He picked up a pencil and scribbled a few words on a piece of paper. “Pehley waala funda ekdum extra hai, Ekta Reddy!”
Next day, they went to Neelabh. He was tall and wiry with barely-there eyes. He was the captain of the Kabir House and also a Prefect.
Neelabh was sitting in his room reading a PG Wodehouse.
“Neelabh, you must have seen Aamir around. I was telling you about him yesterday.”
“Hi, Aamir,” Neelabh flashed a friendly smile and asked him to sit down.
“I’ll push off. I don’t want to get caught in a heavy discussion between two intellectuals,” Sagar said and, with a wink at Aamir, walked away.
“Well Aamir, so you haven’t done as well as expected this term.”
“I really don’t know. In Physics, I did badly. Social studies, too, wasn’t good, but that was expected.”
“What about Maths?”
“First term 100, second term 97.”
“How much did you get in Physics in the first term?”
“31 out of 33, the second highest.”
Neelabh remained silent for some time and then said, “Aamir, let me tell you how I study. First and foremost, I pay total attention in class. This may sound too simplistic but let me tell you most guys are distracted by the slightest of things and, as a result, they don’t absorb what is taught. We have some very good teachers. If we pay attention to what they are teaching I think 75% of the job is done. Secondly, you know we have a ‘Prep’ period every evening from seven to eight. I finish revising what is taught during the day in the Prep period. As a result, I can keep pace with my studies on a day-to-day basis and not wait for the examination fever to hit me. Does it make sense?”
Aamir slowly nodded.
“Thirdly I never try to mug up or cram. I try to get the hang of the concepts – especially in Science and Maths. Once the fundas are clear, then the rest is easy. Now, Physics is my favourite subject so if you have any doubts you can come to me.”
“Thanks for the offer, Neelabh.”
“Not at all, after all you too are doing your bit to help others.”
“Me? I didn’t get it?”
“Come on, aren’t you helping out Gopal?”
“You know about it?”
“Of course. The whole school knows about it. Lingayya is very grateful to you and expresses his gratitude quite openly.”
“Social Studies is another major problem. I just can’t seem to remember all that data,” Aamir said.
“There is one easy way of doing it.”
“What is that?”
“Mnemonics. A mnemonic is a pattern of letters or words used as an aid to memory. Let me explain,” Neelabh said and, getting up, took out a book.
“This is my Civics book. Now, suppose you have to memorise the aims of the United Nations, it can be quite a pain. For instance, let me read out to you the aims:
Now, the keywords here are Peace, Work together, Friendly relations, Eliminate, Environmental destruction, Helping nations, Encourage and Respect. With the first letter of each word or phrase, form a Hindi or Telugu word and remember it. Then link these words or phrases and try to make the sentence as funny as possible
“For instance, the sentence could be something like this…,” Neelabh looked at the page in front of him, a frown of intense concentration on his page. He picked up a pencil and scribbled a few words on a piece of paper.
“Pehley waala funda ekdum extra hai, Ekta Reddy!”
“Wow, that’s great. That should be easy to remember,” Aamir said.
“With a little bit of practice, you’ll become an expert at making crazy sentences that will help you remember difficult and boring stuff. Don’t forget to write down the sentence you have made or else you will need an additional mnemonic to remember the first one.”
Half an hour later Aamir left, after thanking Neelabh.
Read on to Chapter 10
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