Tag Archives: And Then One Day

The Curious Case of a Young Boy #BookBytes 29

Hola friends.

I’ve been re-reading the biography of Naseeruddin Shah, the actor. I have enjoyed watching his films and some of them have stayed with me even though I watched them decades ago – Sparsh and Masoom to name two off the top of my head.

In his autobiography he talks with a candour seldom seen in film actors. But this is not a review. Today I pick a piece where he talks about his childhood.

Never a good student, he failed twice in grade 9. Here’s what he had to say about his tryst with academics.

I excelled in English but that was all. Maths was totally beyond me as were Physics and Chemistry, and as for Trigonometry……! It’s kind of bemusing to wonder how come it never occurred to any of my teachers to investigate the curious case of this child who always got the highest marks in the class in English literature and composition, yet failed in grammar.

– Naseeruddin Shah, And Then One Day – A Memoir

How could teachers have missed this?

What’s more food for thought, is that even now, when much is said to have changed in the academic world, things remain pretty much the same. Even with less than 30 children in a class students suffer from lack of evaluation that goes beyond text book knowledge. Even now Maths and Science remain the badge of honour worn proudly only by ‘smart students’.

The only positive change, as I see, is that there are more options available beyond maths and science. That is heartening, however it will be decades before societal perceptions in India change.

Do you think the Indian education system has changed over the years?

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