Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Why did I have to learn tens of poems - each in Malayalm, English and Hindi - by heart, and remember and reproduce eight lines from these poems (they will tell where to start) in the examination? I never understood most of the poems, I just by hearted them. I still cannot read simple poetry.

Why, in the language examinations, they used to give an obscure sentence from the whole text book, and then tell us - explain the context and meaning of this sentence. You needed to know the whole book by heart to know where this sentence came from. In Basheer's Paathummayude Aadu - our "Malayalam second" textbook for tenth standard - some of the sentences asked in the exam appeared in more than one place, but with very minor difference. But your answer should be about the exact one.

Why, in all the biology drawings, the beauty of the drawing was so important, and not the scientific structure and functionality? Should'nt a student be allowed to approximate a printed drawing, if he/she maintains the structure and function correctly, because it is a scientific drawing, and not art? But if one did that, drawing a non-beautiful but correct drawing, the teacher would tell him: Repeat!

Many teachers told us that for the final, state level exam in class ten, the evaluators will be from other disciplines, that is, a Malayalam or History teacher might evaluate Physics or Math, and they might be even from "Malayalam medium" and may not know even English let alone the subject, hence they would just go by the solution provided to them (in which there will be two bulleted "points" for a two mark question etc.), and hence the key was to produce these "points" our answer papers, which could be done by memorizing the text book and regurgitating it exactly. So if you learnt the subject well, that is, understood it well, and wrote the answers in your own words, the teachers would just strike them out.

And why, many teachers used to tell us that masturbation is a sin and must never be done? That playing, sports and music is a waste of time, instead study and good marks in the Secondary School Leaving Examination?

That even though we used to have 1 hour of sport, painting and music per week, they were always free hours (the teacher would never come), and we used to just talk, or go home. And in the rare case of a "PT" teacher coming to the class, he used to call a random guy or a girl, and ask him/her to repeat the specific exercise he had taught, in the same exact order. If he/she didnt remember, or did a minor mistake: 5 beatings on the palm with his big cane. Those "PT" hours were hell, one was so afraid, and inevitably, several would be crying due to the beatings at the end of an hour of that class.

Why,in all the schools I studied, the "PT" teachers were the most dreaded men? And why was playing cricket in the school ground banned, and we were asked by the Head Master with a cane to run off to classes and study, even at the breaks between classes and even in the evening after school time?

And why, we used to write in all compositions, that Hindi hamaara rashtra bhaasha hein, that Hindi is our national language, when India doesnt have a National Language? That Onam is the national festival of Kerala, celebrated by all religions equally, when it was not really true? If we wrote the truth, what would have happened?

On and on....

(I am in the middle of probably the last exams in my life. Was talking to a friend about our old exams, etc. Nostalgia.)


കുഞ്ചുമ്മാന്‍ said...

Arun...enjoyed the post to fullest...i agree to it completely...waiting for the next post

Arun said...

:) thanks for your comment, kunjummaan....