Taking it to heart...

Summer of 2001..
A R's classes..

Sitting in that class with all the happy faces around me, I couldnt help but wonder why I wasnt feeling happy.. Why wasnt I feeling happy for them and why I wasnt feeling happy for me. The class was for coaching us blokes for the engineering entrance exam(2 yrs in advance!!!). The class had a steady mix of ICSE guys and SSC guys. The ICSE results had been declared two weeks ago. The SSC results were declared 2 days ago.. The happy faces however did not belong to the ssc guys.. Ofcourse they had scored 85%+ which during our times were decent scores, but the jubilation had somewhat been dampened by the scores of the icse dudes.. The lowest icse score in the class was 87%.. The avg icse score was 90%. At that score any ssc guy would be famous in his galli and mahulla, with aunties coming to him and asking him bout what coaching class should her son should join and stuff like that!

Now getting admission in Mumbai is fierce competition, more so in the central suburbs, simply coz there are more students than college seats, not to mention 50% reservation(subject of a different post) and various regional quotas.. Every mark counts, and when you see guys from a different board getting scores as high as 92% , simply coz 90 marks in languages are gettable for them whereas only a handful of ssc students get those kinda scores in languages, you cant help feeling sorry for yourself..

AR's classes continued well into the admission season. You expected colleges to do something bout this gap in the scoring of the two boards. They didnt do nothing..! You expected the State board to intervene.. It didnt do nothing..! The icse guys got admissions in the first list itself.. Ruia, Ruparel were easy pickings.. Sies and Khalsa were too downmarket.. Sies was chosen only by those who wanted their education to be free.. Sies offered full scholarship to anyone scoring more than 90%.. Yeah that included even the icse guys. And the city was full of 90+ icse students.. I lost respect for the college after that.. 

The ssc students  on the other hand were waiting for the second and the third lists. The ones with less than 85%, like me, waited for the fourth list..

Rejection is a big deal when you are young.. When you dont make it in the first 3 lists, its the college telling u that u aren't fit to be in the elite.. You aren't good. You don't meet the standard. Its what a designer feels when his designs get rejected, its like when a filmmakers feels when his movie flops.. But it is tougher here - here YOU are the product..!
The filmmaker can come up with a better movie next, but how are you gonna come up with a better - YOU?

Admists the turmoil of thoughts and emotions, I remember telling myself - "I will make them take me in the next time.. "
Such wisdom could come only from the very young and the super naive..

Now that I look back at those 2 years after ssc that I slogged, I realise I did it to prove to those colleges how wrong they were.. And how their "elite" students wont make it to the Engineering college that I will make it to.. And yet, the thought itself is so wonderfully stupid that I cant help but feel proud of it.

Summer of 2008.
Siemens Design office.

As I was flipping through the newspaper, I came across this article bout a new "system" that will  be introduced this year. It said that the ssc students needed a fairer trial versus their peers in other boards. It said that Icse board had a liberal marking scheme and to normalise that, the govt. has come out with system. 

I couldn't believe what I was reading.. This is what I have been saying all this years! I finally had it in print! Some smart guys in the govt. had finally taken notice of the injustice imparted to ssc students and had come up with a plan.. 

Cynicism disappeared.. Idealism returned.. Justice does that to you. This system was not gonna affect me in any way. I was through studies and college. So were all my friends and everyone I was close to. But I still couldn't help feeling happy that atleast someone will get a fair deal. Finally after all these years, the govt took notice. Thank you Education minister.. You are the man! 

The number of ssc students in the elite colleges doubled! Ruia, Ruparel, HR, Xaviers were, all of sudden, within reach.. Ssc students were finally getting what their marks were worth.

Summer of 2008
Mulund Residence

Last Saturday, I woke up to this - IT'S CANNED

The Mumbai High Court has ordered the Govt. to can the system they used for admissions. They say the system used isnt fair on the Icse students.

Now the system :
Lets say you score 83% in ICSE. And lets say the avg percentage of first 10 rankers of ISCE board in the state is 98%, then your percentile will be - (83/98)*100=84.69%ile

Lets say you score 83% in SSC. And lets say the avg percentage of first 10 rankers of SSC board in the state is 93%(yeah! thts the wide gap in the marking I was talking bout... ), then your percentile will be - (83/93)*100=89.24%ile

Pray tell me Mr. Chief Justice Swantanter Kumar, how is this system flawed??!! 

Lets assume that you are right, after all you have read a lotta law books and passed from the best schools(Icse were they?), what do you intend to do about this situation? since we are canning this system, is the govt. allowed to come up with a new one? Or do we go back to like it was all these years? 

I have nothing against the Icse guys, some of them are close friends of mine. Half of my cousins are from the Icse board. Many readers of this blog are Icse educated. I think Icse educated guys are very intelligent. They know bout a lotta things. They are exceptionally good at Indian and World History. And are also good at Science, esp. Physics. My knowledge of Icse students is limited to my cousins and my friends, so my observations are an extrapolation of it... 

But you cant deny that Icse is liberal when it comes to marks, and when it comes to admissions ssc students always get a raw deal.. Maybe, just maybe, this new system was unfair to the Isce students, but then, all these years have been unfair to us..   

I read somewhere -"Part of growing up is taking what you learnt from that and not taking it to heart...". 
Mr. Chief Justice, I am taking this to heart, not for myself, but for the thousands of kids who coz of your esteemed decision will have to learn that life is unfair and live with it.. Not that I dont want them to know that, we all figure that out eventually, its just that adulthood can wait, 15 yr olds shouldnt have to go through this..

