Father Dear Father :
Do you feel sometimes that your elders have not understood your viewpoint?
Share some of your experiences with your friends.
Sometimes, we feel that the adults in our family do not understand us and they make us do what they think is right. Here is a letter written by a boy to his father about what he thinks of his education, and the kind of education he is really interested in.
This is in answer to your letter about my disappointing behaviour. Yes, my first rank slipped to the second. You advise that I should think before answering the papers. Yes, the important word 'think' did make me wonder about several things, and here are some results of those reflections.
Father, we've never really been close enough for me to talk freely to you, and I can't really say you've been my friend, philosopher, guide, etc. Yet, I would like you to know my thoughts. They are very important to me.
You are highly educated and you look after the family very well. But in your departmental store, do you apply Pythagoras' Theorem or Newton's Law of Gravity? For that matter, does your doctor friend or your lawyer brother?
Papa, grandfather always speaks of a happy, untroubled and beautiful childhood, of days spent in plucking mangoes and guavas from their orchards, of picnics on the banks of the river where the men cooked mouth-watering food, of playing marbles and gilli-danda. From his memories, it seems, studies were subjects along with living and memories, experiencing. Father, is he telling lies? Or is it possible that the world has turned upside-down in just about seventy years?
Papa, grandmother cannot read or write properly. Yet, she is so happy with her pots and pans, her flowers and garden, and her holy books. On the other hand, mother, who has studied a lot, is always worried and tense. Do you think being able to read and write makes us restless, afraid and dissatisfied?
Oh Papa, last week, my rose plant almost died! Some insects that destroy plants ate all the leaves. I asked my Biology teacher what I should do to save it. She said, "Go and ask the man who keeps gardening things. He'll tell you." We learn about pesticides but we do not know how to use them!
Really, Papa, it doesn't matter to me why the apple does not fall upwards; nor do I care about what Archimedes did. What matters to me is that my rose plants remain healthy. When the lights go out in my house, I should know how to do something about it. I should know how to make a desk for myself with my carpenter's tools.
Papa, I once asked grandmother how she got to be so wise. Do you know what she said? 'By living and experiencing.' And she laughed as though I had asked her something which was so obvious.
Are we actually living, Papa? Or is life just by-passing us as we bury ourselves in books? What I am frightened about is that if I were to meet Newton face to face, I would fail to recognise him, I'm so busy learning about him! You know, just like that boy, Vinu, in that award winning film. He continuously repeats - "The hibiscus is red" - a hundred times, but in his book he colours it yellow. Are we missing out on real life?
Still my dearest Papa, I shall keep your advice in mind and try not to lose
any quarterly marks.
Your ever-obedient son,
P.S. : Your eyes will not see this pained letter, my father. This was only to lighten my heavy heart. It is not all arteries and muscle, you know. It feels too!
Father Dear Father - Adapted from the story in SCERT Delhi Textbook
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