Friday, June 25, 2010

Whom do you consider as a role model in your life (Part II)

The next incident came after a gap of 2-3 years. I had just completed Class 4. I had decided to switch to an english medium school(May be what that uncle in Part I told had an impact on me). But which school i should  join was still in debate. All the options were listed. The advantages and disavdvantages of joining various schools were brainstormed. We had even made a few visits to schools to get the first hand information. But nothing had materialized. It was at this moment that some-one recommended an ICSE school called Jyothi Vidya Niketan to him.

I had studied in a kannada medium school where English was just one subject(all other subjects were taught in kannada) and that too it started only from standard 3. I had just completed standard 4. So I had two years experience in the language of English. All that I had learned till then was A for Apple,B for Ball,.....Z for Zebra. And there was a chapter at the end of the text book in standard 4. It was the story of two sheep trying to cross a bridge. I still remember those days a small kid when I used to turn pages to the last chapter in the book, stare at the images of two sheep crossing the bridge, unable to read or understand what the random jumble of those 26 alphabets of English, in various combinations and permutations meant. But whenever I turned to that particular chapter I always felt that one day I should be able to read and write English in such a brilliant way that these words should appear to me like a piece of cake-walk.

 I had this desire in me to learn English, but when my dad told me that I should attempt the entrance test of Jyothi School(English medium ICSE school). I outrightly said no to him. He was disappointed with my response but he hid those feelings and continued as if nothing had happened.  He said something, the value of  which I didn't understand then, as a kid. But today whenever I remember those words, my eyes go wet and I feel like hugging my Dad. He said  "మేము ఎట్లు ఇంగ్లిష్ చెదవలేదు, నువ్వైనా బాగా ఇంగ్లిష్ చెదివే వాడివి కావాలి"(memu etlu english chedavaledu, nuvvaina baaga english chedive vaadive kaaavaaali) which translates to "We were not able to read english, atleast you should become a man who can read and write and good english". Now i can feel the weight of emotions those words carry, but sadly I was not able to understand it as a kid. Hence these words didn't convince me to write the entrance test. In addition to this whoever heard of my dad's wish laughed off saying that it was very difficult to clear the entrance test of the school and that even their own kids who studied in other english medium schools were not able to clear the entrance test. These feedbacks further dampened my confidence and i felt vindicated thinking I was right in deciding not to take the entrance test. But all these didn't even seem reduce my dad's hopes, not even by an inch. I don't know what made him so stubborn. I don't know whether it was his confidence in me or his strong desire that his son should study in a good english medium school, but one thing was very clear he had made up his mind that I would go to that school. And he was ready to do anything make sure that I will end up in that school.

And thus he started his process of getting me to  write the entrance test(He must have been very sure that if I give the test, I will clear it).
But i was hell bent on not going to an english medium school(moreover an ICSE school) as it was a nightmare for me. How could I amagine myself  amongst students who have been speaking english since there childhood, and me sitting in between them not able to understand a word of what they are saying.  They could all be making fun of me and laughing, and all i can do is smile back at them not knowing what else to do. But it all changed in an instant. Onc fine day my dad made me sit with him and explained me clearly as to  why he wanted me to give(or take) the entrance test and why he wanted me to go to that particular school. I was beginning to get convinced and he could see a small crack in my armour. The moment he spotted that I was beginning to get convinced, he played his best card. "Go to that college and stand amongst top three rankers in your class, and you shall have a TVS Astra(a new gearless bike back then)", he said. Going to school in a bike, when you are in 6th standard was a temptatin too big for any school going kid to resist and I was no exception. I fell for it and started preparing for the entrance exam. My Dad was a happy man but he kept his fingers crossed.

With my preparation started an era in which my house filled with hysteria, and it would last till my entrance test was over. Every member in the family did his part to help me and support me. My dad was the motivator, mom was my teacher and my aunt was my visiting faculty. As my aunt was born and brought up in bangalore and had a fair exposure to english, my mom would ask me to cosult her whenever there something my mom could not resoves. My mom had her innovative ways of teaching english(MyFirstTeacher), which came to my rescue not only in the entrance test but also through out my life.How can I forget those lovely days, when a whole family considered an entrance test of their kid as a test for the whole family and each one chipped in with whatever they could. When you have such a wonderful family believe me clearing any entrance test is a no big deal at all. All of them had trusted their hopes in me and I indeed delievered. I cleared the test though i had relatively scored less in english compared to other subjects. All the tricks that my mom taught me and common sense that I had gained from my father came to my rescue. Let me quote an example : In my school maths was taught in kannada. So i had only known ವ್ರುತ್ತ,ತ್ರಿಭುಜ,ಚತುರ್ಭುಜ and so on. I knew that ವ್ರುತ್ತ was a cirlce, and ಚತುರ್ಭುಜ was a square as we use it generally in telugu also. But I didn't know what was the term for ತ್ರಿಭುಜ. There was a question that said draw an equilateral triangle. Both the words were new to me. But from my common sense i deduced that  triangle should be ತ್ರಿಭುಜ and equilateral  should be something related to equal. So I was able to figure out  what an equilateral triange may be and solved the question. It might appear trivial to you guys now. But believe me it was a no mean feat for me to figure it out then and I was indeed proud of it for almost an year.

After clearing the entrance test, the evvironment of hysteria that had surrounded my house turned into that of an elation. Few parents whose kids couldn't clear the test were jealous, while other were very appreciative of my feat. Everybody in my home were happy, but amongst there was a man who was not just happy but was proud of me : My Dad. I was his hero for that moment. But what he doesn't know that he was my hero, he is and he will be. 

Finally I went to the school that my Dad wanted me to go to. After my initial hiccups(I will blog about this soem time), i topped the class by the end of the year. My dad didn't get me the gift that he had promised. I never bugged him for the gift. I don't know why..?
But the motivation that gift had given me was so valuable that actual value of the gift appeared insignificant. The wagon(if i can call a bike so) that my dad had promised was never delievered to me, but the wagon that would take me anywhere  where I wanted to go, was defenitely delievered to me : English.

This was my second lesson in management : The value of motivation provided by a gift is much more than the inherent value of the gift.

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