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.
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: