Unlikely Beneficiaries of Eid
Eid is a special time, an “oh so” magical day when you don't swear and curse the 14 generations of ancestors of nobody in particular when you are dragged out of bed in the morning to get to Namaz. And while you go about the day meeting relatives you probably won't meet for another year and shamelessly take their money, some people out there are secretly rubbing their hands and squealing in delight. These are the people who get the most out of the day and even the Eid where you got the most salami from the visiting rich uncle from America doesn't compare to theirs.
The Parlours and Saloons
The C.N.G. Drivers
So when you think that you are having the day of your life, think of all the people we talked about above and not the unfortunate. We know you won't anyway, the Ramadan being over and all.
We've had various pieces of advice on offer before about preparing yourself for results. About building safe houses and stocking up on food. But those whose judgment you seek to escape in the first place - the parents, what sort of arrangements do they make? Everyone, even if there is a certain level of exaggeration involved, whines about result days being some of the worst days of their lives. The difference between a 95 and a 90 in Physics means the end of days for some while others don't really care about their mediocre grades affecting their academic future. Whatever the case, few ever stop to think about what their parents are going through; how after all those days chaperoning to coaching, beneath that mask of calm reassurance and consolation, they too burn with suspense and anxiety.
“My mother walked around the house aimlessly and was jumpy all night before my results. Later, after she finally got them and I asked her about the endless pacing, she said she was trying to prepare herself for the worst.” said the daughter of a proud mother. She also added that her mom wasn't really over-reacting.
Stocking up on anti-depressants and pressure medication is probably the first step parents of especially “volatile” students take; the ones that throw tantrums and blame their respective academic boards for their results, sparking stress related disorders in the toughest of parents. “After saying his exams went “fatafati bhabe” and instilling hope in us, he brings home the news that he failed in multiple subjects. How does that make us feel?” goes one frustrated parent. We feel for her. A restocked medicine cabinet is certainly a good idea, since the entirety of the time before results is spent worrying and fidgeting, at least on the parents' part.
The examinee, in most cases, is lulled into a false sense of calm and serenity, usually after a summer of heat, outdoor fun, and Xbox multiplayer sessions/sleepovers. When the results come, they do so with a bucket of ice cold water right in the face, slapping his/her “summer” goggles off and landing them squarely in front of disapproving parents. What most teenagers don't notice are the constant reminders the parents put in to warn them of their impending doom. Next time your Mom asks you to put down the controller and ponder about what you'll do if your results come out sour, pay some heed to her, or you'll be caught with your pants down when it does.
It's not always the ones with the bad grades that have to sit through the tumble dryer after results come out. The overly-doting parents of a different breed of students, “The Achievers”, start their preps from several weeks before, ensuring an endless supply of sweets from Premium Sweets and Rosh along with a phone with seemingly endless credit. The gobs of affection passed around can get nauseating as with a very serious mission in mind, mothers take position with their phones in hand and dial away. In the blink of an eye the entire world is aware of the child's results: everyone gets a chance to congratulate their proud child. Doesn't matter if the child has no idea as to who s/he is being congratulated by. You can't really find any fault in these people; they're just showing support for their children.
While some parents just forget, some are determined to label their children as underachievers even if they work for NASA and eat broccolis for breakfast. Four A*s is nothing if you consider other people getting 6 A*s. Some psychologists attribute this to a type of “parenting tough love”, designed to push children further, irrespective of their current situation. Various students react to this in various ways but in the end, the pressure induces them to work harder. But come results time, even some of these parents become magically lenient and supportive. A consoling mother enters a nervous child's room the night before the results, “It's okay. It doesn't matter how you do. We will be happy anyway. Don't be nervous.” Whoa.
Various studies done by organisations like BBC Parents and universities, like the University of Glamorgan, try to prepare parents as to the best methods of tackling results: dealing with stress, being supportive and saying the right things. It's unlikely that a high number of parents in Bangladesh have read any of them. But at the end of the day, they still do pretty good jobs, don't they?
By Shaer Reaz & Neshmeen Faatimah
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2011 The Daily Star