My Autobiography: A Risk Worth Taking!


Photo by Anto475 (Own work) [CC BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

I didn’t have a special connection or passion for English (subject) until my ninth standard. Until then, I treated it as one more subject to memorize and score marks.

But in 9th Standard, two things happened: NCERT (CBSE)  changed the English syllabus and evaluation in a good way where we didn’t have to memorize anything anymore, and I started reading Enid Blyton books. (Yes I know that was late, but better late than never!).

Suddenly, I fell in love with English. Until then, my creative writing endeavors were reserved to Tamil, my second language. I thought only a few English teachers had a passion for the language. With Tamil, it was different.

Anyway, once I like something and I determine I am passionate about it, I indulge in it wholeheartedly. I don’t care about mundane things like marks, etc. So during the 9th and 10th Standards, I just loved the English syllabus and English exams. The syllabus and testing methodology was conductive to exploring and encouraging creativity.

In the 10th Standard, with the public exams and all that hype, I decided that marks were important and I wanted to score good marks in English too.

Just before the quarterly examination, my English teacher asked us to write an essay based on some prompts given by him. He asked me to stand up and read my essay. I did. After listening to it, he rightly pointed out that I did not use the prompts, and I had written the essay based on my own pointers and imagination.

That was a revelation to me also, but I didn’t find anything wrong with it. To me, the prompts were optional, and I decided to use it only if I ran out of ideas. Like now, even back then, I never ran out of ideas or opinions! But the teacher specifically told me that I had to use those prompts if I wanted to score good marks.

Now I was in a dilemma. Do I write what my heart wants to, or do I write what will (presumably) give me more marks? Heart or Mind? My decision, of course, was to listen to my heart. That’s what I’ve always done, and that’s what I do even today!

So I decided to ignore his advise and write what I thought was important and relevant to the topic. I mostly ignored the prompts given in the question paper.

Obviously my teacher didn’t like my attitude. It was not only dissonance, but also insolence, and disobedience. No wonder my marks were just average during the mid-term and half-yearly examinations.

But I followed the same strategy in the board exams too. Guess what, I was the top scorer in my class (for English) in Tenth Standard Board Exams!

This habit – following my heart over the mind – continues until today. Only, success is not as forthcoming now! But success (or the lack of it) has never determined my path.

Destination Infinity

This post has been written for an indiBlogger contest in association with Mountain Dew (Facebook page).

Have a look at this Tamil commercial for Mountain Dew (featuring Arya) on taking risks and rising above fear:



  • SG

    It is good you follow your heart. But you cannot do that at all times in all situations. That will land you in trouble. Suppose you see a beautiful girl in the street. Your heart want you to do something to/with her. You cannot do that. You have to listen to your mind and control yourself.

    • Rajesh K

      In the above situation, my heart will warn me to stay as far away as possible from the beautiful girl 😛 Hearts do collaborate with minds at times 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  • Manogna

    Loved your post DI.
    Even i learnt about my love for English and essay writing early on.
    I remember writing my essays and scoring good. Only regret, i couldn’t save the answer sheets with me! (They don’t give them home , right?) 😛

    • Rajesh K

      For us, only the board exam answer sheets were not given, but we can take other answer sheets (quarterly, half-yearly, etc.) home. I didn’t like answer sheets, so I didn’t retain any of them. I just have a few papers where I have written essays during college.

      Destination Infinity

  • Rachna Chhabria

    Its a good thing that you follow your heart, but I don’t think it works well for all situations. Sometimes we need to follow our brain too or we need to follow our hearts and take our brains along with us 🙂

  • Jeevan

    Think I too would have fell in love with Eng. if I went to 9th 🙂 My Eng. improved only after joining tuition at an Anglo-Indian teacher…but my real interest and understanding English emphasis only after left school and reading newspapers led me to write on my home.

    I wish schools allow student to write answers based on their understanding of the subject they read rather rewriting what on the book perfectly. I too believe following heart lead to content and what i am today is my own intention to read and write.

    • Rajesh K

      Yes, exams should test the student’s understanding and not their ability to reproduce the book. Glad that you too followed your heart.

      Destination Infinity

  • Ashwini CN

    Thanks to the CBSE mode of evaluation, that was one among the reasons I started exploring my creative writing abilities. And yes, at certain situations we should know when to follow the heart and when to go with the mind. 🙂