – After many final calls, I triumph as he shuts down his PSP. That small black magic thing, that puts me on a voodoo call every day, these days!

10:45 pm: “Ma, please, wake me up by 4:30 morning.  No excuses. Huh?”

“Sure. Go to sleep now.”

10:50 pm: “Can we read Tintin now? Just for 10 minutes? Please.”

“Ooh kay!”

And Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock , Professor Calculus, Detectives Thomson and Thompson, bungle me with smiles and laughter and we remember that the book is long due to be returned to the library, and so we decide to finish it, and so we did.

11:30 pm: “Jeez…Prannay go to sleep.  You can’t even wake up at 7:00 am tomorrow. “

“Take a bet? I am up and running by 4:30 am.  Good night.”

“Good night! Hugs…say your prayers….go to sleep. Thank God, we had a great day.”


I look at my son, sleeping with his mouth half open, and thank God that this bundle of naughtiness was my bundle of joy, 11 years back, as I held him with my eyes welling up.   God, take good care of him, keep him healthy and make sure you are there with him all through, to see him grow up as a good citizen – And my prayers got disrupted, by the last mosquito in his room that I swat with the greatest vengeance, hoping that I have destroyed the carrier of all those diseases imported from the other continents.


4:30 am: Meditation time.

“Prannay, wake up.  It’s time.  Prannay. “


5:00 am. “Prannay, wake up.  Its 5:00 already.  Wake up.”


5: 30 am, 6:00 am…6:30 am…I lose my cool.

“Arrey, you are yet to revise 10 of those god damn 13 lessons – and I have no idea how you are ever going to finish if you don’t even wake up at 6:30 am.”

I almost feel like pouring a bucket full of water on him, but get worried about the new mattress.  He stirs, at my thoughts, looks at me with a puzzled angelic look and goes back to sleep again.  “Arrey., get up.” He looks at me with one eye open, quizzically and says, “2 minutes?” That’s our buzz word for Maggi sleep – the last 2 minute nap!

I stare in disbelief and start rattling off all that needs to be done, before the school van arrives at 7:45 am…pointlessly at his back!

He finally wakes up.

6:45 am: “Ma, why didn’t you wake me up by 4:30? I clearly told you last night.”


“If I didn’t wake up, you should’ve…you should’ve at least poured a bucketful of water to wake me up.  That’s how you should’ve kept your word.”


“I know you are worried about the new mattress.  But is it so much more important than my exam?”


He fiddles, fibs for something.  “What now?” “My examination time-table.  I need it.. I have to arrange books for tomorrow’s exam.” He starts searching for his time-table, for the umpteenth time.  And finally he gets one of the many copies we made, sometime before the exam started. He checks and rechecks the examination time-table – “Why couldn’t they have timed the Hindi  I and II together.  The fag-end of the exams would’ve been better.  Why is this school never sensitive to children? Why do we have to study the whole book, always? Why can’t we have just the last term portions? Why should matriculation have 11 papers? Even CBSE has only 5 papers.” He goes on a monologue.

It is 7:00 am.

Brush, take bath, watch the IPL matches in-between wearing the school uniform and without missing those “Wow, what a shot?” he settles down for break fast.

It is 7:30 am.

“Ma, can you please help me with my shoes.  Just this last day.  I know I am being very bad.  I know I should be doing my things.  But just today.  I am running late.”

I can’t help smiling.  “At least have your breakfast on time.”

And I start looking out for his shoes.  They are missing.  “Where did you leave them?”

“There.  Just where I left them, the day before.”

I manage to give him a stare, when I actually want to scream . It is 7:38 now.

I ransack his room, find the shoes in different corners, cut the dialogue with him, lest I have to take a barrage of questions from his father as well, and can’t help grimacing at those dirty shoes, give one more stare (a petrified look, actually) and start tying up the lace.

“Ah, just right, Ma. No one can do it better than you, Ma,.” that naughty bundle of joy with a twinkle in his eye, with a chipped tooth, and that dimpled cheek screaming I love you Ma, gives me his trade mark smile.

I love you, dear – I want to say but keep it to myself.  “You are late.  I wonder when you are ever going to learn to manage time and get ready without all this stress.”

“No stress.  I am not stressed.  You too should not be stressed.  Don’t worry.  I have the study hour – I can finish all the 13 lessons at one go – They give us 45 minutes to revise.”

I burst out laughing.

Now it his turn to look at me perplexed and he is clearly annoyed with me. “Ma. Don’t make a joke of my exams and preparations.”

It is 7:45 am and the school van honks….and he runs to get it, without even a bye.

After he leaves, I look at the mess, called my home – Books, socks, water bottle that was left out, the PSP, the unfinished sketch of Gilchrist, and that toothy grin frozen in time, hanging from the wall.  And I begin to wonder, if my parents had ever bothered to understand all about my exams – did they even try “active parenting?” They just let us be, and took their roles as parents, as is.  I do not remember, my mother ever fretting over my study time.  She was almost, always busy preparing tasty dishes, and was annoyed only if I did not take any interest in passing feedback about her culinary delights. And I was a poor foodie and she was glad that my brother adequately compensated for that.

With those nostalgic thoughts, I clear up the place, and then notice a large chart paper, neatly folded into the smallest piece possible.  I unravel it and there I find my genius at play – my time management skills – my project management skills – and my educationist skills, neatly folded and packed to lie in one corner.

Cut…flash back – first week of March.   I sat down with his books, tried to make sense of all his portions, prepared a chart on how to space out study hours, balance it with play, and also have plenty of time to watch his favorite Deccan Chargers and Gilli at play – even if they lose their matches!  And it was supposed to have been a jolly good time preparing for exams!

It is still a jolly good time, for him!



1. Gautham - April 7, 2010

Really loved it mam

Gomathi Reddy - April 8, 2010

Thank you, Gautam, 🙂 I am glad to hear that.

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