Tag: Exams and Stress

Oh God, it’s results again!

Oh God, it’s results again!

CBSE results are out. And the Maharashtra Board results are just a few days away. The tension is slowly mounting. Last year, around this time, I met a girl from my neighbourhood who had just come to know of her HSC results.

She seemed absolutely down in the dumps. Assuming that she’s failed, or at the very least, performed real bad, I inquired as mildly as I could, about the cause of her gloominess. She was bit uncomfortable initially, but after gentle prodding, she gave in.

Her response jolted me. She said she was embarrassed to face her Mathematics teacher because she had obtained “only” 98 out of the maximum of 100 in her Mathematics paper.

Till I had met this girl, I was under the impression that with grades like these, students would be rejoicing, celebrating and even distributing sweets to one and all. But it was not so.

On the other extreme, Dr Anil Tambe, a prominent doctor from Thane revealed to me another shocking case related to the board results.

Last year he discharged a 15-year-old girl (name withheld) from his hospital. This girl was admitted to his hospital on the previous day because she had apparently consumed rat poison in an attempt to commit suicide. Why? She had failed in her tenth standard (CBSE) exams!

Both the above cases signal a disturbing trend that has come to besiege the board exams. With increasing competition and peer pressure, board results have become perhaps the biggest source of stress, trauma and paranoia among students.

Each year more than a hundred thousand students appear for board exams across the country.

Most of them attach more importance to the results than is warranted. And as we’ve seen from the cases above, this applies to all kinds of students, not just the so-called dull students but also the brilliant ones who score extremely well.

The Common Entrance Test (CET) has lessened the importance of board results to some extent, but the pressure to clear the CET remains.

The responsibility and blame for the unrealistic pressure does not lie with the students alone. Parents, teachers and the society share the responsibility equally.

For instance, regardless of their expectations from their children, it’s important for parents to declare unequivocally that they love their children.

Parents must let children know that they love them in spite of, not because of, their performances. An old saying goes, “A child needs love the most when he least deserves it.”

Another important aspect is that both parents and students would do well to remember is that these exams and entrance tests do not evaluate an individual’s ability to do well in life. They test memory, mathematical abilities and, to some extent, scientific aptitude.

Gifts and talents such as music, art, sports, and business acumen are largely ignored.

But it is a well-known fact that doing well in academics is not a pre-requisite for doing well in life just as doing poorly in school and college is not a recipe for failure. Dhirubhai Ambani, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and many other luminaries like them are evidence of this.

This is not to discount education entirely but to emphasise that exams are only one of the many aspects that determine how your careers are shaped.

So when the results of board exams and CET are declared this year, parents must discuss “what next” with the children rather than dwelling on their performance, especially if you are disappointed with the scores.

Schooling Values

Schooling Values

At the Sri Ma Group of Institutions (SMGI), the first week of February
each year is a time for contemplation, reflection, learning and
dedication. The annual celebrations mark the foundation of the group in
1975 by a spiritual-oriented woman called Sri Ma, fondly known as the
Divine Mother. Right from its inception the educational institutes
established by SMGI have promoted value-based education. One look at
the annual calendar of the SMGI’s schools will convince you that the
group practices what it preaches. The academic year, besides focusing
on the regular, is replete with co-curricular and extra-curricular
activities. These activities seek to tap and hone the latent talents in
children, which are often lost in the enormously competitive life that
today’s children live. The Divine Mother’s dream is that every child
should be ambidextrous and exude excellence in all the spheres of life,
so that he or she becomes a confident individual who inspires others.

The events and activities of the annual celebrations only
underline the focus on all-round development of the group, whose vision
is to help its students strike a balance between modern living and the
ancient value system of India. The 10-day event covers all aspects of
mental, emotional, physical and spiritual development, with events such
as an inter-school teaching aids competition for teachers, a folk dance
competition for students, and a three-day lecture series by prominent
personalities from diverse fields such as psychological counseling,
dealing with adolescence, astronomy, environment consciousness,
nutrition and yoga, Lord Krishna’s teachings and many more. There is
also an inter-school science project competition for students on the
topics of “Balance in Eco System” and “Innovative Scientific Toys”, in
which as many as 28 schools are participating.

