I was a shy kid. I cried when I was made to stand apart from my mother. I was a crybaby untill 2nd standard. I distinctly remember the 1st day of my school where my grandfather accompanied me and i was the only kid who cried like he is dead or something, and I was not ready to let go of the window of the class, looking at my grandfather walk away from the windowsill, after consolating me, while the teacher was trying to get me to sit in the bench. I had suffered, so long, in my primary school. I didnot knew how to make friends, I was always thinking about my house, the chickens and my mother.
I remember myself being an anomaly in the class. When the teacher told the class thateveryone who writes in big alphabets will get a star, I was the only one in the class who wrote in small alphabets. Somehow, I found joy in learning, maybe as a way to not mingle with people much. I didnot had to put much effort to learn, maybe because my father and mother was so studious throughout their schooling, that I could’ve got some gene from them, which allowed me to learn faster. I used to read all the malayalam magazines for children and used to look and imagine a lot of things looking at the encyclopedia. I used to take abook into the toilet, and used to spend atleast half an hour there, reading the book, in full concentration. I remember that my mother took me to an ENT specialist, thinking I have some kind of a hearing disorder, while all I was doing was getting immersed in my world of imagination while reading a book.
I hated going to school. I was socially awkward, crying when my teacher called me mathai, which is my grandfather’s name and not mine, and i remember 2 occurances of pissing in my nicker while in class. When the maid in the college gave me my nicker, packed in brown cover infront of all by schoold bus mates, I used to look down with shame. The hate was so severe that it started affecting my health. i was having frequent stomach aches in the morning, which was very painful. My mother took me to atleast 8 different doctors, and one doctor in afamous hospital in kochi suggested my mther to change my school. That caused me to be shifted to another school where I had made some friends. The new school appreciated my skills in singing, and here also, I found it easy to shine with my memorisation and mathematics skills.
It seemed like I was not suited to the pace of the school. When the teacher asks about the topics, I started to answer them, much before the others. School was getting so easy. I had a very close male friend and a female friend. We were like a gang. I remember hitting a boy with my fist and teachers rusing to stop us fighting, after he told something bad about my female friend to me. Even though I was doing good, there are some aspects of that school that worried me. The proncipal was a hothead, who later became immobilised after a papaya fell on his head. He used to beat us for not walking in a line when going to the toilet, talking while in class during break etc. Also, the toilet had no roof, and there was a flat nearby. So I was having tough time , thinking what if someone from the flat looked from the top, or rain falls. My parents came several times to school, as I still had stomach pains, which were just plays of my mind, or due to my irreguar bowel movements, and I was reluctant to go for potty in the filthy indian closets in the school.
My parents understood this and they tried to transfer me to a CBSE school. But since the deadlines for that specific school had passed, I was transferred to nearby cbse school which is only 200 metres from my old school. I was so worried and cried nearly all day, and I didnt know why i was crying so badly. I was intimidated by my classmates. My parents had to come several times to school to consolate me and had to even talk to the principal about transferring me back to my old school. I distinctly remember my mother coming one day to get me from school to receive her sister from the airport. that remains one of the sweet memories that i can think of my mother in a long time. I enjoyed it so much. There were many PT periods and i remember two friends of mine who were so excellent at football that they went on to play in state teams. I felt so useless in that period, and my grades were falling so down. i was clinically depressed, but nobody knew or cared to check that.
I got introduced to a new world, when I was transferred to a cbse school in 6th std. I had good friends, good toilets, canteen, teachers. there were colorful art festivals, sports , annual day and clubs. I became involved in some of them, and not others, promarily as I thought i was useless and not upto the mark of others, while in retrospect, I could’ve done equally good, if i was not intimidated by m peer’s confidence in their skills and I had some confidence in mine. My parents didnot try much to empathise with my lack of confidence and help me accordingly, as they lacked time. The effort by my family in shaping my thoughtstyle, confdence and attitude is negligible in comparison to which I am helping my sister in shaping my younger sister’s worldview . I cannot blame my family in this because they lacked awareness of these things, remember, it was the era before the internet. I enjoyed my time there, and the tuition classes in science and mathematics. The school bus was a common place for binding the friendships and 3/4 of my best friends at school was bonded from the bus, and two are so strong after all these years. It is also the time when I got to meet my pal. We started as teammates for several science exhibitions and later went on to become cofounders in my startup. I was part of the science club and the dance clubs. I was the favourite of the computer science and math teachers, but not so of the english teachers. This has a direct correlation to my subject teachers in my primary school and the math teachers were nice, and not the english teachers. Maybe the math teachers are cool as they are teaching solid subjects with right and wrond, but english was not so solid, and teachers found it hard to answer my queries. I was not much ready to go with arbitary ideas, which appealed to just a group of people and was cited to be the only truth. i was still timid, as I remember that I used to cry when the PT teacher lashes me for not cutting the nail and one time i was called to principal’s office when i carried a pendrive to college. for Even though there were crushes in this part of my life, I didnt propose even one of em, owing to my lack of confidence. I can see how my life would’ve changed if i chose to do that. If there was anyone who is so proud of me, it was my mother. She kept of believing in me and she used to tell her frends that she wishes to see me grow up and marry. My mother passed away, shocking me in 9th std. life was so different after that. I felt so alone. my family members didnt made sense after that. They felt like strangers as mother was the common bond between them. I liked her so much that I didnt knew how to feel after she passed away. if people like her brother was not around, I would’ve committed suicide, that was the level of disorientation i had after losing her. She had all these mental blocks at her school, with computers and all, I am sure that she would’ve been the best by the time i had entered college, and I have a great sadness that i couldnot share my successes with her. But i used to mask all her thought by reimagining my memories with her by replacing her and imagining the occurances over and over, as I thought the same method of rewriting a harddisk would work for me as well. i was so grateful that I didnot go to navodaya after securing admissions, as I got to spend 3 more years with my mother. i would have surely been 10 fold sad if i had done that.
