EPISODE 2: DÉJÀ VU
Disclaimer: This post has extensive use of Hyperbole. Try not to Google and verify the facts every now and then.
It’s not often that I feel low. And not just low, in the words of Jon Bellion, feel that I’m at an All Time Low. And it gets even worse if I’m having this feeling right after a month of making it to one of the elite engineering colleges of the country, a college which would have surely made it to the Indian Ivy-league, only if we had one (assuming MHRD stops considering such colleges to be better than ours which claim to have the entire world at their campus).
It was just a few days back that I was finally feeling relieved, relieved of not having to be a part of that appalling rat-race again, ever, or at least for a time till I’m ready to dive in that stream of mindless slogging once again. But guess what? I was about to witness something incomprehensible; something that had been illustrated in mythology, science fiction and had been an integral part of voodoo since eternity- DÉJÀ VU, or resurrection, or some other spooky adjective.
In case you’re still clueless about what creature was brought back to life in the last paragraph, it was the same rat- the rat which has so often been associated with the abominable race that is indigenous of our own. So, one month in, and I’d already realized that this place is no exception: Here too, I had to compete just to keep myself breathing above the pool of average. But that’s not it, mate. The real agony began when I came to know who my contenders were- people who were habitual of grinding with their teeth clenched day in and day out, people with a formidable JEE rank, people who had aced board examinations, people who had cleared national scholarship exams, and many other similar pundits. And all this time I was wondering, “How the hell did I even get in this place? I don’t deserve to be here. How am I supposed to compete against such braniacs?” And with these thoughts circling round my head, I wrote the first exams- T1.
It was no surprise that I had barely managed to caress that elusive average mark, and it was the first time in my college life that I experienced this feeling of being low. You see, all through my school years, I had been one of those guys who would torment the entire class by being that typical sharmaji ka ladka, setting the bar high with every exam, the kind of guy who’s always patted by his teachers, who would stand up and answer his own doubts, you get the picture. I was the epitome of the socially unaccepted clan of nerds, and I had always considered it to be a matter of great pride. It was perhaps the only thing in my life that I was good at. But this place had so effortlessly taken away my only pride, in such a short span of time, and so deftly, that I just succumbed to this devouring feeling of lowliness.
But that’s not what drags it down to an All Time Low. In a campus like ours, which is isolated in every sense, despite being in Goa, one tends to make friends, or bros, or bffs (if people still say that) and it’s utterly ridiculous how close we get in such a small amount of time. What added to the pain was the fact that I had to compete against them, but the worst part was yet to come: it was when the first rays of enlightenment hit me- all my friends were actually better than me; and not just better, they were in a different league altogether. I acted just like a mature person is supposed to- I got bitten by the pangs of jealousy. I drifted away from them, tried to beat them at a game which I’d always thought was mine, spent hours making notes at the library, but nothing seemed to work.
Eventually, I did the right thing- I caught hold of my friend and asked him to tell me his secrets; that how he was able to achieve what I was supposed to; how he was able to enjoy his college life, be an active member of the clubs and still manage to get the grades which I was so desperately trying to get. It took him a few minutes to realize that he had not been abducted, and after his routine swearing, he chuckled and said, “Dude because I don’t carry this mentality of “competing” with others. If someone is better than me at something, I accept that, and I try and maintain a friendly relation with him. I go out and ask my doubts, have further discussions on that topic. And it’s not just about academics, but in everything I do. This way I build new contacts, and maybe a new friend. I don’t sit in my room and annoy the walls with my whining that I’m unable to perform well. I socialize, I talk to people, I ask.”
“So, you mean all I had to do was ask?”