Today, an inter-school folk dance competition is being organised
at 5 pm. The competition is open to students of all city-based schools
and spot entries will also be accepted. The event is being held at Sri
Ma Vidyanagari, which is located outside Hiranandani Estate at
Patlipada, off Ghodbunder Road. For more details you can call
25458750/51. The annual celebrations of SMGI will culminate on Monday
February 13, 2006, which is also the birthday of Divine Mother Sri Ma.
The day is celebrated as Children’s Day and includes a ballet
performance on “Krishna Leela” by Dr. Vasundhara Sridharan and her
troupe that are coming all the way from Coimbatore.

Tips for Beating Exam Stress

One of the topics in the lecture series organised by SGMI was on
examination phobia. The Lighthouse Foundation, a non-profit student
welfare group that helps students deal with exam-related stress,
conducted the lectures. The timing of the presentation was appropriate,
as almost all students tend to become anxious at this time of the year.
On Monday February 6, 2006, approximately 350 students from class VII,
VIII, IX and X chirped and giggled excitedly as the speakers
highlighted the futility of anxiety and the importance of genuine
effort ahead of exams. Especially relevant to class X students, the
advice of the speakers had all the students approving in unison.

Using examples, the speakers explained how fear is an illusion
and serves only to immobilise them. They shared techniques that enhance
the effectiveness of their preparation. Get enough sleep, eat
nutritionally rich food, avoid comparisons, take frequent breaks, be
realistic, and focus on exams and not results were some of the wisdom
words that students heard. The speakers also suggested how students
should deal with parental pressure – explaining to them that parents
act the way they do because they are driven by their love for them and
therefore want them to be happy and successful.

A unique visualisation exercise helped the students understand
the power of self-belief and positive attitude. On their part, the
students asked many relevant questions and participated actively
throughout the talk. After the session, the teachers who were present
large numbers, congratulated the speakers on the excellent presentation
and expressed their gratitude for sharing valuable tips with the
students at the time when they needed them the most.

Obsessed with marks?

Obsessed with marks?

Last month, over a dozen students from Mumbai took their lives in fear of the impending board results. And this is an annual phenomenon. Every year, around May and June, we witness paranoia among students awaiting their class X and XII board results. Thousands of students go into depression, take to drugs or commit suicide. A study by The Week magazine found that approximately 4000 students commit suicide in India each year, most of which are exam-related. What’s more, because of our fixation  with marks, a CNN.com report declared India as "obsessed with numbers". This is a disturbing trend and it cannot be stressed enough that we must strive to end collectively – parents, teachers, students and the society at large. Students in particular must be made to understand that life is not about academic success alone and there’s a lot more to it.  

Failing is like stumbling, and should be viewed only a temporary setback – you get up and start walking again. If you obtain lesser marks than you expected, just resolve to do better next time instead of brooding over the current "failure". Remember what, Tom Hopkins, internationally respected sales trainer said, "I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed; and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying." In other words, not giving up is his mantra of success, which is repeated in different words by every successful person. This is what "You and Your Results", a seminar for students of SSC and HSC and their parents, will highlight.

Every year around the time of declaration of board results, Lighthouse Foundation, a nascent not-for-profit group, organises these seminars in Thane and Mumbai for anxious SSC/HSC students and their parents. The objective of the seminars is to reach out to students and parents and highlight the urgent importance of detaching students from their results. There are countless examples of individuals who have done extremely well in their lives in spite of not having a strong academic background. Thomas Edison, JRD Tata, Charlie Chaplin, George Washington, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Dhirubhai Ambani and many more did not complete formal education but that did not deter them from achieving heights of success. "While we do not undermine the importance of academics, we do emphasise that the individual is distinct from his or her results. Our seminar will attempt to dispel the many myths associated with board exam results," said a Lighthouse spokesperson. A free 20-page booklet, intended to encourage students and parents at the time of board results, will be circulated to the students at venue.

