As we grow older, we begin to understand the dynamics of our expectations from our lives. What then seemed like burgeoning beetles of tough times crawling into our psyche, we know that these petty, as they may seem now, childhood experiences are in all means, humbling and crucial.

I was recently invited to a wedding from a school friend. In our school days, he was a school topper, a math guru and my class mate, we shared a few classes together. He is now pursuing his Doctoral studies from a prestigious institution in the States. As I was looking through my inbox to find his email id to send him my post-wedding congratulatory note, I happened to chance upon the emails we had exchanged a few years back. This friend of mine, and me, and some many other 12th Grade students were among those who succumbed to the blight of the Indian education system.

We fell into the category of students who were striving hard and meticulously to top school exams in Biology, Social Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Math, and the languages, all the way through middle school and high school, so that we could get admission into THE (so-called) top ranked ‘best’ school in the city. We were in the last two years of our schooling, at the pinnacle (no exaggeration, that was exactly how it was perceived) of our career curve: college admissions. Sadly, those two years did not turn out the way we had planned it go. Slowly, as the pressure kept mounting, we were unable to handle the pressure positively, and began losing our perspective on things.

The exploding population, limited number of affordable National Institutes, the lack of awareness of non-professional degree programs, and the cherry-on-the-top being the reservation a.k.a caste system regulations, are just a few of the many social issues responsible for creating that humongous mental pressure on every student appearing for the State wide and National wide Examinations conducted for streamlining admissions into University Programs. While some students survive, some reign in success, some students succumb to the pressure and are shocked in disbelief.

Having gone through this personal setback myself, I can still feel the scar of my 12th Grade School experience that had uninvitingly imposed itself on me. For me, for my friend and for all others who had such similar tragic experiences, what came afterwards had drastically changed the path of our careers, friendships, self confidence, and our understanding of life and the society.

Congrats my friend – I am proud of you, too.