Halfway through through my undergraduate days, I look back in time to ponder over the times which passed by. Memories come flooding into my mind – but the ones of which I think the most, are those which had no no time to think. The two years which I believe every science student in India has experienced – The Last Two Years of Schooling. So here is what comes to my mind when I think of the two years…
Time: 4:30 AM
Alarm Beeping… Sudden Realisation – “I overslept for 30 minutes… Oh no!”
Looking at the heap of books… Rushing towards the washroom; and then back – for what – Studies of course! To battle out questions to be exact

“I overslept… How could I…
Anyhow Subject for the day – Chemistry
Target: 120 Questions – 1 hour
Timer Set

And then the poor notebook of mine… Going through all the pains as structures of weird, poisonous and dangerous chemicals were drawn through. My mind, immersed in solving the questions – we and only we do know how ‘unscientifically’ did we reason them out.

Time’s up!
I feel the sun on the horizon.
Time to check the answers…
” aadc…aadc; bbdb…bbdc.
Oh no! c… How! Why! I was sure that it was b!
Anyhow -1 instead of 3. 4 marks gone. Continue checking”

“191 out of 360…
Not enough!
What’s the time now… 6:45…
Mom! Breakfast!!”

Had the breakfast – get ready – and rush…
“Why do they have a rule for 70% attendance?
Else I would have more time solve questions.
What the crap!”

In the school…
Lecture going on
Me – on the first bench – solving questions of a test paper – not related to the class in anyway.
Now there arise two questions
First – How dare I do so?
Answer – Special privilege of being the ‘brightest’ in class. I don’t know how did they decide it. I was not the topper.. was the second rank holder (that damn girl – how much could she study?). Anyways, I did have the permissions for an open betrayal of the class.

Second – Why did I?
Answer – Because everyone did so. After all we were a bunch of more than 1 million students struggling for less than 4 thousand seats. We were preparing for IIT-JEE. The competition: immense; the craze: boundless…

Return from the school – 2:30 PM
Take a bath, have a lunch – and then off to coaching – The Factory to produce studious stupid Human Machines so that they can be dumped into an engineering college.

In the van, taking us to the coaching centre, we had the moments where we gossiped with our friends. Topics of discussion – how many questions did one solve for the day; were there any good question banks available; or what are our odds of being selected in the exam.

Then we reached the coaching centres. The place where they claimed to ‘teach’ us science; they taught us how to solve questions. The system was too mechanical…

9:00 PM – Back to home – Dinner – Study again (but this time with heavy eyelids).
And as the clock struck 11 o’ clock. My eyelids gave up for the day.


Those were the days of a blind struggle. Aims in life were: Solve questions till the last breath; learn less – only to the extent required to solve questions. No problems if you score less in an exam if you can ensure that others too score less. Those were the days of competition… to crush others and strive forward…

Such is the life of a typical class XII student of science in India. The funny part is they don’t understand what they are doing. And FYI, the ‘Science’ students here do no science… What they do is ‘Engineering Preparation’ in official language and ‘Moving in a flock of sheep’ in the actual sense.

What they do is not my choice, but by force. The society forces you to do what you are doing. Here engineering is the default branch of study if you choose science and maths during schooling. If you enroll in a ‘science’ course in the college, it is implied that you did not get an engineering seat…

And today as I sit in a science college writing this stuff up, you must be thinking, what happened next. The battle way long and twists to the story remain. But those I save for another day.