In the past eminent personalities such as actor Anupam Kher and commentator Harsha Bhogle have been part of the seminars. This year, well-known singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan will address the students at Siddhivinayak Hall, Siddhivinayak Temple Trust in Prabhadevi on Saturday 11 June at 10.30 am. An audio-visual presentation will focus on the correct way to approach board results. Well-known counsellor Dr Rajan Bhonsle will answer questions of students and parents. The seminar will be repeated at Thane on Sunday 10.30 am at Sahyog Mandir, Ghantali. The seminars are free, but entry is restricted only to SSC/HSC students, their parents/guardians and teachers.

There’s room for learning

There’s room for learning

It’s exam time and though temperatures have been lower than normal, the anxiety level among students is registering an increase. Exam preparation is now in full swing and at such times, what students need the most is their own space, where they are free from all kinds of distractions – which, unfortunately, is rarely found in urban homes where real estate is measured in square foot. But there’s good news for students of Thane because the TMC Education Department, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Thane MidTown (RCTM) is opening the doors of a 24/7 study room especially for them.

Located in TMC school No. 12, which is situated opposite Town Hall at Tembhi Naka, the study room has a capacity of about 75 students at a time. Access to the study room will be free but students will require ID cards, which will be issued by the TMC education department on February 07, 2005. They can obtain application forms through their schools.

The study room is an extension of the Reference Library for teachers situated in the same school. The reference library was opened for teachers of primary and secondary schools on October 29, 2004. It was inaugurated by Ex-principal of Dynansadhana College, Dawood Dalvi along with Chitamani Karkhanis, who was the chief of the education department of TMC at the time.

Speaking on the timing of the study room’s launch, President of RCTM Anant Gadre said, "We wanted to open the study room in time for those students who are appearing for their board exams. We hope the facility will be utilised optimally by the students." After judging the response to the new facility study room, TMC and RCTM plan to open many more study rooms across the city of Thane, which are certain to reduce anxiety levels in students. Don’t be surprised then, if you see a marked increase in the performance of city students at board exams this year.

Airy Praise
It is believed that artists and creative people require appreciation more than oxygen to survive. If that’s right, then Thane’s very own Tabla Maestro, Mukund Raj Deo, received the equivalent of a few gallons of fresh oxygen recently, after his splendid jugalbandi (duet performance) with another Thaneite, young Rashmin Bhagwat. At the recently held 85th All India Marathi Natya Sammelan organised by Akhil Bhartitya Marathi Natya Parishad, at Dombivli, which was inaugurated by none other than Big B Amitabh Bachchan, this year’s programme president, Suresh Khare offered a remarkable eulogy to Deo. Khare, who, along with the rest of the audience, was so spellbound by the Deo’s mastery over tabla that he said, "When you play the tabla, the beats don’t sound like beats at all – they seem to speak a language of their own." The words were like a breath of fresh air for Deo, who filled in his artistic lungs with it and his chest swelled with pride.

Not Clean Bowled

Not Clean Bowled

MK: What is the right attitude to exams and results?
Harsha Bhogle:
It is easier said than done. It is easier for us to comment because we have the advantage of looking back at something. But if our experience is any indicator, students need to tackle an exam exactly the way a sportsman does a match. You prepare hard, the secret is in the preparation, and the executions often takes care of itself. I believe a student needs to replicate an exam in his preparation the way a good batsman tries to replicate a match in the nets. Confidence comes from preparation and if you are not prepared, you will be tense. Several times students have their minds elsewhere when they are studying. This is natural and I am sure we were like that as well. But if they can learn the art of giving 100 per cent while studying and 100 per cent while relaxing or doing something else, they will gain a lot. VVS Laxman, who was an outstanding student, and did very well in his class X, told me that when he was playing cricket he didn’t think of studies and when he was studying he didn’t think of cricket! harsha_at_lighthouse_seminar.jpg

MK: How does one stay motivated in spite of failures?
Harsha Bhogle:
I must admit it is difficult because even today i am disappointed if I haven’t performed. And when you are 15 or 16 it is easy to believe that the world has shut its doors on you. At such times the best thing to do is to seek inspiration elsewhere; from stories that remind you that one failure isn’t the end of the world; that most people in life have a second chance if they are prepared to search for it. Look at the recent French open final where Gaudio Lost the first set 0-6, the second 3-6 and still won the match. Or the test at Kolkata against Australia, where India, already 0-1 down in the series, were 274 behind in the first innings. They still won the test and went on to win the series. But students need to look at such Instances not out of a sense of fantasy but with a sense of determination.

