27 May 2017 18:51 IST


With apologies to John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Jawaharlal Nehru, MK Gandhi and all those who live as they think

I have a dream
Not grand but not unlike Martin Luther King,
And I can imagine
Inspired by John Lennon,
Don’t try to colonise my mind:
Haven’t you heard of MK Gandhi?
You sure know how to stomp the light out of my life,
Yes, now I get what Jawaharlal Nehru meant.

I wish there were no exams
No nights spent bent over tomes
Committing to a flogged memory
Words, sentences and paragraphs that suck.

I am hostage to fits of panic attacks
And acidity, shivering my days and nights alone,
While everyone else’s watching tv
Or hanging out on the beach for some young-people fun.

The tension runs electric from mom to mom
Compelled to stay ahead of the neighbours,
While I am constantly sweating the stuff
And feeling like a bloody loser.

In school we come to blows over half-a-mark
And drown in answers blanked out of the head.
Frankly, I hate winners, their guts,
And I never want to get out of bed.

Have you listed the names of capitals
Before you had quite turned three? (I did.)
Or named the pictures on posters
Or was forced to be a performing flea?
(Sing, darling, that song about Frere Jacques…
Come on, you know it,
Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!

Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.)
Come on baby, sing…
She usually sings very well, it’s French you know,
My child is very clever.
Sing, you know it, Sing….
No Chhota Bheem for you if you don’t sing…
I don’t know why…..
Yup, that’s me.

Why stuff the head with useless matter
When there’s so much more to explore?
But you say no, no time for all that
Focus on your exams, nothing else, nothing more.

But I have ideas and things on my list
Because the things you love mean more,
For which there are no prizes to live or die for
And nobody cares how much you score.
When you ask that unaskable question:
So, how did it go, your paper today?
I honestly don’t know what to answer,
Cos I know you don’t hear what I say.
(You better score over 99% or else no future for you… it’s your choice.
In any case, no cable tv, no eating out,
no going out with friends, and certainly
no reading books or watching movies…
You choose. It’s all up to you. We don’t mind what you decide.
But remember, no future…)

Is that what education’s all about?
In the end to feel unworthy to be alive?
And the only thing that matters
Is some numbers between 0 and 9?

I refuse to walk within parallel lines
And care about things that mean nothing to me.
I’d rather we banned exams, excommunicated them, sent them to the
outermost edges of time…
What a wonderful world that would be!

Or are you saying what’s life without exams?