in Life

Failures

I recently received numerous examination results of mine (well, two, to enumerate, but that’s still more than average). And I failed in both. I didn’t fail per se, but the results were pretty bad that they left little, if any, scope for being happy. I consider that failure enough. What’s the value of a result if I’m not happy with it? I don’t see any.

Apart from that wisdom thing I’ve read. No failures, only lessons. So, for at least two to five days, I was very upset. I might mention here that the results were that of the boards and the JEE. I was upset, not so much because of the poorness of the result, as much as the reason, the lesson I expected to exist behind it. I had been kind of failing in school throughout the year (the last two years, in fact) anyways. But I was still surprised to have failed in something like the Boards. Especially when everybody around me, at the very least, got at least 5 percent above me. It was kind of interesting to see my mother ask – “Your friend topped the whole state. Don’t you feel ashamed?” The thought of feeling ashamed at that seemed incredulous to me. But then again, I rarely ever got what my mother means when she expects me to be ashamed at a trillion different things. That’s a story for some other time.

But at that question, it was clear to myself, that I had no problem with a good friend of mine topping the state. I had a problem with my own abysmal performance. Of course a standard of expectation was defined only by how my friends performed, but not individual instances like that. I got less than 85. And I scored the least in Math. Things like that, independent of any index, for me are appalling things. However little I cared about the boards, at least I looked down on it enough to assume I’d do decently, if not well. But I didn’t. And then I performed terribly in the JEE. By my standards, that is. Again, of course. the only index of my performance is my rank here, and that is defined by the performance of everybody else. But it’s still a disappointing result. By some ambiguously self-held expectations. There was an unflattering enough ambition, as to what department I want. It’s painfully sad, that the odds of my getting that are incredibly low. And for at least four days, I have a constant headache/feeling of intense sorrow/feeling of being ridden over by how lame I am, and how presumptious I am about whatever I can manage, aise hi. And primarily because, I can’t figure out why I failed. I failed for the last two years. One and a half actually – mostly after I broke my head. But that couldn’t be the reason. I’m not that lame to blame something like a road accident and an entirely insignificant, ephemeral mastoid fracture on persistent failures of mine. 😉

And day before yesterday, I worked real hard in the night, for Phi. I had wasted most of the day, like I waste most days anyways. But near the night, I started panicking, because I really wanted to ‘launch’ on June 1. And somewhat because of missing the SUMaC deadline twice, I have taken to doing stuff as if the deadline was one day before it is. Oh oh, I forgot to tell you the parts where I have not failed. So, I jump one para back, but not really. 😛

Of course I could give up on myself as if I was a trademark loser. I can’t do anything in my life, and will fail in whatever I try, especially studies. But I ‘succeeded’ last year, in this thing called the KVPY. A bit more background to why the lack of lesson of those failures disturbed me so. I’m a lot into philosophy anyways. Not the real studied, metaphysics, epistemology, etc, hard-core philosophy. The Richard Bach and Paulo Coelho kind popular philosophy. Not that they’re entirely distinct, but the latter is much less focussed and tangible. But still, so much into philosophy that I cooked up some of own, around which I actually plan (planned in class 12 actually, but failed again) to write a book upon. The line, summarily, says “You will not get anything unless and until you stop wanting to”. I would add a terms and conditions applied with an asterisk too, but since it’s so mellow-core, I wouldn’t much care to. So, over the two years I tried to apply thoughts like those into things I tried to do. It worked, to quite an extent. Except for the fact that making it work, is not entirely in my hand unless I become a much more spiritually advanced soul. That discussion for later too, but here, I want a tangible statement as to why ‘m working. Or something I can consciously do to make perhaps my own philosophy work.
So, KVPY was a quite a success. I’ll write a full length post sometime later on what I did, but I remember that I didn’t prepare anything. There was no scope to. They had given two sample papers. I did those papers again and again – like three or four times. And I remember that while giving the exam, I had this weird kind of boost that I had worked a lot, and enough. That fit in with Physics Bhaiya’s philosophy – “One does not require to study to succeed in exams. Beyond a certain point which nearly all of us are nearly always beyond. But one does need to be confident while giving the exam. By studying, one prepares one mind to believe it is prepared, giving it a sense of confidence.” Thankfully I didn’t overthink philosophy and bullshit during the KVPY exam, I just gave it, and came out grinning. Both the rounds. Both were equally fictitious, random, and done with. That was/is one memorable success I’m kind of proud of – mainly for the experience and learning it brought about, than the little knowledge of mine it really tested. {This test too, could be pushed away on grounds of having a subjective interview, at which my family tells me, rather encouragingly, how I may still be the dimwit I most probably am, I’m just a clever pretender and good interviewee. Bringing this to my consciousness obviously guarantees all future interviews are nearly always screwed, but bleh.}