MK: Do you think class X results are the most important determining factor in a student’s life? Why?
Harsha Bhogle:
No, but they are important. Anybody who thinks they are not is running away from the truth. If you have done badly the first thing you must do is acknowledge that you have done badly and not get carried away by people who say "no problem, let it be". Of course there is a problem but unless you realise there is a problem you cannot solve it. The class X results are like a blood test, you are not dead yet but they tell you if you are headed there. They allow you to make a correction in your life. If you know what you did wrong in class X you can correct it in class xii but you must know what you did wrong. A batsman who gets out the same way twice is not learning, so too a student who makes the same mistakes.

MK:What is your advice to students who are unhappy with their class X results and are feeling worthless?
Harsha Bhogle:
Allow yourself to feel worthless for a while and tell yourself you will never let yourself feel that way again. Once you experience the pain, you will know what it is and then if you are strong you can make it your biggest motivator. Again this is easily said and students who are 15 or 16 should ideally have someone around who can remind them of that. If people around them keep telling them they are useless, they will continue feeling that way. Look at Marvan Atapattu, who is now captain of Sri Lanka and who has scored six double centuries in test cricket. His first six innings in test cricket had five ducks and a single. If he thought he was worthless he would never have scored all these runs.

MK: You are a parent of a class X student. How critical is the role of parents in helping students cope with their results?
Harsha Bhogle:
Very critical. A child should know that come what may, his parents are in his team. A family is the only unit in which nobody changes sides and we should be emphasising the role of this ultimate unit instead of irresponsibly glamourising broken marriages. The parents have to be a child’s shelter and i feel sorry for people who seek attention by stating otherwise. Having said that i think parents are sometimes more at fault for they seek to fight their wars through their children, use their children’s marks as their status symbols, occasionally transfer their ambitions onto their children. And they cannot transfer their tensions onto the kids. If the captain is tense the team will be tense, if the captain is calm the team thinks there is hope. But this is an ideal situation and we have all been guilty of these things.

MK: How should one perform well, not in academics only but in all spheres of life?
Harsha Bhogle:
I guess each of us needs to find our own solution. I found that enjoying what I do, and not looking upon it as a chore, worked wonders; believing that every activity you perform is deserving of your full ability, giving it 100 per cent, is a good starting point. Also I think students should set realistic goals and parents can help hugely here. Not everyone can get 90 per cent, not everyone can score a double century, so you need to measure your marks against what you think is a fair target.

You are not your results

You are not your results

There’s something that joins together Mark Twain, George Washington, Charlie Chaplin, Agatha Christie, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, and our home-grown superheros JRD TATA and Dhirubhai Ambani. Can you take a wild guess what that is? Chances are, you can’t – so let me tell you: none of these great individuals completed formal education. In fact, a few of them didn’t even go to school. Yet, this did not get in the way their success. On the other hand, how many board toppers do you remember? And how many of those you do, have made it real big?

When facing results, remember that doing well in academics does not guarantee success, just as doing poorly in academics does not guarantee failure.

What if you fail or perform badly? Simple. Try again. Or resolve to do better the next time around.

As a child, learning to walk, you fell down countless times. But falling did not prevent you from standing up and making another attempt at walking. Can you imagine not making another attempt to walk simply because you fell down and got hurt once??

Albert Einstein, unarguably the best known scientist of the 20th century, had failed his entrance test to Federal Swiss Polytechnic at the age of 16. God knows what have happened, if he would’ve given hopes or lost his self esteem because he failed an entrance exam? But thankfully, he tried again and the rest is history.

