The Unintelligent Life Form

I had lofty ambitions when I was younger – I wanted to play guitar on stage with AR Rehman, I wanted to be a professional dancer, a writer, a witch (let’s all take a moment to blame JK Rowling and Paulo Coelho for this kind of influence on me), an RJ, a psychologist, a journalist, a fashion designer and a whole bunch of other things. But I was cursed – my marks were too high in school – in every subject, including maths, unfortunately. And in a country like mine, that meant I had only two career options. #FML *sobs uncontrollably*


Now, to all under any sort of misconception – high marks do not mean the kid is intelligent. Just like being in the 100/150-cr club doesn’t mean the movie is good *cough Krrish3 cough ChennaiExpress cough I-could-cough-till-I-die-this-list-is-endless cough* I secretly hated studying (except English and History), though was found doing exactly that during every waking moment. I was that unintelligent kid with that uncanny ability to remember things that could be puked on the answer sheet, thereby ensuring high marks, thereby being labeled teachers’ favorite, thereby ensuring I would never be anything in life except a doctor or an engineer, cos that’s just how things work in India. After finishing10thstandard in what was dubbed as “flying colors” (what flying colors, I didn’t even get a freakin’ rainbow ribbon?) I was told that to become a doctor, I would have to take biology, where they would cut up cockroaches in the lab as part of the syllabus.


Me: Oh, you cut up…. *throws up breakfast from three years ago* *faints*
PA System: We have an unconscious student here. Could someone please remove this ambitious weakling from the premises? Scoff!


In my defense, the cockroaches were just part of the excuse. I hate doctors with a vengeance because they treated me like a pin cushion when I was just five. So many vaccines, who treats a kid like that?! Such cruelty, such horror! So, I wasn’t sad or anything (secretly relieved, actually). And they said I could be anything I want if I chose PCM with Computer Science.

Anything – as long as it was a stream of engineering.

I did not want anything to do with engineering either. I was interested in other things (in my opinion, bigger things! like, writing. I was a dreamer, not a slogger yada yada yada). But my parents said, “You just attempt the entrance exam. Once the results come, you can decide whether you wanna pursue it or not.” If I had Hermione’s time turner (which she used to study more *shudder!* Girl, I scoff at you!) I would’ve gone back sixteen-year old me and said, “It’s a trap. Do not fall into it!” But I was naïve and I thought, yeah I could decide later.


So, when I announced my decision to take BA in English Literature, there were loud shocked gasps, and cracks of thunder in the manner of 90s Hindi movies, with my mother going, “Haaye meri beti, tu kahan moonh kaala karne ja rahi hai!” to my teacher going, “I did not teach you about carbon’s lifestyle thinking I would have to hear this! Oh! Why didn’t I go deaf before you said this!” (Here’s a little secret: My dutiful Indian parents even consulted an astrologer to find out if some random planet was obstructing some random house (house? sheep? zombie? well, something) because of which I was having such thoughts) And suddenly everyone was taking it as a personal insult, because what Indian kid in her right mind shows her middle finger to all those high marks? (The answer, in case you’re wondering: Yours truly.)


Needless to say, I pursued engineering and there were Colgate smiles around me again. Also needless to say – I sucked at engineering. I sucked at it so badly, that I considered it an achievement if I scored a 40% (I laughed maniacally the first time I got a back-paper. I considered that as an achievement as well!) And now, I am a confused technical writer who sits at a computer 50 hours a week wondering what the connection is between her degree and her job. o.O
PS: When I said I wanted to take BA in English Literature, it was the single – I repeat – the single-most intelligent decision I had ever taken in my whole life. Unfortunately, it was shot down.

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28 thoughts on “The Unintelligent Life Form

  1. Abhijnan December 28, 2013 / 1:47 PM

    Another talent wasted at engineering….Welcome to da club!


  2. Sreesha Divakaran December 28, 2013 / 5:02 PM

    Would love to hear your story! Perhaps you can also write a post about it? 🙂


  3. Sreesha Divakaran December 28, 2013 / 5:19 PM

    I'll read your post in a bit (it's not loading correctly on my phone)
    Lol, I can't figure out the answer either.. I guess we're doomed! 😉


  4. Jyotsna Bhatia December 29, 2013 / 6:08 AM

    Now I am sure we are kumbh k mele mein bichhdi hui behenein.. You took up engg, i took up Finance.. And dats bloody exactly same questn I ask myself evryday..What have I been doing with Finance.. Sob Sob..Lets hug and sob behen :'(


  5. anitaexplorer December 29, 2013 / 7:51 AM

    Ha Ha Sreesha! Reminds me of the 3 Idiots movie where Rancho (Aamir Khan) gets his friend, Farhan (Madhavan), to chuck Engineering & go for Photography as that's where his passion lies. He convinces, “Agar Engineer ban bhi gaya to bahut kharab Engineer banega.”
    Yes, even I wanna turn back time & be the 16-year old once again after the 'good' Std X results! How we wish! 🙂


  6. Sreesha Divakaran December 29, 2013 / 8:22 AM

    Yeah, exactly! But such awesome things happen only in Aamir Khan movies!


  7. Anil Krishnanunni December 29, 2013 / 8:50 AM

    I'm confused whether I should be happy(that i'm not alone) or sad, after reading this post :v


  8. Sreesha Divakaran December 29, 2013 / 9:15 AM

    LOL! Think about it for a few more years and you'll reach a conclusion! 😉


  9. Veena December 29, 2013 / 10:21 AM

    Decision Making is very very difficult sometimes….
    Who has to decide? Who will it affect if something goes wrong? Are you willing to take responsibility for a mistake? All this counts but one has to comeout of all this and stand out from the rest !!!


  10. Magic Quill December 29, 2013 / 1:16 PM

    OMG, I remember being in the same place once. For me, the upside was that I made some of my best friends through engineering. So I don't curse it all that much!!!


  11. Raji Nair December 30, 2013 / 11:56 AM

    Wonderfully written 🙂 This is exactly what happened in my life…


  12. Sreesha Divakaran December 30, 2013 / 12:09 PM

    Wow a lot of people seem to have gone through this. Like I said, it's because in this country, you're just not allowed to be anything else! 😦
    Well, at least I am not alone!


  13. Hiral Trivedi January 2, 2014 / 10:03 AM

    Sreesha, this is my story (including all the details). I have finally opted out after working for 2+ years as an engineer. And in the process of exploring options. I had been planning for the move since the day I joined but it takes a minute of courage. Plus two+Diploma+Degree+Internship+2+ years in the industry. You can imagine the mental condition. Take the step in 2014. At 60, when you will look back, you will regret the things you could and you didn't more than what you did. The road might not be easy but you would atleast not have any regrets.All the best. I wish the best for you. 🙂


  14. Sreesha Divakaran January 2, 2014 / 12:30 PM

    Hey Hiral! I hope I am as brave as you! If I do, I know I'll be happy with my life, in the present as well as the future. But like you said, it is that moment of courage that you need.
    Happy new year!!


  15. Keirthana August 4, 2014 / 12:17 PM

    This was like reading the story of my life. I said the exact same thing – BA in English literature. And there were the same lightning and thunder. Sigh! If only I was as rebellious as I am now, I would have stuck to it. They said Doctor, I said No Way! My reason however was I don't want to be responsible for anyone's life when I am not give responsibility over mine. So obviously engineering was the pit they pushed me in and every day I do the same thing as you – sit in front of the computer and wonder what is that I studied and what is that I am doing.


  16. Sreesha Divakaran August 5, 2014 / 6:28 PM

    Aww, my heart goes out to you (and myself, and everyone else who's stuck like us!)


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