My son has just got admission into a nursery school. Though we had started teaching him the alphabet and how to count from when he was 5 months old, it took him more than 5 attempts since he reached the age of 1 and a half to get into a half decent nursery school. The first few schools suggested that he was slow and didn’t match up to their expectations because he could not count the sheep, sing Ba Ba Black sheep and spell the whole rhyme correctly.
We tried really hard, but then finally managed to put the fear of the Right to Education in the principal who interviewed him last. It also helped that the school was yet to get some European sounding certification and had only managed to prefix a ‘St.’ in front of its name to create an impression. I am, therefore, truly thankful to your foresight and vision in passing such a law. If not for you, I don’t know how many interviews my son would have had to attend.
Though my son has somehow managed to cross this first hurdle of his career, his first test results have me worried. Mr. Sibal, as you are aware, the Delhi University cut offs are 100% this year. If they keep increasing at this rate, by the time my son clears his boards, I am sure the cut off would be at least 150% if not more. And in his first alphabet and numbers test, my son has only scored 98%. Going by this rate, at the height of his teen angst years, when he would be giving his boards, his percentage is likely to drop to 95%. There will be a 55% deficit and I am unable to comprehend how he would bridge that.
This has me losing sleep. While you have very generously ensured children do not go without basic education, there is no law by which I would be able to exhort the college principal to admit my child.
At first I thought to write to you to add a clause about Right to Higher Education within your Right to Education (RTE) law. But then I realised the folly of this simple inclusion. While this would guarantee my son and other children a basic college education, there will still be hurdles to overcome. Their future employers could very well say they do not want employees from colleges that did not teach You Can Win jargon. And even if they did employ them, they might not get respect from our society that now wants even Rajnikant to go fair and sport blonde hair.
You might now say that you cannot spoon feed my child at every move. Well, kind sir, that is not what I am asking for. But if my child was to live with a modicum of respect in our society, I think the least I can ask you is to allow him to be ordinary, because sir, as I see it, it is not the pressure to excel, but the pressure to confirm to a universal level of ‘coolness’ that plagues all our children. It is for this that I plead, that as part of an ‘Aam Aadmi’ centric party, you kind sir, should pass a law called the Right To Be Ordinary (RTBO). Here are a few clauses I would like to see in this new law :
1. Thou shalt not sneer at another’s Bata hawai chappals.
2. Thou shalt include at least one 70% or less scorer in your school group.
3. Thou shalt not splash muck from your BMW on the one walking to school just for kicks.
4. Thou shalt not discriminate on the basis of the address of the college/school.
5. Thou shalt not air ‘NG’ (not good) rehearsals of misguided wannabe artistes in reality TV contests just for laughs.
6. Thou shalt not demand everyone wear designer clothes and have straight hair.
7. Thou shalt not seek only IIT-IIM grooms for your child.
8. Thou shalt not belittle those who have never had a KFC burger, watched How I Met Your Mother or heard of Lady Gaga.
I could go on and on, but you being extraordinarily intelligent, I am sure have got the drift sir. This law is extremely important sir, or I fear, the children of this country will be forever divided into the ‘ordinary’ and IB-ites (International Baccalaureate). I request you therefore, to come up with a legal draft for this as soon as possible and protect the future of the majority of children in this country.
An ordinary parent.