I spent 2 years of my life living in Kota, Rajasthan. Regarded as the mecca of IIT-JEE preparations, around 2-3 lakh students visit Kota every year in order to gain admissions in the most reputed engineering institute in the whole country, the IITs. A lot of coaching centres including Bansals, Vibrant, Resonance, Allen, etc have thus gained prominence all around the country and have established a whole business empire out of education for children. Not just the coaching classes, but even residential places for students to stay, including PGs and hostels have thus developed in the surrounding areas. Thousands of rupees are spent by parents on their ward in areas to coaching, lodging, food, etc.

Somewhere along the line, this creates immense pressure on the child’s mind. The IITs select just a few thousand students out of lakhs of applicants. The amount of competition is immense. Institutes therefore go with fatal teaching techniques, including tons of homework, tests and regular classes and revision. In the midst of all this, a child forgets he even has a life. Succumbed by the competition, they spend their days and nights behind those pile of books. Playtime is a sin. Meals make you slower. Friends are a distraction. You either go with the flow or you drop out. Those who drop out, find their solace in cigarettes and merry making, but then these are people who can actually afford to do so. For the rest, life is either constant struggle filled with a burden of guilt over failure.

Some people even decide to take the easy way out. They either hang themselves by a rope in the room or jump from the top of the building. The rest call them coward. I, just call them victims.

To me, the rest of them who are alive aren’t living either. They’re just breathing. Trying to exist. Zombies, you may call them. From classes, to books, to tests something out of these kids gets lost.

Maybe a life that could’ve been saved, or a childhood that could’ve been cherished. Maybe these were the times they could’ve experienced their first love, or maybe discovered 80s rock, or maybe learn to play the guitar , or watch ‘Casablanca’, but instead they just roam in the streets of Kota, dead.

A lot of people may object to former statements saying ‘You lose some in order to gain some’, and to them I’d say, “Yeah, but don’t you think the chances of losing something a teeny bit higher than gaining. More like, 5000 out 1000000!” Now I’m not targeting every individual when I write this. To each its own. Some people do aspire to become IITians and are actually ready to dedicate 2 years to it. I speak for the rest, people like me. People who had dreams that couldn’t surface and sunk under the ocean of books. People who could’ve been writers, photographers, artists, actors or people who actually wanted to find themselves. But most of all, I speak for the victims. People who succumbed to the pressure. I don’t know how many people will read this post, but to those who do, I want you to become a better generation. A generation who’ll let their kids decide for themselves. Who’d be as happy to see their child holding a guitar on stage, as they would be if he had bought his first paycheck from the office. Maybe in this way we would be able to save a life.

Maybe somewhere a childhood is still dying behind a pile of books. I just wish I could save him. I’d make him sit with me and watch the sunset by the beach. Maybe then he’d realise how beautiful this life actually is. Maybe then he’d realise that hes so much more then just a rat in this race.Maybe then he’d realise hes more than just an investment that would cash in someday. Maybe then he won’t think of letting go of something so precious as this life. For we only live once, right?


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