Dresses shabbily in clothes miles away from the trend or any kind of trend, with thick glasses covering a major portion of the face, eyes deep inside, prominent dark circles, walking with the back slightly bent due to the weight of a huge bag full of books (probably heavier than them) and the most striking feature-lost in a world the rest of the society cannot fathom. Yes, you are looking at the typical Indian student in his 12th standard. As I write this after a sleep deprived night I am reminded of the times when I used to burn the midnight oil along with so many thousands of teenagers and now, I think of so many more of them who are continuing to study and slog as I write.


They are oblivious to what day of the week it is, who the newly elected minister is, which film released yesterday or any other fact you would expect a 17 year old to know. Ask them a couple of formulae or reaction mechanisms and in his sleep he will not be wrong. Call it dedication or madness, passion or obsession, whatever it is you can feel its presence in the aura around him. It is this that keeps them alive inspite of just 3 hours of sleep a day for an entire year.
It’s not just one exam not just the boards, the entrances to every institute that is supposedly the best and the next best and what not. With exams comes pressure-peer and parental. All these entrance exams, which are now referred to as the “competitive” exams thanks to the cut throat competition they have begun to get, have become a boon because they give a second chance at the same time a bane due to the increased pressure they create.
Personally, looking back at my days of struggle, though I’m happy they are over I’m also glad they happened. After those years when your eye can connect with just black and white you begin to enjoy the color in life.

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