When fishes climb trees . . .

This is my story. This is a story of four years of agony, frustration, anonymity, and helplessness. There is also a certain take-away from this story, a moral of sorts.

There is also this very little part in which I am happy, and a ray of hope shines through the dark clouds of despair.

Yesterday, I wrote the last Math exam of my life. I have no clue how my love affair with Math ended like an unprecedented disaster. In school, Math was like a best friend. English was like a friendly shoulder to cry on. English could be relief upon. When every subject betrayed me, English stood by my side. It came naturally like it was my mother tongue. I never studied for an English test. I’d just go through the grammar lessons.

I knew all the prose and poetry lessons well enough to create my own answers. I used to top the English class. Math never allowed me any freebies. It made sure I’d have to work my backside off before I could get good grades. But in those days, even solving math felt like partying.

The music would be turned on and I’d sit and solve book after book of math. When the grades came out, that success used to taste sweeter because I had had to work hard for it. Unlike English math didn’t come naturally to me. I had to conquer it.

In College when I opted for an honors in Math all of that changed. I started faring badly. I understood all concepts but I couldn’t perform in exams. The pattern of Math now was a departure from the pattern I was good at. There was more of rote learning.

You are required to memorise and memorise lots of stuff. I’m very bad at that and it started to reflect in the grades. When someone isn’t doing well in College it starts to reflect in his personality and his social position.

Teachers started ignoring me as the dumb kid, my classmates used to make fun of me for being dumb. A person who was used to being a star for all his life was suddenly reduced to a last bencher.

This transition was difficult. I tried to live a low profile life. The Department of Mathematics taught me how to live anonymously, as a number not a face. In those days, I used to wonder if I was suffering from multiple personality disorder.

I played different roles. One role would entail the personality who was on stage, with his band and MCing for shows. Another role would involve the introvert who sat on the last bench, and looked down to avoid eye contact, one who would skip classes to avoid seeing some faces that had disdain smeared all over.

I played both roles well. Though I didn’t perform exceedingly well in Math, I did enough to keep my boat afloat.
Then things stared to change. I took up blogging, rediscovered my flair for English, met a lot of people to whom I owe a lot now.

Things started to look up by the end of 2012. The blog was my only source of self esteem in my dark days. I found a bunch of people who would care to read my opinions and love the person in me and not scoff at me for my grades. Thanks!

I also found a media house that believed in my writing and was kind enough to offer me a writing job. This was the turning point. I’m indebted to them. Those who had made fun of me are unemployed now.

The moral : fishes should never try to climb trees. I was always a fish and now it’s time to return to the water. That is where I belong. Bon voyage!


32 comments on “When fishes climb trees . . .

  1. Beechmount says:

    Dear Subh’

    Well, I guess your ordeal with learming math is now behind you, but never think for a minute that your degree wont be an advantage for you. Math is usefull in just about every aspect of life.
    I always felt that jounalism might be a natural choice for your writing career and I hope you will do real well. Your inquisitive mind is a huge plus in that field. When will you get your graduation cerificate (and grades)? I’m just nosy- keep them private if you feel more comfortable that way.

    I think that all of us who follow you will be curious to know when you will begin your new job. and how you feel about it. Don’t keep us in the dark or guessing.
    Cheers from Grandpa

    • You are not being nosy at all πŸ™‚ . I’m leaving Guwahati on the 23rd of April. I shall have to stay in Hyderabad for the two months in which I shall recieve my training. The graduation results shall be declared some time in the month June.

  2. Jessica says:

    So glad to hear your voice back on the Internet, Subh. It’s funny—you chose a subject that *didn’t* come naturally to you and wondered why you did; I chose the one that *did* come naturally to me, and many people have wondered why. English is not a particularly practical degree unless you want to be a teacher, or, yes, a journalist. But since I never stated teaching *or* journalism as my passion…

    I’m glad you made it through. Those dark college days are behind you. Not trying to be discouraging, but the road ahead won’t be easy, either. Writing on deadlines can be hard; in journalism in the States, anyway, they work you to the ground. But always keep your chin up. You’ve got this. You’ve got talent and a huge heart. And we’re rooting for you!!!