And then, rather recently, was Mathcamp. Now I failed to qualify INMO both the time I gave it. I failed to qualify INOI, despite having tried very hard to qualify it the second time I gave it. And I failed to get through Mathcamp last year. It pains me to feel that I am not even half as aptitudinally skilled as I believe myself to be. That was mainly caused due to Mathcamp. So this year, I did Mathcamp, but mostly with a kind of presumed abandon that I am too lame to get through anyways. And I first go waitlisted. But then, I got through.

After getting through Mathcamp, even if it was two months of effort, and even if I (kinda dishonestly) got many of my thoughts because I kept running them through my brother, I thought gives me some index of intellect. And then I fail at the board math and the JEE. The latter being something I had worked hard for (or so I liked to believe. At least somewhat.) So, I was extremely concerned that it’s not a matter of lack of brains, and I’m not the loser to say I suck at three-hour sitting exams. KVPY was one in itself (including RMO and some other shit), hence.

Another thing that delayed my realization was the statement that my performance is nearly a function of only my performance on exam day. It’s obviously true, because my time waste of all the other days is seen by no one. But one of the things my brother had told me, that something he realized and found critical, after failing (to his expectations) in his JEE (just the examination – without knowing the results. o.O He was that … cool. 😛 ), was that an essential ingredient to doing well, was seriousness. Now, that’s not easy to get. I didn’t particularly remember being serious in getting KVPY or anything.

And day before yesterday, when I was working on Phi (yes we’re back to continuing what I wrote five paras ago), in the night, after having wasted the day, and a frantic settling down on me, and my brother making his usual snide remarks on my having wasted time and refusing to help me, I sat and worked for three hours. At that time, I only appreciated what a tough thing it is to run a site off, as well as one wants to. But yesterday, while bathing or some other chore, I realized what seriousness was. After that night’s work, after a long time, I had slept off instantly, out of sleepiness. Not out of boredom of lying on the bed for so long. And I realized that for everything I had managed and was happy about, I had spent days working so hard, that I slept after the work, not played and/or wasted time. That was some index of seriousness for me. And all of a sudden every other thing fit. I did not want the KVPY thing. I didn’t even know what I was going to get. But I worked real hard. And though I did seemingly pointless shit, I did it hard. The interview, okay, was random.

And I sure wanted Mathcamp. But I wanted the result much lesser this time. And I worked much harder at the problems. For the first time do I remember doing questions from the paper that, I know for a given, from my reasoning, are compellingly correct. Rarely before have I done good math questions that deeply. I learnt shit (the valuable kind). And I have had sound sleeps after those questions.

And I can definitely say that I have done nothing remotely like that for any school exam of mine. Not in a good spirit, at least. And mostly not for the JEE, either. Not at least as far as I remember.

I think I learnt my lesson from this failure. I look forward to what’s to come next. Ciao now, from this 1753 words long post you just read. Or, by most chances, that you didn’t. 🙂

  • Deep stuff man. I’m not quite sure what an appropriate response might be. But I can relate to bits and pieces of the post.

    • Heh. That’s cool. It’d be awesome if somehow my insights about my life actually helped. 🙂

  • I could leave a generic encouraging comment, but I think you are already handling this very maturely. Power to you. I hope you find more passionate things to do in the future too, for it is in that anyone really enjoys working.

    • Generic? The only expected comment recently became “You’re lame if you think they count as failures.” Apparently my friends are ahead of me in dispelling things as worthless. :/
      Still, thanks for the wishes. It’s been an interesting experience, all of it. And definitely to lead for the better. 🙂

    • Any plans yet for college?

    • I may have overstated (by ‘average standards’) how much I failed. 🙂 I am going to some IIT, but in my rank, don’t really know which one I’ll get through. Guwahati or Kharagpur by most chances, in that order of preference.