Image: Ritesh Uttamchandani for Forbes India
It was in early 2016 when Rishabh started losing interest in studies. Or so it seemed. “It all started with maths,” recalls Reeta Tandi, Rishabh’s mother, who works in a government medical department in Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh, which boasts a campus of India’s premier business school, Indian Institute of Management. “He dreaded maths,” rues Tandi, who is back from work at 7.30 pm. Till class IV, she lets on, Rishabh was a bright student. “In fact he came third in the class.” A visibly-hassled Tandi shares her fond memories with Aditya Shukla, who has come home for a counselling session with Rishabh, a student of class VII, on a Friday, around 8.30 pm.
A commerce graduate in his mid-20s, Shukla patiently hears out Tandi’s tale of what went wrong with her son who studies at one of the top three private schools in Raipur. “How much did he score in the half-yearly exams?” he asks. “20 in maths, 40 in English and 25 in science,” laments Tandi, staring at her jittery son who is sitting on the edge of a sofa. The 12-year-old, feverishly biting his nails, avoids eye contact with his agitated mother who put him in a coaching institute last November. “Stop playing games on the mobile,” she howls. “He knows nothing and doesn’t ask anything in the class,” Tandi says in exasperation. “He is fast becoming a failure.”