It’s that time of the year!

The Armchair Critic
The Armchair Critic
4 min readApr 29, 2018


23 May 2007 @ 02 : 28 pm

It’s that time of the year again. First week of June is just round the corner. Everybody is talking about when it would start. About how it is going to affect the public this year. Would it take care of what was sowed this year?

No, not monsoon time! It’s counselling time, college admission counselling.

You’d imagine now that I am referring to the actual event of a student who’s just passed 12th sitting in front of a computer in a counselling centre making his choice based on the ‘counsel’ of the person incharge regarding what course to choose. That may be the reason the annual event is called a counselling session, but that’s not what I am thinking of.

The most traumatising part of the whole ordeal is the “counselling” that precedes the judegement day. Yes, you finally guessed me right. The “advice” from all and sundry that the poor chap receives is what my gripe is all about.

For the uninitiated, May is the month that decides the fate of million kids across India every year (Yeah, we do produce kids in such large numbers here). That is, the results of the 12th standard exams (the final year of schooling before starting undergraduate studies) are released in the end of May and the admission process starts in June, coinciding with the onset of the monsoon. The period between the announcement of results and the starting of the admission process is the culmination of years and years of planning and execution, not by the student, but by his parents on what course the kid’s future should take, the final set of analysis and projections!

If you thought the concept of the parents planning for the child was ridiculous, you’d be even more surprised by the fact that every person who’s got a mouth and is elder than the kid, automatically becomes an education consultant, offering advice free of cost! Anybody who’s passed the 12th standard in Tamil Nadu, would particularly vouch for this!

The next door lady would be telling our poor guy who managed only 96%, “Don’t worry! You can get a seat in some private college. You’ll need to pay ofcourse, and will have to settle for only mechanical engineering or chemical engineering” looking at him as if he had been sentenced to 10 years RI! This poor chap is subjected to more and more of this from more and more neighbours(some whom he didn’t even know existed!), till it rises to a crescendo on D-Day — Counselling day. He then has to make an “informed”(read imposed) choice based on all the valuable inputs that he had received.

If our poor guy were to deviate, even slightly, from his choice like choosing Metallurgy over Production Engineering, what would follow is :

<Censored due to graphic depiction of mental torture>

Ofcourse, they all meant well for him. They only had his future in their minds. And obviously, they are well aware of the educational trends, even if they are housewives and their only exposure to the “outside world” is the 7.30 PM serial on Sun TV!

These people don’t simply advice our poor friend, they use the “apt” words for it. You’d be astounded by their vocabulary. For these pseudo-consultants, the idea of success is limited to choosing ECE, EEE or Computer(1). The other branches have no scope(2). And colleges other than Anna(3) and a select few private ones in Chennai are no good as they don’t have on campus(4). Of course for all this, your cutoff(5) needs to be high!

In the end, our poor friend walks out of this whole mess , looks up to see that the monsoon has passed and skies are no longer grey, (pun intended) and makes us wonder if he would have been better off not taking up engineering, but alas no one is spared!

Two years ago, I chose Chemical Engineering in NIT, Trichy. Though both, the branch and the college, are well regarded in the true acedemia, these pseudo-educationalists still ask me, “You didn’t get any private college in Chennai? Was your rank so bad that you had to chose Chemical Engineering?”. To them, even a payment seat(6) in some arbit private college is far superior to govt. colleges like NIT and IIT!

The vocabulary of the “well-wishers” is usually limited to :

1. Computer : ‘Computer Science & Engineering’ and ‘Information Technology’ are referred to as simply “Computer”. Supposedly the branches that are the first step to the ultimate job of “Software Programming”!!!

2. Scope : The chances of getting a job in a software company like Infosys, CTS, TCS, Wipro

3. Anna : College of Engineering, Guindy in Anna University Campus, supposedly the best in the world.

4. On Campus :The process in which the above mentioned software companies recruit engineers in hordes in the college campus itself.

5. Cutoff : What the entrance exam total mark is known as. So each person has his/her own cutoff !!!

6. Payment Seat : The process of getting into a substandard college only through payment of a bribe that, in all grandiose, is called a Capitation Fee. Supposedly such a seat is more valuable than a seat obtained by merit.

I must mention that I have been extremely lucky that my parents and relatives have been very understanding and have let me choose the course to take in my life!

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