For the record, no Icse student from A R's class of 2001 could make it to my Engineering college.. 

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Shopping in the Ladies section...

Picture this - You are roaming around in a mall..In and out the overpriced showrooms... Shelf shopping through the Mens section..

Shelf shopping coz you are still in the last year of college and cant afford this stuff... You are going through the different types of shirts and jeans that are on the shelf..Denims are in, six pockets are out, or capris are they called?

And whats with the commando prints? What guy in the right state of mind would wear something like that.?! Just then a middleaged uncle with a paunch to show for walks by you wearing the same commando shirt.. Hmm... thts the kind of guy!!

You are browsing through the casuals section, then on to the Formals, then accessories and then you stand at the entrance of that section of the mall where thou haventh venturedth yetth - The ladies section.. You dare not enter.. There are women all around and there are clothes, all girlie clothes and there are a few men giving company to their respective ladies.. every third guy has a baby balanced precariously on his right arm..

You look at those men.. You knell down..God.. Please dont let me one of those men.. Please dont ever make me enter this section..ever..

Then you see men at the payment counter.. Paying for the shopping escapades of their girlfriends, wives or sisters..

You think to yourself, what kinda sucker buys from stores this overpriced!! These men into high paying jobs, loaded with money, pushing consumerism to the limit.. You think to yourself, When I start earning, I will not spend in such overpriced stores..

You see a guy with 3 bags at the counter.. He has a lady with him, shes going through the dresses in the bag... Theres a smile on her face which refuses to quit..

You look at the guy...You cant help feeling sorry for the guy.

He swipes his credit card.. turns back and looks at you looking at him.. and smiles..
That story..

One year hence, you have a job.. Amongst design software and hard core Engineering there is no time for shelf shopping.. You have decent salary and your bank account has started to smile..

The sister has to pursue a professional course and needs a few new dresses.. Now the sister does believe in my taste when it comes to apparel, this is one the very few things she gives me credit for..

So she decides to punch my smiling bank account in the face.. she took(read dragged) me to the costliest showroom in this part of the world..

We entered the mall.. We passed through the Mens section, casual wear then formal wear.. We were getting closer, then came the accessories section.. There I was standing at entrance of the section where men had their salaries drained... hours spent... credit cards maxed..

While I had a grave look on my face calculating how much this was gonna cost me, the sister was as excited as a kid in a amusement park!!

So wht are you looking for?
Party wear..!
What? You are getting into a Professional college.. You think theres gonna be time for parties?!
I just want this one dress..
For the rest of the formal ones we will come back again..

My eyes started searching for discounts.. Where were all the discounts when you needed them?
I saw some % sign at a distance.. I was pulled by its magnetic presence to its direction.. 40% discount.. Cool.. Just what I needed.. Checked out some tops there.. Rs.1940.. Hmm.. 40% off on 1940, that is..er.. A pretty salesgirl stood there smiling..
"Sir, that is the discounted price.."

I lost my love for arithmetic after that.. I just stood there looking at salesgirl for 1 minute, then at the top for another minute, then looking at her again for one minute.. then she got bored of the routine and left..

The sister by that time had found 3 dresses she liked..She handed me the three dresses to hold while she shopped for more..

I thought u didnt like green..
Oh I meant emerald green.. this is bottle green..
I see..

The sister was getting deeper and deeper into the section. You see, the ladies section is pretty much like a city. On the outskirts of the city you get cheap (relatively) real estate.. But as you move deeper into the city, the real estate prices shoot up.. Similarly, the cost of apparels increases as you keep going deeper and deeper.. Then we arrived at the "core" area.. The Nariman point of the ladies section.. This section is usually occupied by 30 somethings businesswomen or iit-iim grads who earn enough to make grown men cry!

An hour later we had found around 5-6 dresses (some of which were from the "core" area) which she had to try on..I had three tops on my left hand, a maroon, peach and a black number.. On the right hand had I had a green, er I mean bottle green top, a pink one and a off-white one..

Then came the trying on the dresses.. You are allowed only 2 dresses inside the changing room...Here comes my part in the evening...the brother has to stand out with the rest of the 4 dresses and has to approve of the dresses he finds classy enough for his sister to wear..

So I am standing there outside the ladies changing room.. And getting those stares you get when you accidentally board a female compartment in the local train..!

I take this opportunity to go through the price tags.. All 4 digit price tags all of a sudden seemed less classy to me :P And yes, that included even the ones with "cheeky" prices like Rs.995.. I
mean even a 5th grader knows that trick..

After a gruesome half an hr of trying on the dresses, we zeroed in on one black number which I can safely say was the classiest of all dresses we had chosen..

Half an hour of alterations on the dress and we were ready to move on to the payment counter..
As the sister was busy adoring her dress, I was shelling out a few big Mahatmas..

I looked around I saw some college students looking at me.. Giving me that look, the look that I thought I had invented..

And I looked at the sister.. Still adoring her dress.. A smile adoring her face.. All grownup she was, all of 18 years, but I still see her as an 8 yr old who needs me to fetch things for her.. And all those mahatmas be damned, I would give them away for that smile.. And those college guys will know only when their sisters ask them to buy a dress for her... They will realise that its all worth it..

I swiped my credit card.. turned back and looked at the college guys looking at me.. and smiled..
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