Saturday, September 26, 2009

An hour of humiliation

"You will be disappointed if you fail, but doomed if you don't try."
"Once a Bhatta, always a Bhatta". -Divyam

After a month or two of inspiring and happy days in IIT back in the 2nd year, life proved me that sadness and disappointment hadn’t yet deserted me. Surprisingly, the causes of depressions are still the same- the exams.
After maintaining a laissez-faire attitude during the preparation, while attempting and even after receiving two papers marked at 10/20; the final one crushed all this. MAL255 paper, a subject where I assumed myself to one of the better ones and with an in-depth understanding of concepts I scored a disappointingly low 2/25, that too in an easy paper- far lesser than anything I had scored in the hopeless first year. Being haunted by easy papers still hasn’t left me.
The worse thing was I had to consider an option, I was sure I wouldn’t have to bother about- withdraw. The main reason- Professor Kundu, the only one of the 5 to have taught me in the first year, and the only one without a positive impression of me. Rather he carried something worse than neutral as apart from the horrible first year’s impression, he had thrown me out of the class once for talking, and criticized me for discussing with Pradeep the day the papers were doled out.
The option of withdraw was made all the more plausible by Tripathi sir’s chat to me, where he almost exposed a devilish grin laughing at me within. (Some of his words were whether you like the course, think you are good at it, or whatever I would suggest: withdraw) With the fact throbbing in my head, I finally came face-to-face with Kundu sir in his room where handling the paper removed my last doubt, that he had been joking. (Too optimistic to expect Professor Kundu to be doing so) I had expected nothing less than 10. Some of the remarks in the paper were troubling (you have learned nothing, nonsense!), and some zeroes in some questions I was expecting full marks in.
I slowly realized how my habits of messing the unmessed were still so much within me, as all the innovation I had tried in 2 questions during the paper (the answers to which I knew the simple way) had failed. It just demonstrated a harsh fact, exams can’t be taken as a medium to learn, but earn.
I was hushed by him within 10 minutes for appeals of increasing marks as he either made me realize my mistakes or that he was determined not to increase. But even after this, when anxiously asked if I should continue with this course, all that followed was humiliation, for I was told I deserved nothing more than 8/100; what a big fool I was. I was also accused of mugging, getting notes photocopied the last day or copying down from the board blankly. (Some of the accusations I laid on others) I was also ‘informed’ that I knew only computational mathematics, and nothing of abstract algebra. (Though I am one of the stronger guys in the abstract form) I was mocked when I asked the question that had been haunting me- if there was anything personal. (I wished I could read Bengali to flatter him, for he was reading Anand Bazar Patrika online) There were some improvements as well he suggested between the lines (though that too as insults). I gave up convincing him I was not a fool who bunked and slept in the classes or in my room during his classes that I was attentive, good at abstract mathematics (which I assumed would melt his fury) but soon gave up agreeing to his accusations of being a fool.
After consulting Tripathi sir (who said ‘Of all those who say there is nothing personal, Kundu is the last I would trust’) and some motivation by Pradeep and my inner-self, I decided to try against all odds and fight for it. But there was one thing I couldn’t say after this encounter- ‘I know maths’.

2 comments:

Divyam Singhal said...

i criusly agree with "exams can’t be taken as a medium to learn, but earn"... in my mal115(Sem-III) exam, i solved 3 questions by two methods and wasted time... still wondering howcome i did such a blunder...

Siddharth Bhattacharya said...

there are many bad things IIT has taught and has in store definitely as well.
No wonder, so many people like take the alluring path of gaining marks at the cost of concepts

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