It is probably easier to put children on the moon than get them an LKG seat in a school. Any parent who has suffered the harrowing school admission process will agree. First, you go through the phase when you are selecting schools: Which one will have the best student-teacher ratio? Which one will ensure the overall development of my child - CBSE or ICSE? Which one will nurture my child the way a national treasure needs to be handled? Which one can handle the awesomeness that is my child?
After getting rejected by a few schools, however, you come out of the delusion that you have the power to select a school for your child. Oh you simpleton! It is the school that selects the child, not the other way round…something like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. By the time you are done, you are reduced to a state when you are holding up a board that says, ‘Please, someone take this child! Someone, anyone!’
If you want to see the vilest side of humanity, you need only go through an LKG admission. Since we have too many kids in this nation (as a consequence of having too many adults), the chances of your kid procuring a seat in a decent school is dependent on how many kids can be thrown out of the competition. Other 4-year-old kids stop appearing ‘cute’ to your eyes – they are each pint-sized warriors in this battlefield and you are no longer in awe of their brilliance. Instead, all you can think of is how to best this kid and make sure he or she doesn’t take the seat that your genius of an offspring deserves.
Most parents pretend that they are unaware of when a certain school will start giving out applications. We’ve all read the website feverishly and fed reminders into our phone but this information is to be treated with a high level of confidentiality. ‘Do you know when School X is opening admissions?’ ‘Not at all. We’re not even applying there!’ All lies! Parents will also refuse to divulge how many schools they are applying to. ‘Just this one!’ they will tell you. But of course, you will run into them at every other school lottery or interview and pretend that the earlier conversation never happened. We’re decent that way.
The ones who manage to get an early admission for their child (through the lowly lottery method and not ‘merit’, a wounded parent will hiss into your ear) cannot wipe the smugness off their faces. They will wish you all the best and even drop a few philosophical phrases from the Gita on victory and the like. This does nothing to bring your stress levels down and you are a little concerned that you are starting to have Dexter-like psychopathic feelings. Which the smug parent is aware of and even enjoys. Now tell me who is twisted here?
You know all those stories from mythology in which devotees stood on one leg for a hundred years and asked god for infinite powers? I think all those folks were reborn as school principals in this age. Regardless of whether you are a big shot, if you have a 4-year-old at home, you are ready to turn into a sycophant and stand around the school principal dropping hints on how you can support the school’s noble goal of educating young minds (provided your own is included). The school principal, used to such slavishness year after year, couldn’t care less. She (more often than not, it is a she) is made of stone and will not crack, no matter how much you cringe and toady.
At the end of this madness, the day comes when you somehow manage to put your child into a school. It could have been because of your Machiavellian machinations or maybe the universe just took pity on you. It may not have been your first-choice school but you heartily proclaim that it was. You turn into the smug parent you wanted to kill just a few weeks ago. Other 4-year-old kids appear cute again and you are no longer thinking of Pied Piper-type solutions to remove them from the scene. Life is good once again…and you try not to think much about college admission. There’s fourteen years more to go for that and hopefully it wouldn’t be as taxing.