Jun 12, 2014

Why you don’t need to study

The recent board results came as a surprise to many of us. Lots of innocent kids have scored percentages which most of us have only seen in the progress bar of a download manager. They will now slog hard for the entrance exams to get into the factories that produce engineers and doctors. It will be an intense competition, with the clear rule of survival of the fittest. If you carefully observe the scores of these students, the only thing that would vary is the digit in the tenth decimal place. 

There is a second category of kids who will suddenly emerge into the race track from the bushes near the finishing line while you are almost confident of your victory. Before you even know, they would be kissing the medal and doing a victory dance. You suddenly realize you got fooled. You might have been born intelligent and hardworking, but they were born reserved. If you belong to the latter lot, you must stop reading here and continue to hate the former lot for no reason.

Indian parents spend more time deciding the academic qualification and profession of the kid than a good name for him. That’s why the country has engineers called Jimmy, Tony, Pintu and Rocky. Our society conveniently differentiates individuals on the basis of their academic qualifications and professions. The B.A. or B.Com. guy hardly gets tea or coffee offered at a relative’s place. Not to forget, the one who is pursuing distance education is  disowned by the entire society. This is the same society which made ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘3 Idiots’ churn huge numbers at the box office. But back home, it is always Sharma ji’s son who is a superhero.

This builds up peer pressure among the parents, and the kids also get a taste of it. A relative’s son studying abroad is the best ever measurement metric of success for the Indian parents. The kid is put under constant pressure from the first day itself and is shown a ‘carrot and stick approach’. ‘Study hard for the 10th exams, and you are set.’, ‘Study hard for the 12th exams, and you will get a good college.’, ‘Study hard for the college exams, and you will get the job of your dreams’. This just doesn’t end here! The carrots keep on changing with time, and the stick keeps on growing longer. In the process of having a constant focus on the carrots, one doesn’t realize when he hits a wall called death.

 Most of the things that they teach in schools never find their application in real life. Twelve years since I passed out of school and I still don’t remember the last time I used a differential equation to calculate my grocery bills. The invasion of India by the Mughals has not affected my love for Mughlai dishes in any way. But I still regret not being taught financial management in primary school. 

After all this slogging and getting degrees with jumbled alphabets, you get the biggest blow of your life. The guy who used to steal your homework and tiffin in school now owns a company and he might just hire you so that you now get paid for doing his homework or counting his money because he was bad at maths. The guy who your family never let you play with because he was an ‘arts’ guy now has a bestseller novel in his name. Worse even, the guy who dropped out of the school and introduced you to Naughty America is now a youth president of some XYZ political party. 

In the blind race of grades, you kept on relating achievement and purpose with education. You were busy acquiring knowledge when the others were busy sharpening their skills. You were running to win, and they ran for staying fit. They are fit, and you are now struggling to fit in.

Note: If you realize during your childhood that you are not exceptionally talented or gifted, get formal education. Don’t stay uneducated hoping that you’ll turn out to be Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Dhirubhai Ambani. Stay hungry if you wish, but don’t be foolish.


  1. This makes for good reading. Brings back the childhood turmoil of pursuing 'The Good Life'. :)

  2. This made me feel very foolish! I What a waste of my precious years !

  3. Great article, Thanks for your great information, the content is quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.