Alright, continuing where I stopped yesterday, I would like to tell you that the incidents in this part of my journey changed a great deal in me and brought in fresh perspective in life.
Beginning Grade 5, I started attending school in Mumbai. It was a new experience for a kid who grew all his life in Bihar (and Jharkhand before it was formed).
I was unlucky to not get the school bus facility and had to change 2 BEST (Mumbai City) buses to go to school and come back home. But this turned out to be the best thing that could happen to me in Mumbai. I enjoyed coming home alone, travelling all over the city, eat roadside sandwich sometimes. I also started getting Rs 20 as pocket money per month. I was thrilled beyond measure. I started doing my own work, pay my own fees, etc, etc (and I was pushed into this independence by none other than my parents)
In Mumbai, I was encouraged to do a great deal in school. I was into dramatics, music, quiz, cricket, football, basketball, etc at school and house levels along with having distinction in studies. I had earned the badge of the fastest bowler (cricket) in my grade and also the school. I was loved by friends (compared to Grades Prep and 1 where I had zero friends). But, I had started losing interest in studies and preferred reading novels, encyclopedia, and general knowledge books along with the daily dose of newspaper.
My school was in South Mumbai, I lived in South Mumbai where all my friends were rich folks (but with exceptional natures). But I was not – I was a middle class kid and I could not live like them. I realized that as a kid in Grade 5 and never went out with my friends apart from school except after exams where I took a standard Rs 100 note from my mother to go bowling with friends. That was it, I knew the value of money at that age.
After Mumbai, we shifted to Ranchi in Grade 8 where immediately I got severe jaundice. I had to be bed ridden for 4 months and missed a complete semester at my new school and joined in only in October. Those 4 months were the slowest and the most boring in my life. But, it made me start thinking, absurd things but I started gaining perspective in life. I also missed food – good food which I was not allowed to eat.
In grade 9, I started reading The Godfather and my life has never been the same since. Once I completed the book, I promised myself never to do a job or chase a career. I made a firm decision to work for my own satisfaction and for nothing else.
In grade 10, I was so damn excited about the board exams (being one of the grade toppers got your picture in newspaper). My exams went exceptional and when the results came out, I had scored a mere 85%. My English paper was flawless (as my English is) and I had a 77 in that. That was the moment I lost faith in the education system and it never came back again.
I took science with economics (I was fascinated by the concepts in economics, thanks to Amartya Sen)!
I joined one of the top coaching classes. Our school and coaching classes never got along and the sufferers were students like me but we could not complain. I focused on my coaching and scored pathetic marks in school. I was torn, there were moments when I just wanted to just stop studying.
Infact during one of my Parent-Teacher Meetings, my class teacher told my parents, “If you son keeps hitting his head on the wall as he is doing now, his head would break. Not the wall.”
To this my parents replied that they trust me and they are confident that I would do something useful in life. I promised to prove them right someday.
I was made a house captain in Grade 12 which helped me misuse my powers and I stayed out of class mostly which spared me the horror of attending lectures. Along with this, I also achieved my 1st major victory as a leader. Being the captain of a house which has never finished at a rank better than 4th (out of 7) in house rankings in the 18 years of the school's existence, everyone expected little of us. But, we won the House Cup. It was all over newspapers. I started believing in myself as a leader and so did others, and I had a little taste of what it takes to have your people trust you and believe in you to follow you.
In fact, I also started skipping my coaching classes as I was disinterested in the same as well. I realized the education system is a farce and we were fooled completely. Herd mentality was at its peak and I promised myself I would create something that would have the power to change the way we studied and learnt.
I had no clue how would I do it, but I knew I had to do something.
So, today I would stop here and mention what all did I learn during this part of my life:
1) I grew independent as a kid. I stopped being scared of anything. I started learning from my environment.
2) I started taking interest in a lot of activities which made me learn the importance of extra and co-curricular work
3) My parents were ready to give me a chance to prove myself, I knew I was extremely lucky there and did not wish to blow up my chance
4) I was capable of becoming a Good Leader. I had to train myself for the same.
5) I learnt the value of money - it has helped me come a long way in life
6) I promised to never take up a job and work for my own satisfaction
7) I learnt that education system in India was all messed up and needed a lot of reformations
Written by: Priyadeep Sinha (CEO & Co-Founder of ADD-on-GYAN; Creator of Gyan Lab; Good Entrepreneur in Making; Mech Engineer by education only; Creates activity based learning modules for school kids for a living)