Today I want to talk about my cousin. She is currently appearing for her final board exams this month. She has come a long way.
My cousin had suffered from Schizophrenia in her early teens and it was heart-breaking to experience as a family. After several visits to the therapist and taking medicine which weakened her in a way that was just cruel…she made it through. I’m going to be honest; I don’t know exactly what it’s like because we don’t discuss it in details. But she is very conscientious. She refrains from watching movies even today because she is scared that it might be a trigger for relapse. Where teenagers, hang out and just have fun, my sister is very cautious in selecting the occasions she hangs out with her friends in. Some of her friends are supportive of her condition but I’m sad to say that it’s been quite difficult for her in being accepted just the way she is.
Sometimes I have myself lost patience in dealing with her and for that I am regretful. Why am I writing about her now? It has to do with her exams. The first of her board exams started yesterday. And she came home crying. Because she had a panic attack in the examination hall. She was sad because she had left out a question worth 20 marks in her paper. This paper was not an important one. But I have something to say about the tremendous hullabaloo and competition that has evolved in our education system. The kind where you getting accepted in the college of your choice is based on how (many decimals) close you’ve hit the hundred mark. If we are really expected to be this perfect so early on in our lives, then I truly don’t understand the aspirations and dreams we want the next generation to grow up with. We are not nurturing human beings, more like a conveyor belt full of assembled robots manufactured to meet the system’s needs.
The stress is high for people in general, but for special individuals like my cousin, it gets beyond acceptable. It is affecting her confidence, her self-esteem and everything in between. She thinks over everything that is said to her, trying to find derogatory jibes directed to her, when there are none. That’s how lowly she has begun to think of herself. Because she’s scared that she will mess up all her papers that are to follow. She is scared about pretty much anything and everything these days.
At this point there is little I can do but pray. There is little my cousin can do but cope. And I sincerely hope that times change and marks become obsolete. Because they are just triple or double digits which begin to mean very little when you start weighing a person’s sense of well-being, self-respect and love.