Let me give you another example. Did you know that it took Thomas Edison more than 10,000 tries before he invented the light bulb? After 9,999 tries, a young reporter asked him, "Mr. Edison, are you going to have 10,000 failures?" Edison replied: "Young man, I didn’t fail 9,999 times. I discovered 9,999 ways not to invent the light bulb." Sir Winston Churchill put this phenomenon quite succinctly when he said, "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

For those of you who are still not convinced, commit to memory the story of Abraham Lincoln, who was dubbed as "the man who failed the maximum number of times" before he finally became the President of the USA.

Here are some thoughts that you can keep in mind, whenever you feel let down by your performance in any sphere of life.

  • You are not your results. So stop identifying your self worth with your marks.
  • Your academic performance reflects just one of the multitudes of aspects that make you up in totality.
  • Avoid the comparison trap. You are a unique individual with special talents and abilities.
  • When others remind you of your "failure" or "poor performance", just remember that other people’s opinions of you DO NOT have to become your reality

Lastly, make a new agreement with yourself. Every morning as you wake up, and every night as you go to bed, repeat the following: I love myself, I respect myself, I trust myself.

Wish you the very best!

You are not your results!

You are not your results!

Doing well in academics does guarantee success just as doing poorly in academics does not guarantee failure. This was the central theme of the seminar "You and Your Results" held in Thane’s CKP Hall on Sunday June 06, 2004. Organised by NGO Lighthouse Foundation, in association with Jidnyasa Trust, the objective of the seminar was to address anxious SSC students awaiting their board results and help them deal with results sensibly. CKP Trust supported the event by sponsoring the venue.

The seminar began with a two-minute video clip that captured the reactions of SSC who were asked: "What if you fail?" The responses were expected: "I’ll run away", "I’ll be really depressed" and "I’ll feel hurt". This was followed by an audio-visual presentation which projected names of SSC board toppers from the past few years on the screen and asking the audience if they recognise them. Very few could. Then, names of famous individuals like Thomas Edison, Dhirubhai Ambani, George Washington, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Bill Gates and many more famous individuals were shown. Everyone recognised them and their achievements. Yet, not many knew that most of them had not completed formal education, were elementary school drop-outs or had failed some time during their education. Some of them had never been to school. The story of Abraham Lincoln, the man who failed the maximum number of times before going on to become the President of United States, demonstrated what Sir Winston Churchill once said: ""Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." When the audience was asked what the moral of the story was, almost all of them unanimously echoed, "Never Give Up."

The Chief Guest of the evening was Jalaj Dani, Vice-President of International Operations at Asian Paints. He spoke about his experience at Asian Paints interspersing it with lovely quotes. One of his quotes, by Michael Jordon, reinforced the idea of not quitting: "Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."

Dr. Rajan Bhosle, well-known psychologist and student counsellor narrated wonderful stories that urged the students not to attach any judgement to the many occurrences in their lives. With the help of a wonderful Sufi fable, he convinced people that happenings are neither good nor bad – they are just happenings. He urged parents to be patient with their children. He said "Studies have shown that only about 20 per cent children are able to identify their unique ability or special talent by the age of 16." In the Q&A session, when a few parents asked difficult questions, Bhosle fielded them very well.

There appeared to be a spiritual undertone to all the messages. In one way or the other, all the presenters urged students to trust themselves and the almighty and then march forth to towards realising their dreams. Towards the end of the seminar, students were asked to write down their dreams on a slip distributed to them and drop them in a "dream box" which will be offered to the Universe for fulfilment.

SSC results are just around the corner and will be declared any day. If you’re an anxious SSC student awaiting your results, you would do well to remember that you are not your results. If you fail or score less than expected, just remember that you will get a many more opportunities along the way. Do you know that Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever, had failed his entrance test to Federal Swiss Polytechnic at the age of 16?

