Board Exams Conundrum


(Article written exclusively for India Today)


It's that dreaded time of the year again, when the heavenly powers above are back in demand and revered only so you can make it to the passing mark in that math paper you've always hated. For my international readers, board exams in Indian schools are equivalent to the IGCSE A/O levels.

Back in the day, entertainment options were quite scarce. People derived entertainment by rotating the radio antenna to all possible angles till the sound was clear enough, only to discover that a demotivated All India RJ was addressing the nation on the various types of pesticides that might be effective in crop cultivation.

A new form of entertainment was the need of the hour. So, a long long time ago, a bunch of grumpy old men sat in a conference room and passionately debated with each other about how they could create an entertainment ecosystem where judging and humiliating random kids would become a much loved sport in our society. And voila! The treacherous board exams were invented.

Like most fellow Indians, my first exposure to board exams was in class 10 - that stage where extra large genital diagrams are printed in biology textbooks, thereby virtually guaranteeing many awkward silences during class, all year long.

Motivation is very critical at this stage. We had our seniors give us pep talks about how they scored 99 per cent in the board exams and the clouds split apart, and soon enough, blonde Russian women popped out of the sky to oil their fictitious six-pack abs.

Preparation for board exams is the next mammoth task. It's not board exams till the time you start getting bombarded from all ends with the so-called "very important questions". Teachers come up with these questions after applying probability and regression theories, coupled with loads of "eenie meenie miney moe" analysis. Now, cramming answers to these questions can supposedly pave your way to intellectual supremacy. Mind you, these questions are leaked onl