At the age when you start realising that being a drawing teacher is not much of an option for a career (especially because your drawing is not good to begin with,) you are bombarded with the "real talk" about how you should have a goal and take studies seriously.
Don't get me wrong I had always realised that living in a country where female education is not a priority, having parents from middle class providing me with the best of education, was a privilege. Yet I could not ignore the fact that scoring in all of academics was not my strength.
What started of as a mere dilemma spiralled into a full fledged identity crisis where I felt like I was the only one who loved books but not the kinds that could be of value in exams. I would much rather be lost in the Middle Earth or be lost in an English garden during a summer (without visiting England). I would be lost in the word plays and characters of classic literature. I mean I was a nerd I read extensively but not Science books. Who cares about a nerd whose learning doesn't reflect on the mark sheet? Who cares that you understood Hamlet's dilemma in the 7th grade when you couldn't balance the chemical equations?
You may ask hadn't I heard about the great Indian method of rote learning? I had, and it was encouraged too. But simply overfilling my brain with information that made no sense was an activity that repulsed me so much. Also it was information that was beyong practical application. How did it matter that the Prairie grass was different from the Savannah? Or what delta or basin even was? Nor were the people who taught us making it any easy for us. It would have been so kind of those people if they had revealed us the secret that this tedious matrix they called "Multiplication Tables" was simply repetitive addition.
This conflict in interests ultimately led to what parents in that generation did, nagging. I mean I was about to enter the dreaded SSC exams, my parents had a reason to worry. When things had reached a boiling point I was saved by a teacher, my aunt. I have always loved the people that are aunts and uncles, they are a combination of parents and friends blended to perfection.
I still don't know what I would have done if I was not rescued at that point. The advice that gave my life a spin was this, "Have fun". That is a mantra that sounds simple but it is not simplistic. What I had done all my life was study like it was a burden, focusing on pushing it down my throat rather than savouring it.
In fact, that was the first time I actually understood, the first time I had an overview at my studies, the first time that there WAS a bigger picture, and as tough as it all looked, it was possible to learn something. And I learned only as much as interested me.
My aunt also calmed my parents' fear because by then I had figured out I wanted to choose the Arts stream and my overall grades wouldn't affect my chances in the real world.
With this "Fun Weapon" at my disposal I consumed knowledge in bits and at leisure. In fact, even if I didn't break records at the Board exams, those two years were the best overall scores I had in my life. What I lacked in Math I balanced by scoring in Languages and Social Studies. And passing the tenth grade made me free to pursue what I could do well, getting lost in the plots of the novels, analysing the characters' psyches and in the general play of words.
In fact, I applied my aunt's "Have fun" mantra to many aspects of my life and find that there is a happy twist to every Existentialist situation out there!
“I am blogging about my dreams and the people who helped make them true for the #AdviceThatMattered activity at BlogAdda in association with Stoodnt.”