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That's puzzling!

‘But..we don’t get any marks for it!’

Atharva, 14, has always seen school as a place for academics. He never takes part in any extracurricular activities and finds them boring. Why should he learn them when he won’t get any marks for it?

Why should I? 

It’s the art festival week at Atharva’s school. The theme was diversity. Everyone was busy making their posters, but Atharva, as always, was not interested.

“Atharva, want to help me with my poster? You can colour, I can draw. This year there’s a huge prize. We could jointly compete”, Aman, his childhood friend, said trying to get him interested in the activity, knowing full well it was futile. 

“It’s boring yaar. I don’t understand why all of you are participating in this. Don’t we come to school for study? Why bother with all these silly activities”, Atharva replied.

“Your wish!” Aman shrugged and went away. 

Rekha ma’am overheard their conversation. She called him to her table to talk. 

“Atharva, come here. Why are you not taking part in the activity?” she asked. 

“Sorry ma’am but I am not able to develop my interest in any such activities. I find them unnecessary”, Atharva replied.

What to do?

“Atharva, but you have never taken part in any activities related to sports, dance, music, or art and craft. There must be something that you enjoy doing”, Rekha ma’am said .

“Ma’am, I don’t know what I like to do. All of these activities seem boring to me, and we do not even get any extra marks for them!” Atharva explained.

“Everything is not about marks, beta. Ok, tell me one thing, which celebrity do you like the most, Atharva?” the teacher asked, diverting the topic a bit. 

Atharva said, “Ma’am, I really like Taylor Swift and all of her songs. I also like Virat Kohli.”

“Ok, I like her too. And yes, Virat is an inspiration! But do you know Taylor Swift not only is a good singer but also plays a lot of musical instruments such as piano, banjo, guitar and even ukulele?” the teacher asked. 

“Oh, really. I didn’t know that”, replied Atharav. 

“But do you think that Taylor Swift would have enjoyed her first piano lesson? Just like you, she must have found it boring first. But you see, if she would have stopped doing everything saying it’s boring and it does not interest her, do you think she would have become what she is today?” the teacher asked. 

“Hmm…”, Atharv whispered. 

“And do you think our dear Virat Kohli got any extra marks for cricket at school?” the teacher asked. 

“I have never thought about any of this from this perspective before. I always thought that studies were the most important thing from the ninth grade”, Atharva sulked.

“Yes, studies are very important. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out other things. You should explore new activities and develop new interests. You may not like a lot of those things at first, but eventually they will help you identify that one thing you enjoy doing”, said the teacher.

I enjoy….

“Ma’am I used to play cricket with my friends in the evening. But I stopped because of my studies and homework”, Atharav said. 

“No matter what, take out one hour in the evening for any outdoor activity. Go out, play. Trust me, when you come back, you will be able to study and learn better. Try doing this from today and let me know”, the teacher said. 

“Sure ma’am. I will today”, Atharav said. 

“Same thing applies to extracurricular and sports classes at school. They help you develop new interests, which you can also pursue as a career later in life. Who knows you will become another Virat Kohli in future?” Rekha ma’am smiled.  

“Also, sports and arts teach us many other skills, such as patience, perseverance and practice, which will be required for anything you may want to do in the future. 

Atharva smiled back and took out a sheet of paper and began to draw the poster. In his mind, he was already planning to call up his old friends in the neighbourhood to get together for a cricket match in the evening. 

I enjoy….
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