The past weekend, I had been to my native. And when I was at a petrol bunk, someone just drove in on his bike & it seemed to be someone familiar to me. Only later did I recollect that it was one of the lecturers who taught us physics in our first year of college. He used to be fondly called 'periya mokka' - not without reasons. And I couldn't but other than be reminded of the following.

It was the a few days after the second mid-sem of my first year, and he had just then distributed to us our answer sheets evaluated. I knew I hadn't done well, in fact, it was one of my worst, and I was very much prepared for scoring less than 20 / 50. It was 17.5. And like always, we were also asked to check if there were any queries / clarifications / any mistakes in the totals, and very soon there were a few surrounding him. I went up to him too, and patiently waited for my turn.

"What?", asked he, in his signature blunt tone that would kinda sound accusing anyone just for having stood in front of him.

With all modesty, I replied, "Sir, total mistake, sir." and flipped the sheets myself for him.

"How much?"

"Sir, 1 mark, sir." [Or maybe just a half; pardon my memory]

He took the sheets from me, and looked at the first page that read in red "17.5 / 50" encircled by an incomplete circle. And he gave them back to me without any modification.

I insisted that there was a mistake & he seemed to just ignore me. A couple of minutes more of my presence there had clearly annoyed him, and with one last utterance of my "Sir, total mistake, sir. It's 17 and a half instead of 18 and a half, sir!", he turned to me & yelled at me in front of everybody there:


[oh, I won't beg your pardon for my memory, for these, I'm sure, were the very words I got yelled at with]

Undoubtedly, it was pretty embarrassing - not to have scored so low, but to have been yelled at in front of a lot of people. But then, I got that one and made it 18.5 - and this sorta compensated for that embarrassment.

Now, there I was, being reminded of this whole thing in a whiff of a second, while he just drove his bike away. The point is, I got yelled at for scoring low in a subject that I didn't like, while studying a course I have no idea how I got into, in pursuing a degree that I didn't want to, in a place I never thought I'd stay at, living a life with no purpose as of then.

And w.r.t to the last point, pretty clearly, even now. But so many of the things that happened earlier & later seem to have come out of thin air vanished back into it. I've done a few things I shouldn't've & a lot that I never thought I could've. I got into a job that I felt would feed my brain, enjoyed certain things that made me feel if I deserved them, met people of incredible potential, attitude & skills that I can never even dare to emulate, moved with a few who despite many odds had reached where we were, and even came across people who made me think that I lived a far better life than theirs.

I digress. The point is, you might get yelled at for being yourself, however stupid. But what's fun without stupidity? I realize I'm getting less stupider everyday while getting seasoned by the society around me, and it sounds alarming. So, just as many other greats did earlier, I suggest, you, whatever you are, even if you don't know what, remain yourself. And thou shalt fail to do so if and only shalt thou wish to make thyself better, and that, as per thy own standards and not by any other's.

That one mark couldn't have changed my internals, let alone my life, but that I insisted to get it, however low, only because I deserved it, or at least I thought so. And those in the room then, I'm sure wouldn't have changed their view of mine just because of that.

I digress again.


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