    • Beechmount says:

      My selfsame sentiments

    • When you say you’re rooting for me, it feels so great. Behold the power of the internet. Complete strangers form a community that believes in sharing and caring. Awesome! I do acknowledge that the path ahead shall be even tougher. I have started preparing for it already. πŸ™‚

  3. Trisha Dey says:

    Hey Subh, Somehow I am amazingly touched by your last concluding lines- “fishes should never try to climb trees. I was always a
    fish and now it’s time to return to the water. That is where I
    belong.” These words sound so optimistic as if great times are waiting just ahead for you. I am sure they are waiting for you Subh. U are very talented and that reflects! Go! Go and conquer evrythng you always wanted to! Go and do everythng you always wanted to! And let that smile always brighten ur face up. Hard times are over. And even if they are not, U’ve gained enough capability to deal with them again. But this time with a better sense of understanding and experience. Bon Voyage Subh!
    And I hope I too can soon return to the place where I always belonged! The day it happens, I’ll write! πŸ™‚

  4. Mitali Das says:

    U r a cmpltly chngd person Subhabrata. I cn see d chnge. Dis is wat u r. Dynamic, versatile, talented nd a very gud human being. God bless u. Will alwys pray for u. Love u πŸ™‚

  5. I wouldn’t have made this journey without you, and I mean it πŸ™‚ Lots of love.

  6. Dagny says:

    This was heartening to read Subhrata. Strangely enough, my affair with Math ended almost in the same manner… though not for the same reasons.

    I didn’t stop getting the hang of math, I no longer cared to get it. I tuned math out of my intellectual radar the day I asked a teacher what were the applications of Linear Algebra were (we didn’t have google those days, alas) and she told me to shut up and just study the subject. I don’t handle non- reason very well.

    As for your writing, you make music with words. You do, honest.


    • Beechmount says:

      You should have told the teacher &*&^%$#@!-and then some more

      • Dagny says:

        Well yes. Perhaps I should have. But she was my mother’s colleague… it was complicated. πŸ™‚

    • The same thing happened to me. I asked the Head of the Department, and he is a revered figure about the applications of differential equations and his answer was unsatisfactory. I wish I had left then and there. It would’ve saved me three years of torture. Thanks πŸ™‚

      • Dagny says:

        Teachers like these should be banned from entering schools and colleges. I too wish I had left math. But it would have barred me from my beloved physics too. 😦 All for the best I guess.

  7. Monika Amita Bakshi says:

    Wish I could hug you after reading this blog. I am sure you got the message. This was “the best”, “the most honest”, and the “most beautiful” post ever written by you.

    One year back, after your exams, we had a talk. And, I told you that was not the end. There is always the best that awaits, but we seldom understand. How can we – we are lesser mortals. But, life is the biggest teacher. It teaches us to rise after a bad fall.

    You will go places…
    ………………. just keep the flames of passion flaring.

  8. lgyslaine says:

    I think that in life, nothing happens by chance. You are brave, bravo! πŸ™‚

  9. Saurabh Dugar says:

    It’s an awesome !!

  10. Saurabh Dugar says:

    Here I am ! Maths was not my cup of tea , had been scoring the lowest since my schooling started ,but things changed & I still don’t know how.

    It was my second day of being promoted to 9th standard.I was busy laughing around with Subh, Mahesh Sarda & Ritesh Kanu(my classmates),when Banerjee Sir spotted me & asked me to come to the first row,just near him.He made sure I was always in that same sear everytime in his class.Still remeber that day .Picture perfect in my subconscious!
    Gradually I began scoring good in Maths,first averaging it to other subject scores & then scored 90 in my Xth , 95 in XIIth I still think how all did it happen,magic?witchcraft? . No , it was all because of Baneerjee sir & the interest he created in me for the subject.I just thank him for that !!!! So so so many times .

  11. “This is a story of four years of agony, frustration, anonymity, and helplessness.” I know what you mean. I’ve been there. Being ignored, feeling insignificant, not belonging to and feeling out of place – One of the most painful experiences in life.

    And as Trisha has mentioned in her comment even if the hard times are not over yet you have gained enough strength to deal with them again. You are one of the strongest individuals I have come across in life.

    I am so glad to have you as my friend. I am happy for you Subh.

    If they ever tell my story, let them say… Subhabrata Dasgupta was a friend of mine. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  12. Rambler says:

    The sweet taste of success. Now that you possess weapons of Math Destruction, you can truly declare yourself a Global Superpower !! Congrats Subhabrata Dasgupta..

  13. soumyav says:

    The real nature and the real personality is niched only when you step into the real world…The character that is within the walls of a fortress no matter for studies or learning, haven’t got the wings to fly. For what you learnt in Maths cannot be ever useless and nor standing !st in class can teach you the intricacies of life. The basic knowledge of everything is always essential for a person and he /she excels only when the true nature blooms outside.. My best wishes are always with you and hope you never fall into the pit of darkness ever .

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