If you are familiar with Harry Potter and his friends, you might remember that Hermione Granger had scored 320 per cent in Muggle Studies exams at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Years later, in the real world in which you and I live, will a student need to score that much or more to get admission to one of Delhi University’s A-list colleges?

Real-life is not fantasy fiction. Still, it is bewildering to see that a few Delhi University cut-offs have touched 100 per cent yet again.

The 100 per cent phenomenon, if one may call it that, had reared its head for the first time in 2011 when Shri Ram College of College (SRCC) had set that target for admission to BCom (Honours).

History repeated itself in several colleges in the following years, and Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) has declared a 100 per cent cut-off for three of its courses this year.

The media has reported that around 5,500 candidates who have registered for admission have a ‘best-of-four-subjects’ percentage of 100 per cent. Considering these numbers, a 100 per cent cut-off in a few subjects can be interpreted as a realistic announcement by a college that is widely sought after.

For the youngster, in other words, times have become so tough that a 90 per cent score in board examinations need not be good enough if one wants to study the subject of one’s choice in a prestigious college one aspires to attend. Indeed, that can prove to be pitiably less.

The number of paranoid parents is on the rise. So what if their child tops its class regularly, or perhaps, finishes a step or two behind the class leader?

The youngster may still fail to meet the targets set by good colleges in the all-important board examinations.

Carrying the burden of anxiety, parents toss and turn on their beds at night. Meanwhile, youngsters fight the real battle, hoping they will get those high scores they desperately need.

Living in an era when a million distractions are born every week, it is an irony that these youngsters need to stay away from all temptations and lead a lonely existence surrounded by reading material and nothing else.

While overindulgence is irrelevant activities is bad, finding time for relaxation stops being an option for a long time.

Many rigid parents don’t allow that anyway. Some allow insignificantly small breaks. Very few parents believe that their children must have a study-life balance no matter what the outcome of board examinations might be.

Peer pressure is a burden, too, while good students want good colleges anyway. Many youngsters must be buckling under pressure, but who cares as long as the symptoms aren’t visible?

Both institutions and parents must remember that youngsters can make a mark as adults only if they are allowed to strike a study-life balance.

Excess of anything is bad, they say. That also means studying with hardly any break with Mission 100 Per Cent in mind.

Biswadeep Ghosh

Biswadeep Ghosh is an author and freelance journalist. He has been a part of the India media for three decades. Among his books is MSD: The Man The Leader, the bestselling biography of cricketer MS Dhoni....