Let’s start at the very beginning today, because I have a lot to say (I almost always do) although I’ll still try to be coherent (something I’m not quite feeling tonight).
I am a complicated girl. Not just the normal complications that come with being a human being, but many added confetti-pouring, darkness-dripping paradoxical facets that the maker thought would be extremely funny to throw on me. Which is fine, I like being this person even though it makes me want to beg for tranquilisers a lot.
I like creating things. Yesterday I went through our whole collection of photographs and saw that about 90% of the moments of leisure in my toddlerhood involved sitting down with a pen and a notebook and writing down, what I must have thought, Tennyson-like poetry (which infact was mostly curly-wurlies). So needless to say, this (and I am waving my hands over all the notebooks and pens and poetry strewn around me on the bed) was kind of inevitable.
I am a science student. I scored 9.8 on my 10th grade CGPA. I took up core science for my 11th and 12th grades. I scored 93.5% in my finals. I took up science again for my bachelor’s degree (RIDICULOUSLY analytical statistics). The catch? I never wanted to.
Two years into my degree and I am officially a mediocre student. Actually, that is being stupidly optimistic. By Indian standards, I am a bad student.
For the past one year I have attended classes everyday (barring health issues) and every single day I have felt stupid. And I wish I was exaggerating and I wish all of this was a big fat hyperbole, but it’s not. This year, all of it overwhelmed me enough to make me cry (the number of times I have cried in the past 4 years can be counted on one hand) and this academia-induced crying last happened in 12th grade with, no points for guessing, physics, after which I had sworn to myself that this won’t happen again. It did. Hurrah.
So what happened? Am I stupid? No. Not because I scored a 93.5% in my finals in 12th grade because that happened after almost murdering my entire soul and hence doesn’t count. But because I know what I can do, and I do them all pretty damn well. I have and will have great stories to tell if you’ll let me. Is it my fault that none of them are bound in calculus and normal distributions and projectile motions? Science is a beautiful world. But it is just not my world.
I work with words. And people. And ideas.
I am working with numbers.
And it is killing me.
I am not blaming anyone anymore. Firstly, I am too exhausted and do not have any modicum of energy to spare for blame, but more importantly, I know I now have a longer, ridiculously winding path ahead to do something that is remotely connected to what I want. Because even though all I feel is despair, I cannot give in to cynicism. It’s the last straw I have left and I’m not going to let anyone take that away as well.
So my dear fellow countrymen with your ever-growing obsessions that ruin lives – when a little girl or a little boy goes up to you and inevitably asks you the wide-eyed, hopeful question, “Can I be anything I want to be when I grow up?”, don’t, please don’t say, “Yes”. Because in 15 years you will completely forget that pact you made with a 5 year old and you will be sending yet another person down the road where they no longer know what to do. Not because they never knew what to do.
Rather they always did. But you took it away.