Today I remembered when I was chosen from to represent my school for an inter school quiz competition. The winner would have gone for the Bournvita Quiz contest on TV. For a long time, I was a bit of a Type A personality and thus the quiz meant something to me. As it turned out, my partner and I tied last with some other school. It was sad but mostly embarrassing, very embarrassing. I remember coming home, telling my father, ashamed, and then going straight to bed. I had covered myself with the blanket and cried myself to sleep.
I remember being in the school car and told by our teacher, “Great! Now you can go tell everyone that you stood last.” I could understand her frustration. I was frustrated too. I was chosen amongst around 200 people along with my partner for that quiz. We had to take a “General Knowledge (GK)” exam consisting of questions from our GK book. We were at the beginning of term at school so we were naturally not through with the entire book. As luck may have it, I had borrowed my books that year from a senior so I had all the answers. For a long time I blamed myself for not deserving to go to the quiz since I qualified only because I had the book with all the answers in it.
Now I see the whole scenario in a slightly different way. We were told months earlier that we will be taking a test for the quiz and it will comprise of the questions in our book. I had spent my whole summer holidays studying for the test. I did not open the book during the test or ask anyone for the answers. I had simply worked hard for the test. And not all the questions were from the book and I was able to answer them too. I had felt ashamed of working hard enough to score the best out of 200 students!
Of course the winners of our quiz, in turn, lost at the big quiz on TV. Big deal.
If I could just go back in time, I would tell me that I was proud to have given my holidays for this quiz and working honestly to achieve a goal. If anyone else wanted to qualify, they could have simply asked a senior or better still, the teacher for the answers and they could have studied for the test too but they didn’t or if they did, I beat them to it. I would go back and have a little chat with that “teacher” too.
Sometimes, I wish I had “failed” a bit more in my life. So that when life’s real failures and problems arose, I already had the strength to deal with them much more elegantly than I did. But I am not doing that bad. Turns out that I am a bit of a superhero, rescuing myself from big problems and rebuilding and re-learning while on my way to that Pulitzer! So bring on all the so-called failures of life, lets see who wins the battle (channeling my inner Superhero 😉