Monday, 8 May 2017

Failure, success & the art of being an idiot

To put it subtly, you have been an idiot for as long as you can remember. Perhaps from the time when you could pretend to know and understand Algebra. Or speed and distance or physics problems. In layman's terms, from when you were approximately 14 years old. 

Since then, you have never been able to tell whether people were lying to you or were genuinely not able to come to play with you that day. You could never tell if they were actually saying the truth when they denied having the notes for a subject or they just did not want to give you those.  It was as if they knew that they could lie and get away with it. That you would never call their bluff or even ask them why did they cheat? You used to feel bad about it when someone else would expose such friends' or acquaintances' deceptions.

To make matters worse, you were never their favourite either. Because you were not cool. You were not cool because you were never THE BEST at anything whatsoever. You were more average, common place than John Doe. The teachers did not know you. The friend groups you belonged to could not care less. 

If a plan was made, you being a part of it depended on your presence in the vicinity of the venue. Love and romance? Well, no better than absent. Perhaps a couple of people from the opposite sex ever talked to you. That however did not include your crush.  In fact you were no one's favourite for a very, very long time. 

You considered yourself a failure. And had no proof, even for yourself, to prove otherwise. Being the naive kid first and then teenager that you were, you thought you were not good enough. For anything. For anyone. Studies were not your forte either. And being raised in a middle-class family ensured that you were never able to take up sports full time either. That was the failure phase.  And this phase haunted you for the better part of the decade before starting to wane. 

It lasted till you were old and mature enough to realize that reading novels was not equivalent to wasting time. It lasted till you read enough, on and off the internet to know how to talk to people and make them interested in you. You learnt that what one lacks in physical attributes does not always have to hold them back. It is possible that not being the above average looking person will hold them back from some places or keep some doors shut on them. That discrimination soons ends though. And all that starts to matter from there on is Knowledge. 

People tell you things. You know secrets of people. People trust you with their inner, innate feelings which sometimes they themselves do not acknowledge. You are no longer the John Doe. You read more. You know and have read things which people have not. Today, when you look back at that time when you were a failure, you do not feel sad. You are content that the experiences of that decade shaped you into a better urn than you would have been in the absence of those struggles. Did you forget the failure phase? Not once. Do you reflect back and brood over what an idiot you were? Yes, for sure. But then, do you laugh over it? You bet. And more often than you should. 

This is the success phase. This is the phase where you started to matter because you sought to change status quo. You made people recognise you and made sure they could no longer take you for granted. That is what success smells like, feels like. This is the success phase.

The last phase before you are ready for the world is where you explore the art of being an idiot. Here, you start learning more about which books to read and which ones to avoid. In this phase, you start learning more about yourself and the people you want to be around. Now, you know how to fall in love and who to fall in love with. 

You learn to laugh on yourself and your mistakes. You still do make mistakes. But you learn, rather than brooding over it. You know which television shows you like and which ones you would rather not watch. The career decisions that you took in the success phase have started paying off. Slowly, but surely, you know what to speak and when to speak. All the events of the past that have shaped you are not experiences in your repository that you would bank on while taking decisions, small or big.

Most of all, it is in this phase that one learns that I am You and You are me. 


  1. You are growing with every piece you write!

  2. This is brilliant, A.M., not just because of the way you've written (nicely articulated as usual), but because I feel like a lot of people - 'millennials' in particular - would resonate with it, I definitely do.
    The bit I liked best about this post is: "In this phase, you start learning more about yourself and the people you want to be around."
    So true.

  3. So relatable!!! Well done my buoy

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