How I deal with failure

At the risk of sounding like a angry rant against the bloated system of education and reserving vote-banks under the guise of promoting the underpriviledged (also known as “Affirmative action”), I’ll be writing about, unsurprisingly enough, how I deal with failure.

Notice that last part: “how I deal with failure.” This is one instance of one person dealing with failure caused by his own actions and limited in scope to his own inconsequential life. This is not a guide on “Dealing with failure” in general; there are plenty of self-help websites on the internet that have better advice on that than I’m capable of. Think of this article as a window into someone else’s life and not necessarily one to model yours after.

I’m a 19 year old male, born and raised in an industrial town (nicknamed “the Ruhr of India”. Go figure.) in the state of West Bengal, once the land of progressive intellectuals but now reduced to one at the whims of uneducated, populist apparatchiks. I received a fairly decent but thoroughly middle class upbringing, but as fate would have it, I’ve always been in the midst of people of a better financial standing than myself. Predictably, this led to a lifestle beyond available means and a thought process far outstripping available economic resources. Sprinkle in unsupportive parents and you get a delicious soup of slightly sour undertones and a hidden blast of chilli that unexpectedly hits your throat just when you thought that the worst has passed and it is now safe to swallow.

Culinary analogies aside, I admit (as do my few and painfully honest friends) that I am pretty smart. After all, I breezed through high school virtually playing truant all the time. This didn’t work out in my favour when it came to college entrance exams though. Smart though I may be, hardworking I am not; and these exams need work and grit more than anything else. My only solace after the results came out was that I landed a rank, without practically studying anything, that was better than literally hundreds of thousands could after possibly pouring their hearts on that answer script.

My rank wasn’t good enough to get me into the premeir institutes of the country or the state, and through another cruel joke of fate, I ended up in a college where I am, regrettably, the smartest student on campus. Indeed, I’m better than a handful of teachers too. The college is about 60kms away from any human establishment that counts as “civilisation” in my book. We do not have internet connectivity in our shitty excuses of student hostels and the company I’m in has, to my own shock and surprise, turned me into the racist stereotype of an Indian man that I swore I’d never become. So far, none of my lofty fantasies of higher education have come true.

So I slogged through my maiden year of college. I studied (or at least tried to) and averaged an 8.2 GPA. I’m still intellectually starved, undersexed and on some days, the “Crushing Monotony and Paralysing Terror”, to paraphrase the amazing John Green, really gives me real physiological pain in my chest.

I do have the pleasure of being friends with a few amazing people. My friends talk me through most of my difficult times and it really really helps. Ms. Kusanagi, you’re counsel has really cleared my mind and gotten rid of various pockets of doubt I’d harboured in my mind. Mr. Ryuuji, your obsession over little problems like choosing an SSD over a power drill or a 6" tablet over a 9" one make my issues seem trivial in comparison; and it helps. I apologise for profitting from your anxiety but to my credit, I sincerely try my best to give you the best possible buying advice I’m capable of. Ms. Ayuzawa, the little time I’ve known you notwithstanding, giving you life advice has done its part in making me feel like a responsible adult and has worked wonders for my self-reliance and self-confidence; thank you for giving me the opportunity. Mr. Ryuuji and Ms. Kusanagi, you really help me pull through and I can’t thank you both enough. If I get enough money someday, I’ll buy the two of you mansions in Switzerland (so that you don’t have to worry about war or any undeclared income you might be hoarding).

So, in short, my friends pull me through when I wallow in self-defeat. Your company (and your replies on my IMs) is what, and I’m not exaggerating, makes me look forward to the next day.

To the unaquainted reader felling disappointed in this longform, I urge you to re-read the first two paragraphs. I took the risk, and you came along for the ride. Maybe in the future, I’ll put out something really worthwhile.


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