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Testing times, all around

On your marks The board exams have been life changing not just for the students but their parents as well — some make notes during their commute to work, some haven’t watched television in months, others have taken long leave from office.

mumbai Updated: Feb 18, 2010 01:22 IST

On your marks The board exams have been life changing not just for the students but their parents as well — some make notes during their commute to work, some haven’t watched television in months, others have taken long leave from office.

Suman Sood

Age: 41 years

Profession: Teacher

Child: Daughter in Class 10 (CBSE)

Rather than supervising her daughter Aditi’s studies, Suman Sood believes it is more important to be there for the child during the crucial months before her Class 10 board examinations. She and her banker husband, Rajiv (42) have altered their work schedules to ensure that Aditi is never left home alone.

Sood, who teaches accountancy and business studies to Classes 11 and 12 students at RN Podar School, has been winding up work two hours before the school gets over to get to her Andheri home by 11 am.

“School authorities have been very supportive. They never question when I ask for a day off. They understand how crucial this time is for my child. I also make sure that my students do not suffer,” she said.

Sood also ensures that Aditi, who studies at Podar School, goes out every few days to break the monotony of her study routine. Their latest outing was to watch My Name Is Khan.

“Creating an environment conducive to studying is important. I don’t compare her with other students or set a target score,” said Sood, who is practising yoga to keep her mind calm and body fit.

Raghav Rao

Smriti Verma

Age: 44 years

Profession: Railway employee

Child: Son in Class 10 (ICSE)

As the ICSE examinations loom ahead, Smriti Verma (44) is as engrossed in them as her son.

For Verma helping out Arjun (15), who is in Class 10, presented more than the usual set of challenges because Arjun is dyslexic. “There are times that you might lose focus or feel dejected, but you have to deal with the bad days as well,” said Verma.

An employee with the railways, she took nearly six months off from work during the course of the year to be at home with her son. More than just helping out with solving doubts and doing revisions, for Verma the time off from work was as much about supporting Arjun when he wasn’t studying. “I was there to help him relax,” she said.

As lovers of art, mother and son would frequently visit galleries; watch the Mr Bean show on television or simply sit at home listening to music.

Verma said the teachers at Cathedral and John Connon School, Fort, where Arjun studies, are approachable and invested in the lives of each child. “Arjun takes tuitions in a couple of subjects but we also help him out with history, geography and Hindi,” she said. Verma has had to go back to work now, but Arjun draws comfort from his German shepherd, Schroeder.

Bhavya Dore

Pragati Madhani

Age: 51 years

Profession: Senior Staff Nurse

Child: Daughter in Class 12 (HSC)

For the past few months, Pragati Madhani’s neighbours haven’t heard the sound of the television or radio coming from her one-room apartment in CP Tank.

The senior staff nurse at Hurkisondas Hospital, Girgaum, has given up watching her favourite TV soaps as her daughter Krushmi (18) is preparing for her HSC board examinations, which begin on February 23.

Madhani and her husband Deepak, a cashier in the same hospital, have spared no expense to facilitate their daughter, who studies at Elphinstone Technical College.

They bought Krushmi a computer and Internet connection.

“We live in a one-room apartment which means my parents have to sleep with the light on because I study late into the night. But they have never complained,” said Krushmi.

A good night’s sleep isn’t the only thing the Madhanis are prepared to sacrifice for their daughter.

“Ever since Krushmi’s boards came close, I’ve stopped visiting my friends and they’ve stopped visiting me for fear of interrupting her studies. Now the only thing I can do while she’s studying is sleep,” Madhani said.

Raghav Rao

Sampada Gavankar

Age: 47 years

Profession: Bank employee

Child: Son in Class 10 (SSC)

During the three-hour train commute to her office and back, Sampada Gavankar has been poring over Class 10 textbooks. Then she stays up late at night to make copious notes on each subject.

The notes will help her 15-year-old son, Pranav, who will appear for SSC examinations in March. Like most working mothers, Gavankar is struggling to strike a balance between her personal and professional life. She has devised her own way to help him out — sometimes by teaching him subjects she is comfortable with and at other times by preparing customised notes, flowcharts and topic synopses for quick revisions.

“Every act for your child counts,” she said. “It is my duty to maintain a tension-free atmosphere at home.”

Pranav, a student of Dr H. Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya, does not like being alone when he is under pressure. Gavankar’s “extremely demanding” back office job has made it difficult for her to take frequent leaves. To make up for the days she takes off to help her son, she works extra hours at office. “I cannot afford to compromise on the quality of my work just because my son has exams.”

Shreya Sengupta