School isn’t easy. Ask any 6-year-old lugging a 6 kg. schoolbag. And it just gets worse as you grow older. There’s puberty, acne, growing pains, heartache, puppy love. And maths. At a time when most girls start worrying about their figures, I was trying to make sense of maths figures. It was a losing battle. There were just too many of them. I was outnumbered, heh.
Meanwhile, I also sucked at sports. And I wasn’t popular. It was that easy. You see, in my school, you had two tickets to popularity. Either you were a geek or a jock. For me, studying for anything except language papers, was like a fly. Annoying and irrelevant. As for sports, if there was ever an award handed to Benchwarmer of the Year, I wouldn’t get it because I’d be too busy sitting it out. I was the kid who got picked last on teams. I was the kid who consistently made it to the top 10 ranks in exams, without actually getting noticed by the teachers. I was the kid nobody wanted to hang out with. I was Chandler.
And I didn’t want to be that. Every time I’d see these sport-star girls from my class go and stand on that raised platform and get medals, I’d soooooo want one. Just one. A tiny one to love and call my own.
And eventually, I got my wish. Because of maths. Obviously not for maths. The only time that’d be possible is if there was a contest between me and a lab-trained chimp. And even then, it would probably be a photo-finish.
No, I won a silver medal in Shankar’s International Children’s Competition, for a funny little poem titled ‘Mathematics’. I think the judges identified with my angst, took pity and decided to make life a little easier for me. Sort of put a silver (note pun) lining to my dark cloud. It helped, of course. I decided that I wasn’t a completely useless blob, got on to the creative writing bandwagon and lived more or less happily for a reasonable amount of time.
None of which would have been possible, ironically, without Maths.
And today, I read in the newspapers (actually I just heard my would-be engineer brother protesting violently while he read the newspaper) that there’s a proposal out to make maths optional in schools. Apparently, this move has to be undertaken because it affects sports performance.
Jocks vs. Geeks. The ultimate battle has begun. As for those who flounder hopelessly in the middle, like I did – ladies and gentlemen, your time has finally come.