This happy journey went to demise when I was transferred to a boarding school. i was made to go to a school 3 hrs from my home. The school was tough and I remember getting so low marks for my exams. I got 13 and 14 for exams, which i thought that I’ll never get to see in my whole life at that point. I was not sure if it was not capable. It seemed like I was forced to study in specific times and not given my creative freedom, considering that I considered me as a polymath who used to sing, dance, make electronic circuits in highschool, read books, played computer games, did awesome math. I was again clinically depressed at this stage, but noone knew that. i was made to stand hours out of the wardens office for nodding at 11 pm, was not allowed to visit room from 6 am in the morning to 11 pm at night, not allowed to talk to each other during this time, Not allowed to talk in mess hall, not allowed to talk on the way to church, not allowed to sleep howmuchever tired you’re. Not allowed to eat from outside hostel, not allowed to stayback at school, ot allowed to talk to women at school, not allowed to call home more than 3 minutes(this personally wrecked me). My father or neighbor, whose kid was studying with me visited us every two weeks. This was a toll on their time and I needed it to stay sane. So I never asked them to stop coming. Whatever happened, i was scared to quit. It was dumb, it was not confidence, but a pride for not accepting defeat. All my batchmates were bright, and my batch had 700 students in 1 year. this school was so famous for IIT and NIT admits , and the fees was also hiked to match the reputation. I had to attend school every day for 2 years without break, for IIT entrance coaching. I couldnot take it, but I played along. I didnot understand lot of concepts as I kept on worrying when I can call my parents. I was scared as a cat fallen on hot water. My confidence was shattered like glass on stone floor. Among the good things I remember is the two dances at hostel day, wich i was in charge of, and my crush, who was equally homesick and came regularly to the coin phone infront of the office of the administration. I never bothered to say that, as I had more pressing things like m ystudies to take care of. but they served as a motivation for me to complete my studies without dropping off. Il learnt awsome skills like writing with both hands, writing without looking at paper, sleeping while standing etc dring this period. i sang church songs to the exam centre due to fear, as I got only one chance at this and I graduated with full a1 and 20k rank for jee mains, despite a severe conjuctivitis during entrance exam date.
The fact that I cant get to NIT calicut for electronics was shocking to me. I kept on checking last accepted ranks, but it was not good. I took the choice ot join a college near my home. It was a laid back place, on the way to a popular tourist destination in kerala. coming from a hostel, wanting so much to come to home influenced me in taking the decision to enroll there. I wanted to beocme and all encompassing engineer liek tony stark, and decided to pursue electronics and communication as it was the toughest. I soon found my place in the college. Again, due to the coaching that made my fundementals strong nad the ability to cope with stress amassed from the previous school, I shined. I founded clubs, conducted workshops and was an anomaly at the college. I had made friends with the teahccers at the college and the respect was mutual. I enjoyed whatever i did and looked down on people who didnt knew tech. I would’ve done different on that attitude, but I believe that experience was unavoidable in my journey. I started acing competiitons and started getting funding and side projects for cash. i made more than my college fee by 2nd year of engneering. By gradation, I had founded 2 startups, 3 clubs, went to silicon valley, became best outgoing student from college. All the teachers knew me, and I took great pride in that. My expectations from myself grew so fast and i kept on breaking the levels. I was pampered so much that i started developing a mindset that I will get anything that I get hands on. Soon I became dwelling on my successes and that started my downfall. Also , i proposed a lady and she already had a boyfriend. I took the 1st love thing to be serious and that also caused me to deviate from my focus. I started usign instagram and putting photos to impress her. I found myself straying from my path at the end of college, grades started to fall. But I was always interested on the subject, but never cared to write in exam that well. I didnot like my classmates as there were not a single student who has won a good technical competition like me in their 4 years of undergraduate education.
Things started a downward toll when my grandmother died in the last exam date of my college. I never cried for that, but the grief that she was the mother of my mother who is no more was tiring to my mind. Added to this, I had an accident by bumping into a dog on the way back from college, few days after graduation. the fall was great as this was 5 in the mornign and I was going atleast 70kmph . the dog appeared out of nowhere and This put me in a deep mental thought loop that made me rethink my past and the way I’m headed. This was another phase where I lost my will to live. Nothing made sense. I began thinking of jjob as selling one to a company for time. After a lot of soul searching, I came to the conclusion that man needs only a ense of purpose and a community to get a reason to live. this transformation was like a butterfly coming from a cocoon. I restructured my thought patterns and my behavious to others. I learnt to have empathy while having no emtional response back, a skill that was essential to navigate my dysfunctuional familie’s frequent quarrals.
i can confiently say now that I am capable of learning and taking up my responsibilities, behaving to people with empathy and care, earn money well, run SMEs with confidence, involve in cultural activitie like singing, playing guitar, dance with ease, i can negociate well and solve problems that arise within families, Travel and stay at another country, Look after myself and take leadership positions. My journey had been a long andardous one, but I can confidently say that i have not stalled. i have pushed back it all and will continue to do so.
Plaksha is a wonderful phase in life for me. I’ll write about it when I graduate.