This article pertains to my complete loss of creative thinking, which I observed some time after I finished my ICSE board exam. The entire exam, apart from mathematics, physics, and chemistry revolved around learning by rote. Whether you understood the topic or not was of little consequence during the exam because all questions were textual. If you knew how to think out of the box, it would just ruin your paper because you had written something that was not extracted from the text book. Examiners often didn't know English too well, so even using synonyms was not advised, our teachers told us. During the exam, it might have been a dull murmur voicing it's disapproval of me undertaking such an in-comprehensive course of education; but after the exams, when I got my results, it turned into a loud roar. What had I done to myself? Apart from the fact that I had received 95%, what had I actually learned in those years of slogging? How to duplicate what's in the text book in my own writing?
Alright, fine, maybe the matter wasn't vague at all, and I had learned many details in geography, history (sigh, for those who have passed through ICSE or other similar boards of secondary education), science and math. But when I compared it to other international curriculums, I found that they learned as much in detail, and more at times as what I had learnt, but they were actually trained to think out of the box. So could I blame it on the national curriculum, or on the lack of initiative on my part before deciding which one I was going to study.
So what was i? Was I merely a shadow of my capabilities? Or was I just plain stupid with no evident logic and an antiquated sense of living? Was I a social outcast? Was I ostracized from society, and had this led to my loss of thinking that others had somehow gained in each other's company? I had no traits of what a seemingly "cool" person would have- I did not have long hair that covered my ears (the reason why people do this, I have yet to discover), I did not own a blackberry( without which, I might add, some people think owning anything else is worthless). I did not care about social events and parties, and one question (of the many questions that were I my mind) that I always wanted to ask was, why do girls roll up the sleeves of their T-shirts? Why not buy sleeveless t-shirts if they were so keen to show off their stick-like arms?
And yet, there are always glimpses reminding me of how ignorant I could be at times-the movie "pay it forward" where a young boy came up with a concept of helping other people by "paying it forward" and when the issue came about questioning its rationality and others claiming it was impossible, the young boy retorted saying that just because they didn't believe in it, they thought it wasn't possible. Could I have ever thought of such a simple yet brilliant plan ever? A few days ago, I had gone to see a T.O.K presentation of my seniors. One topic was distinguishing between "ordinary and extraordinary people". When they were asked anything related to the topic, they cleverly replied with answers such as "that's what T.O.K is about-you can never be sure" and "there is a fine difference between anomalies and extraordinary people". While I marveled their skill and tact, it left me wondering about the power of thinking out of the box that I had-or did I even have it? That's left to be seen.
YAWAR MEHMOOD SEHBAI
University Of Management And Technology Umt Lahore
M Abid Ayub
Punjab University PU Lahore
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