Lighthouse Foundation and Jidnyasa Trust have published a free booklet aimed at helping students deal with their board results. SSC students or their parents can collect this booklet from CKP Hall, Kharkarali, Thane between 5.30 pm and 8.00 pm

Love your children, not their performance

Love your children, not their performance

Year after year, as board results approach, we hear distressing stories of students taking their lives because of the fear of failure. But what happened in Thane last week was really sad. When I first heard about 16-year-old Vijay Sharma’s brutal act of murdering his mother, I was shaken. The fact that he was from my alma mater St John only deepened my grief. Newspaper reports suggested that the reason behind young Vijay’s brutal act was a "row over studies" as he wasn’t interested in studying. When you hear such stories, you know it is time for an awakening. It is time to find out what is it about our education system that drives students to take such extreme steps as taking their lives or killing others. Perhaps the answer lies in our obsession with marks. A report on CNN.com says that when it comes to board results, "India is obsessed with the numbers, and some teenagers are so wracked by anxiety that they become ill, or worse." The report also quotes a study conducted by The Week in October 2003, which said that approximately 4000 students take their lives each year.

What creates such pressure on students? Peer pressure is one thing. But that can be handled, if parents are supportive. Unfortunately, many parents are as nervous as, or even more, than their children during exams. As a result they end up adding fuel to fire by constantly nagging and often applying undue pressure on their wards to become high achievers. This sometimes causes them to make things worse by being too forceful.

Yet, most psychologists opine that parents can play an important role in helping their children cope with the trauma of examination. According to Dr Rajan Bhosle (MD), a renowned counsellor, "Parents need to be as tolerant and supportive as they can at this difficult time. It is essential that parents repeatedly reassure their children that the love and treasure them and whatever their performance at the exams, this fact will not change."

There are countless examples of people without formal education who’ve achieved heights of success and parents must realise, and also help their children realise, that doing poorly in a particular exam does not translate into doing poorly in life. They need to be reminded that just because someone else is better in their education course, it does not mean that that person is a superior being.

Another issue is that of forcing career choices onto children. Studies suggest that parents often view their children’s career accomplishments as a reflection on themselves and as a material for the construction of meaning in their own lives. This is often where conflict between parents and children may arise.

Agreed, that most parents have their best interest in mind when they pressurise their sons and daughters towards excellence. But top psychologists advise parents to know when to draw the line. According to Jim Clarke, from irishhealth.com, "There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress keeps us alert to things we need to be concerned about, whereas bad stress undermines peace of mind. Bad stress has health ramifications, as it can cause headaches and anxiety and can lead to serious complaints developing, such as panic attacks or depression." Parents must ensure that bad stress is kept at bay. The solution, says Clarke, lies in proclaiming unconditional love.

Next week, a student-welfare NGO is organising a free seminar in Thane for those students who have appeared for the class X and class XII exams. Watch out for details.

Testing Times

Testing Times

A report on CNN.com says that when it comes to board results, "India is obsessed with the numbers, and some teenagers are so wracked by anxiety that they become ill, or worse." The report also quotes a study conducted by The Week in October last year which said that approximately 4000 students take their lives each year. The figures are hardly surprising as it is a known fact that taking exams is one of the most stressful times in a student’s life. The stress is a direct outcome of the psyche of students who tend to identify their self-worth with the marks they obtain. Fear of perfectionism, achieving success and unhealthy competitiveness has puts enormous pressure on our children.
 
Most teachers and psychologists opine that parents play an extremely important role in helping their children cope with the trauma of examination. Unfortunately, many parents are as nervous as, or even more so, than their children during exams. This sometimes causes them to make things worse by being too forceful.

According to Dr Rajan Bhosle (MD), a renowned counsellor, "Parents need to be as tolerant and supportive as they can at this difficult time. It is essential that parents repeatedly reassure their children that the love and treasure them and whatever their performance at the exams, this fact will not change."

There are countless examples of people without formal education who’ve achieved heights of success and parents must help heir children realise that doing poorly in a particular exam does not translate into doing poorly in life. They need to be reminded that just because someone else is better in their course, it does not mean that person is a superior being.

Another issue is that of forcing career choices onto children. Studies suggest that parents often view their children’s career accomplishments as a reflection on themselves and as a material for the construction of meaning in their own lives. This is often where conflict between parents and children may arise.  

