Posted by: akilamoni | April 5, 2008

Oh no not again!

My day started with this article. It recounts the travails of parents who are trying to get their kid admitted into school.

I am kind of stuck. I should display my “Oh I can understand” side first or my “shake my head in disbelief” side!

Well, I will go with my understanding side. School admission process I hear can be very painful. My friend’s sister prepared for her interview(for her child’s admission to LKG in an international school). Donations are a known secret. Often articles appear on the atrocity in the name of selection process. A far cry from my LKG admission process where a friendly nun asked me if I would give her my bindi!! I came out to find two other kids who had their “interview”after me. All three of us continued in the same school till our XII std. A far cry from any of the menagerie these days!

The School sent us an email to “informally” come by its sprawling campus in tony Vasant Vihar, the section of New Delhi known for wide lanes, trees, embassies and kirana shops stocked with authentic European cheese and chocolates. We were told to arrive at noon—without our daughter.

At 11.45, the line stretched on to the road.
“Yikes,” I said. “They invited everyone.”

-What were you thinking lady?!

Then there were the other factors on our side: Her birth certificate showing she was born in the US.

Now, I wonder why that birth certificate would have given her child an access to the best school in the neighbourhood?

Our turn came and went in a blink. Neither Nitin nor I, products of the US education and employment system, have ever sat through a group discussion where we are being judged (debate team does not count.) We were asked: “Why this school?”

The arrangement just looked like a group setting where parents just answered the same question. Nobody tried to cut them short.Nobody refuted or agreed with them. It might have been what is commonly referred to as the group interview!!!

I had never even heard of the place, so I assumed it was a mid-level institution. She got in.

I hadnt heard of it hence the school is a “Mid-level” institution. I hear of it, then it automatically qualifies for  “high- level” institution. My sari wearing neighbour mentions it-must be meant for the poor kids!

I finally figured out why I am so upset about this whole school admissions fiasco. Education is the linchpin of possibility here. A lack of it holds countless people back. Access to it transforms lives. That this key to India’s future remains mired in so much muck, from corruption to connections, is deeply troubling and enough cause to cease believing.

Oh Amazing! And that is like saying, I went to bed hungry tonight because of a cockroach I found in the dish I ordered from the hotel. No wonder people in Indian villages are starving.

The writer wants her child to go to a school where they wouldnt burden the child with A for apple.Why is A for apple bad? Because there are million other kids saying that?

My father went to Don Bosco in Guwahati, no small feat for the child of a village farmer/contractor and an illiterate mother. His access to an education literally changed the course of his life.

Thank God his parents didnt want him to paint purple bananas out of the line. Neither did they want to see him play in the sand in his play school.

This is something I have always held against the “ones who return to India”.

Often statements are passed about how India is going to the dogs. Things will never improve here and so on.

I say when you come to India, expect India. Expect Chaos. Pray for super human powers. After all we are the mytical land of Incredible India. Things are not perfect. Not often logical.

We come with a culture. It is like, staying in New Delhi and cribbing about the “New Delhi” attitude. Of course people are going to be brash. Of course they will show off. You cant stop them from being what they are.

Would any the visiting Indian firangs think of asking the Uber rich moms of NY to take care of their kids without a nanny.

This what we do. We live in this chaotic country. We crib about it.Things are mostly never rational. Sometimes we try and do something about it. Other times we just live our lives and mind our own work. We fight it out here.

So take it, try and reform it if you want or just leave it.



  1. It is not a problem of them having something against India…It is more of a problem of them letting themselves dream and romanticize their vision of India which just happens to be like NY or London or anywhere but here. They think of India of the nation with so much potential and yet fail to admire the way it manages to survive the onslaught of critics of all creed and colour. I think the very fact that India can absorb all of these people with their different dreams, different cultures, different visions of India itself and different mindsets is testimony to its beauty. Atleast it doesn’t convert everyone to a Mcchewing, coke carrying self absorbed person.

  2. […] face or trying to imitate Donald duck? If that is not creativity, I wonder what is…. Akila has a neat post on another one of the author’s article. I like to think I am a bright, […]

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