I come from an Indian middle-class family. Among my parents, my mom was a bright kid, always a topper. My dad was just “ok” in his studies. Both of them had hard childhood, having financial problem, too many siblings, responsibilities more than age and many other problems that I can’t imagine. As parents they made it a point to not let me suffer what they had gone through.
So I never had to think about if I could buy this book or take that private tution. I can’t complain about that. But as I got some privileges I was bound to have some sort of responsibilities. It’s not like anybody directly asked for it but it was implicit. Who wouldn’t want her parents to be proud of her? At the end of the day if I see my parents happy for me, that would be the best feeling in the world.
As I have understood my mom always wanted me to stand first in the class. And ironically I was always the second. I had never been a topper. Now many of you will say, ” Don’t be a snob! Even second is not bad!”
Or ” How much you learnt is what matters.”
Yes, I agree to all of it. Nevertheless I value my mom’s wish. I never realised how much effort she used to put in my studies. My dad had never touched my textbooks. But both of Yemini’s (topper) parents used to monitor and assist her proactively. Now this may sound like I am giving an excuse but trust me, I am done with these lame excuses.
I have run in a rat race. I have been under pressure from family, teachers and all. Their expectations were building on my shoulders day by day. I was living a life to please everybody but me. I was never a pessimist, I was never a realistic human either. The question “what if it never happens” never came into my mind, I gave my best effort. I did pretty well in middle school and high school but I lost it in the engineering entrance exam. In all the meaningless competition I only did what I was told to, I failed to identify my passion. I had to be a doctor or an engineer but I didn’t know why. My social skills were poor. I was nervous to speak out in front of people, I wasn’t bold enough to find my own way. I just followed the mass.
My math tutor asked me on the first day why kids go to school and my answer was, “Cz everybody else goes “. Little did I knew how much of me was reflected in that simple answer. My mom had her own reasoning. She used to think that I wasn’t the best because we always had some family problems going on that hindered my studies. Or maybe it’s daddy’s “mediocre” gene. I was not bothered about her logics. My friends had told me on several occasions, ” You are good but Yemini is very good.”
As I grew up, I came to the realization why and how Yemini was and is better than me and why I should be done with it. As I can remember she was very jolly, talkative, playful, outspoken person. She was hardworking and talented. She was swift and smart. She knew her goal and never lost her focus from it. Her goal was above all of us. She fixed her eyes on that height, and kept on working and building herself unless she could reach her aim. On the other hand, there was me. Not a cool kid, shy, nervous, low level of confidence, not having a say of my own, having really short sight. I must have toiled to reach where I am now but I know it’s definitely not the smartest way.
All the meaningless competition and some inevitable circumstances bittered my friendship with Yemini but I will always appreciate her. She’s a genius. She has a great job, adventurous life, proud parents. As far as I’m concerned, not everybody is meant to be the best, the perfect. Maybe some people are meant to be just mediocre, like me going to 9-5 office, getting frustrated with the monotony, the uncertainty, the mediocrity…
Sorry for this long boring confession. Appreciate your patience. Much love XO