Lighthouse Foundation is organizing free seminars for parents titled "You and Your Children" on November 15 and 16 in Thane and Mumbai. The seminars are an attempt to create an understanding between parents and their kids to help them deal with the exam pressures.

A Slice of Adventure for Parents

A Slice of Adventure for Parents

The Majestic Himalayas are one of the most sought after destination of adventure-lovers. The Himalaya, also known as India’s crowning glory, is a magic place where the magnificence of the world’s highest mountains is mirrored in its rugged beauty.   The beautiful snow-capped mountain peaks beckon trekkers from all over the world.

Every year, many students from Thane experience the heavenly beauty of the Himalayas first-hand by participating in annual treks organised by city-based NGO, Jidnyasa Trust. But there are others who, even though fascinated by the idea, are unable to join these treks because their parents, who are apprehensive about the dangers that are associated with such treks, do not grant their consent.

If you are one such student, it’s time to rejoice. For now your parents too have an opportunity experience the bliss that is Himalayas. Have your parents enrol for the Himalayan trek being organised especially for parents aged between 25 and 45 years. The trek, being organised by Jidnyasa, will extend over a period of 15 days and is scheduled somewhere in mid-September, soon after the Ganpati celebrations.

The trek is mainly for those parents who wish to re-kindle the spirit of adventure or would like to experience the glory of Himalayas and also see for themselves how safe such treks are, for their sons and daughters. "The reason we have scheduled this trek in September is because the Himalayas look very beautiful immediately after monsoons. The Valley of Flowers especially blossoms in August and September," says Sagar Oak from Jidnyasa.

The participants can expect to get a taste of adventure as they will stay in tents and eat food made in the same camp. Long stretches of walks will help them unwind. But most importantly, anxious parents will know exactly what their children would live through at such treks. So the next time your child comes to you seeking permission for an adventure-trek, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

The trekkers will take the Rajdhani Express to Delhi, from where they will enjoy a bus-ride right up to the base of the Har-ki-dhun glacier via Rishikesh. The trust has organised similar treks to the Himalayas on two earlier occasions and had received very encouraging response from parents. They are also planning two treks for youngsters in the nearby Sahayadris – on August 10 and September 21. For more details, you may contact Jidnyasa on 25403857.

A Question of Felicitation
Soon after the SSC and HSC results, there are countless felicitation ceremonies held in the honour of the toppers. Every second day we read about this guild or that association, commending and complimenting those who’ve done well. Everyone celebrates success. But very few discuss failure. So, we were pleasantly surprised when a few days ago we were invited for a speaking engagement at a seminar being organised in Thane for those who failed to clear their board exams. The idea was to address unsuccessful students – their apprehensions, reservations and misgivings.

It is a fact that there is a huge stigma attached to failing at board exams. And many students, who fail, end up losing their self esteem and their confidence. Agreed, that it’s an extremely competitive world. But competition is alright as long as it’s healthy and encourages participants to perform to their optimum levels without inflicting harmful and depressing after-effects on those who don’t succeed. Try, try and try till you succeed is not an empty maxim. Almost everyone who’s achieved great success has learnt to fail gracefully. Thousands of examples of Success after Failures are found in every field one can think of – Films, Sports, Business, Politics, and Science and so on. The big difference between those who ultimately succeed and those who don’t is that those who succeed refuse to get seduced by failures. They view each failure as a step closer to success. When Thomas Edison was working on his 10,000th attempt at inventing the light bulb, he was asked how he kept going in spite of 9999 "failed" attempts. Edison said he believed that what he had in fact done was discover 9999 ways NOT to invent the light bulb.

Young minds are often confused and a large part of the blame rests with their parents and the society in general. By all means, we must felicitate those who succeed and encourage them to achieve even greater success. But at the same time it is our collective responsibility as a society to ensure that those who fail are not neglected. It’s important that we create the awareness that failure is just a temporary phenomenon. And one failure does not outline your chances of success in a life so full of opportunities.

So if you know anyone who has flunked his or her school exams, please offer them wisdom of perseverance. You never know who among them has the potential to become a great scientist. After all, Thomas Edison "failed" at his attempts to invent the light bulb over 10,000 times.