My cousin N’s board exam results came out last week and she got a 92% in commerce. Which by any measure, is very good. Everyone in the clan heartily thump her back and say with that tone of incredulity, Parvaliye. What they don’t finish is – ...for a non science student.
Anyway, N looks upto me to as the person to give her the inside information on the whys and hows of College admission in Madras. Added to that is the fact that I am the only person from my generation in my family, who is a non science student. So, my approval becomes very important.
As a girl student who hopes to study under-graduation in Madras University, the options are usually – Stella, Ethiraj, MOP Vaishnav, WCC, Anna Adarsh, Meenakshi, Quaid-e-Millet, Queen Mary’s, Basheer Ahmed Syed (SIET), MCC, Presidency, Valliammal, Chellammal, Jain and a few others.
However, that small list begins to shrink even more rapidly once the filters are put.
Because when it comes to college admissions, everyone has an opinion on it.
- Chitti (N’s mother) thinks that Meenakshi is ideal for her, in sync with “our” values
- D (N’s brother) thinks that Stella or WCC is best as it will certainly work with his engineering college boy buddies
- Chitappa (N’s father) thinks that MCC is the best, as he himself went there many years ago
The India Today and other such ranking of colleges don’t help either. They put enormous pressure on everybody and create notion of inadequacy. The latest rankings tell us that there are nine Madras colleges in the top 50 arts colleges, the same as Delhi. And this also includes our own Tamizh Boys topping the list (Loyala). So far so good right? But what are the chances that a girl with 92% will get into Ethiraj (ranked 29) or Stella (ranked 11) to do B Com? If she is really lucky, she will get into evening college at Ethiraj.
And somehow N’s parents like many other parents are all right about their son studying in an obscure (and I mean REALLY obscure) engineering college. But have HUGE reservations about what arts college their daughter N should join.
Thankfully for me, my thata still had influence and I got into one of the better ranked colleges with minimum fuss. So when N wonders why she only gets through to evening college with similar marks that I had, I am at a loss. I explain to her the concept of, inflation in marks and increased competition, but it sounds lame.
Would it have made a difference had I studied in a lesser ranked college? Possibly not. And would it have made too much of a difference if my college started in the afternoon? Again not.
After all, I would have needed to learn all the same things and unlearn all of it later anyway.
Would I want my younger sister to study in a college that is not highly ranked? Again not.
The final word of course comes from chitti when she says, Idukku engineeringey okay!
Ah, the contradictions!