This is that time of the year when the mind of the Man from Madras Musings naturally turns towards music and other related festivities. Like Good King Wenceslaus (or was it Old King Cole?) MMM likes to see smiling faces about him. But what he sees are several haggard and careworn visages going around. The principal cause of worry appears to be school admissions, for children and grandchildren, and in an odd case or two, great-grandchildren. All over the city you see people trying to reach out to people who are related to people on school boards. This is that time of the year when a second cousin to the wife of the brother of a man who knows a committee member or two in a school acquires tremendous importance.
Before the School Admission Demands Society (SADS), if there is such a body, registers a formal protest against what it may see as MMM’s callous attitude towards parents, let MMM assure it that he well understands what it is to go through this trauma. MMM too has been through it in his time. And he managed it entirely through hard work and merit – in the way in which he went about identifying the second cousin to the wife of the brother of a man who knew a committee member or two.
Nowadays, MMM too is besieged with such requests. There are comments as to how surely MMM, being such a man about town, ought to know a second cousin to the wife of the brother of a man who knows a committee member or two. MMM does oblige, as and when he chances on the above-mentioned relative. And so it has been this year. In the process, MMM does a mental evaluation of which school is up in the lists and which is down. It transpires that the institution that goes under the name of Disciple is very much in demand. But what deters parents is that registration for school admissions there is wait-listed to an extent that people need to put in an application even before they plan to have a child. The Temple of Learning, the School Named After The Great Philosopher and the Institution (or Chain of Them) Named After a Lady and run by a Grand Old Lady are all chugging along, each being in demand. The school with just an article preceding it was in demand but now less so because it is set to move from its sylvan location to somewhere far off.
The new entry in the lists is the central government-run school located inside the forest-like campus of a premier technical institution of our country. With a name that can be roughly translated as the Goddess of Learning In A Forest, it is now topping the charts. Its waiting list for admissions in the lowest grade, which is kindergarten, exceeds 200. And the reason for all this is the man who took over as the chief of the largest search engine out there. The man, who has a name that can be translated as Handsome Mendicant (even though his net worth, as per the search engine he runs is US$ 1.2 bn), apparently studied in this institution in the final years of his schooling. As a consequence every parent thinks his or her child will climb the ladder of success the same way.
MMM is not so sure. If the school were all that mattered, surely we would have had far more Handsome Mendicants worth US$ 1.2 bn in our midst? But try explaining that to these parents. MMM is now seriously considering advising the parents that names too matter and may be they ought to consider changing the names of their wards to Handsome Mendicant.
Handsome mendicant may not like the description of the company he heads as just a search engine but the given the context of school admissions, all searches for admissions are running like engines with some pollution along the way. Maybe, second cousin to the wife of the brother of a man who knows, should start a school himself for it is lucrative commerce and fewer the seats available and longer the waiting list, greater the feeling of importance in the society – sorry, we are just clearing the backlog applications of those who died last year and you may have to wait a little longer – keep trying and be in touch.
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