Friday, February 17, 2006

Potential Boy...

A few days ago, as a direct consequence of having way too much coffee in my system and free time on my hands, I found myself wondering about what the single most significant event that shaped the course of my life was. Numerous events presented themselves for consideration, including the time when I decided to challenge Mr. Newton's first law (a body continues in its state of rest or uniform motion... yada yada yada) by jumping off a moving bus in a direction directly perpendicular to the motion of the bus. As you may have guessed, the experiment was a spectacular bust and I lay sprawled in the middle of the road, with my various belongings (school bag, water bottle, lunch box, to name a few) choosing to pursue their own course of action. It's only a minor miracle that the adventure didn't render me Late Pushkaraksh of the I-fought-Newton's-laws-and-lost fame. Of course I digress, but the point to be made here is that no good ever comes of trying to make amendments to Newton's laws. And if you ever decide to pit your wits against Isaac, please do inform me of your intentions in advance so I can make it convenient to be present in the neighborhood when the event occurs and be heartily entertained as the drama unfolds before my eyes.

Anyways, back to the topic of the single most significant event in my life, I think I can say with some conviction that it has got to be the time in fourth grade when I got ranked sixth in my class of forty two students. Yep, this innocuous sounding event is really the single most significant event that shaped the course of my life. Before you cry foul, form a lynch mob and try to hang me from the nearest tree, here's the full story. Prior to this event, I was a kid given to triviality and trouble-mongering. I competed fiercely at the wrong end of the bell curve and it was not uncommon for me to be ranked 38 among 42 kids. It was indeed a very good day when I got ranked 32nd. The teachers had all but given up on me and I was only too happy with this total lack of expectation. (Ok, I don't really remember whether I was as happy as I just described, but dude, any kid that is off the teachers' radar and free to do his thing with total impunity has got to be a happy kid...). And then one day, just when things were going great, came a quiz in which I ended up on the side of the bell curve that I had hitherto never explored. Of course, I didn't think much of the accident, but apparently the incident greatly affected my teacher and she sent for my parents and said something like, "The boy's got potential. He would really do well if you paid a little attention to his academics..." and that was the end of my days of absolute freedom, unencumbered by the weight of expectations. From that fateful day forth, my mom attended to my education and I never quite visited the "happy" end of the bell curve again (though I came close on a couple of occasions..).

I wonder how different my life would have been if I had not accidentally crossed the rubicon that the bell curve represents. Maybe I'd be a school drop-out... who started his own internet firm during the dot-com boom.. made his first million and quit just before the bubble burst... became a venture capitalist and invested in a small idea firm called google and made his first billion before he turned 25.... Man, I was well on my way to making my pile of money and someone had to come discover my "potential".... This sucks!!! Until later, cheers.. :)