I stared blankly at my physics teacher’s face, when she asked me, “What would be the latent heat of an iron wire heated for 1min 30 seconds?” I realized my dreams of becoming an astronaut were going to the grave.
Ghosts were passé. Nothing scared me more than numbers. Mathematics gave me sleepless nights as if tomorrow might be my last day.
Looking back at my school days, I realize that they weren’t as fun-filled as my mother happily described hers. They were actually the years that passed in a pressure cooker where the steam, occasionally, burnt as well. Every time my mathematics teacher questioned, “If a boat moves upstream at 80km/hr for 5 hrs and moves at 100km/hr downstream, how much distance will it cover in 6 hrs, provided the speed of the stream is 3km/hr?”, my mind set out on it’s own little trip. Why were the sentences of these questions so long? The punctuations were little rarities in the otherwise marathon-winning sentence. In retrospect, why would a person…like EVER, go back and forth on a “Stream” and keep doing that for the joy of calculating timings. Ok, he was mad and was getting some cheap thrills…probably. However, I would never ever make sailing alone, up & down a river, my hobby. So why exactly am I studying this? What use will it be to me in this normal lifetime of not being a fisherwoman?
The sanity of the human mind was thrown out of the window. Theories were the only things exaggerated with such magnitude that all that remained was lots of theories, which were of no coherent sense.
The Quantum physics, Calculus and the clashing of crazy particles were the 11th and 12th grade science syllabus. Not every student of science wants to become an engineer, doctor or scientist. Then what is the stifling need to include such grand topics in the curriculum?
Everyone is not a right-brained Einstein!
The worst sufferers are the ‘Humanities’ students. The stamp of being “less intelligent” is splashed all across their foreheads. A conventional ‘good student’ is someone who is the ace of math and science. Rests are ‘second options’.
However, times are witnessing a slight shift. Commerce has become the ‘new science’. People are increasingly meandering towards it and with the mushrooming of MBA institutes, why not?
Arts are the hobbies. They are things people do for passing time or to get to be portrayed as the one’s eating up their father’s finances.
Indians are known for one more interesting quality, that is randomly spurting out unnecessary information. We know everything from the chemical formula of salt to the complex mechanism of flying airplanes. Blame it on Sir McCauley. He made us know the theory of everything. Everything from a super redundant MS-DOS to the ever shrinking nanotechnology, we know it all.
We also know how an electron would be feeling when being ignored by fellow electrons!
Refraction, Mirage, Eclipses etc., I remember all these classes. The answers were mugged up 6markers, bearing no connection to the understanding of the topic concerned.
What I often regret is that I never exactly figured why Mirage happens. Though I can splash big words like ‘total internal reflection’ and ‘atmospheric pressure’ and make others feel like I know too much and “explain” MIRAGE, my knowledge also is quite a mirage in itself.
Graduation! Sweet nostalgia. Freedom, Independence and all that jazz and of course…COLLEGE! College studies are studies of another kind. We fondly call it “the subtle art of exaggeration”. College students barely get to see their professors, like some 40% of the times. Traveling 1 ½ hours for a class that lasts an hour and then 1 ½ hour back home is really an ordeal in itself! Imagine the trauma when even that 1 class is cancelled. The notes are like farras (slips of papers) and photocopies; it’s a mix bag. We know it, but not quite.
For a country being touted as the next superpower, we need to do more than just create a whole lot of 90 percenters, the race for which has resulted in a record number of suicides among adolescents. The pressure of studies is killing the students. However, I feel it’s not really the studies, but the non-understanding of subjects, of knowing too much for that age that is actually gulping them down.
I mean why should I know that a blast furnace creates 10,000 varieties of Iron and Steel! The only interesting part was ‘pig iron’. It is the name that is so unforgettable. However, whatever it is, I still don’t know!
Why must a 9th grader know how wide apart are the concentric circles of some fancy equipment? To me, concentric circles just hypnotize and give headaches. And the congruency of triangles…why? I will never in my life want to start finding triangles in the air and make them congruent.
Coming back to reality, we need to know how the blast furnace ACTUALLY looks, we need to see it! We need to be explained how exactly are the endorphins secreted and why are they working so desperately to make us happy?
I guess it’s time to revert back to the Vedic studies our forefathers left us. The future needs the past. We have to make a conscious choice of choosing knowledge over information. It’s a start that the growing India needs. The generations of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. We don’t want leaders who thrive on the information overload of their childhood. Knowledge is what remains with you till your death. I can only think of my malnourished brain inside an aged skull, full of questions that why were we not given that little try?
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/juiceboxgasoline/435658666/]