A Moment of Optimism

I was eleven – A sixth standard student.
I went back to my school after a day’s leave. I knew that some of the answer papers had been distributed. And I was dead scared of my Mathematics paper. I did not like Maths and I wasn’t fond of my teacher. We did not like the way she taught. Besides, she was too strict and not much friendly.
I got to know from my friends that the Math paper had after all been distributed. My paper was with someone in the class. It must be with one of the bright students and so I approached Neha and asked her.
“Yes your paper is with me.”
“Please don’t tell me the marks. I’ll find it out when I see it.”, I did not want to get embarrassed when she ‘told me’ the marks, we made eye contact and you know, the awkward moment.
“But I did pass, didn’t I?”, I never failed. I was an average student whose grades just shot up during my terminal examinations. I lingered in 65s and 70s until the last moment and during the year end exams, I would end up close to 85s. ย never failed. But many times, I got close to the borderline.
“Um…”
“I passed right?”, I asked not sure whether she heard me.
She shook her head, “No you didn’t”
“Oh!”, though I felt miserable, I kept my face normal. I could do that naturally. It never took much effort.
I had got 14 out of 50. I had failed for the first time and I felt useless. My Math teacher fired me left, right and center. I got the rest from home and my mother had decided to send me for tuition. God! I hated them! They made me feel like a dumb kid.
I began to hate Math. Until the previous year, I loved the subject. But this year, it was either my failure or the algebra that had brought the ill feeling towards the subject. I mean how can ‘x’ be the number of fruits or tables or chairs!? How can x be a number at all? Besides, how can x*y beย xy? Then, 2*3 should be 23!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
We were almost halfway through the academic year and I was going from bad to worse, my teacher was all the more rude to me and my parents were worried. I hated going to school, to tuition and going home. To top it all, our teacher decided to give us an oral quiz relating to Algebra. The marks would be added to our final marks. I tried learning or rather mugging up some of the formulae. But I was sure that I wasn’t going to crack it.
The Math hour began and all of us were tensed. My teacher began asking questions. As each child answered, I kept praying that there should be someone who wouldn’t answer, to keep me company. After around five children’s turn, our teacher asked a question that the girl couldn’t answer. She decided to carry forward the question to the rest. After some time, she said, “Nobody has answered this question so far. Until this question is answered, I won’t be asking anymore questions. Whoever answers this right, will get a munch from me.”
“Woooow! Oooooh!”, the whole class echoed. Munch was the recent chocolate in the market and most of us hadn’t tasted it. So it was a lottery for us.
All of us listened to the answers. We had no idea what the real answer was. Whenever she reached one of the nerd students, I was sure that he or she would crack it and our teacher would just say, “That is it!”. But she didn’t respond to any of the answers. She would point out the right answer only at the end. Finally, it was my turn. I got up and answered and felt relieved that it was over.
Finally, all had answered. It was my teacher’s turn.
“I heard all your answers. However, just one of you answered it right. Do you know who that is?”
“Neha!” some shouted. She shook her head in the negative.
“Vinay!”, was the next obvious name.
“No.”
After some more likely nerd names came up, we all stopped guessing.
She said, “Ranjini said it right.”
I sat there wide eyed. I had only guessed. I just decided to give an answer that no one had given so far. I don’t even know how I said it. Maybe she heard it wrong.
“Ma’am! Me?”
“Yes. You answered x2y2 square right?”
“No ma’am I answered x2 into y2.”
“Yes. It is the right answer. See? You can do it if you want to. I will get yourย Munch tomorrow.”
I was flying. After a long while, I felt elated. I felt light and happy. Though I had only guessed it, that motivation was all I had needed. It was pure joy! And from that moment, I began to try. My score increased and Math wasn’t a bad subject anymore. Soon, I understood Algebra and grew fond of the area. I still love it. ๐Ÿ™‚
That one moment, brought back my love for Math. Don’t you want to know what the question was? Easy as it may seem now, it was, ‘What is xy*xy?”
I said, “x2*y2” ๐Ÿ™‚
That was the day I learnt that It just takes a moment to bring back the optimism in us.
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23 Comments

  1. parulthakur24

    Ha ha ! That’s a sweet one! I always loved Maths and algebra and geometry were my favorite subjects. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. theonlysup

      i always failed prove the theorems in geometry . some how i managed to write “hence the proof” at the end

      1. Ranju

        Hahaha. Yeah. I remember that. We had to write hence proved anyway. So what was the harm ๐Ÿ˜›

    2. Ranju

      Wasn’t much into geometry. I loved trigonometry and algebra when I got the hang of it. I loved finding x and y. And of course, integration and differenciation too! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. theonlysup

    i hated maths too .i thought why don’t they tell us how to use maths for managing my personal finance where it is much necessary to use number game..

    1. Ranju

      This was just a phase. I actually loved Math before and after this phase ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Samjoth

    He he ๐Ÿ™‚
    I loved maths..!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ranju

      Me too ๐Ÿ˜› Except for a short term.

      1. Samjoth

        He he ๐Ÿ™‚
        I liked maths, but i was hell careless..!!
        And my marks would go contrary..!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. Ranju

          Heyyyy! Same pinch! ๐Ÿ˜€ I used to lose like one-fourths due to careless mistakes and my parents always asked, “Do you feel hungry? You always swallow bits and pieces” ๐Ÿ˜›

          1. Samjoth

            He he ๐Ÿ™‚
            My Mom, would be behind me eating my head..!!!
            Coz I ” knew everything” but my marks would show otherwise ๐Ÿ˜€
            But still I loved Maths..!!

  4. Nimmi

    Oops! But, I love maths and all the subject related to environment and science too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Ranju

      I love Maths too. This was just a phase midst my love. I used to score full marks in my lower classes and I was class topper in Math in my 12th.
      My fav is however Sanskrit ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Samjoth

        Sanskrit ..!!! oh ???
        Never been there..!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Nimmi

        Oh wow!! Great to know that ๐Ÿ™‚
        So, well… well, am I talking with the topper ๐Ÿ˜‰
        Sanskrit is too a good subject, however, I didn’t get to learn much… But, I still remember Sanskrit Dohe’s ๐Ÿ™‚ Hindi and Sanskrit will be my best of best languages ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Ranju

          Half topper ๐Ÿ˜› Coz I topped only among the commercialites ๐Ÿ˜€
          Oh yes! I agree! Sanskrit is a mesmerizing language. Same here. Hindi and Sanskrit were my best too and English was the worst ๐Ÿ˜›

          1. Nimmi

            ๐Ÿ™‚ fir tho same pinch banta hai ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Brandy

    That’s an awesome story. I’m a tutor and one of my students is struggling with algebra. I know I can teach it to him and get him to understand it, but the problem is he doesn’t seem to care about understanding it. He has a bad teacher this year and that seems to have taken any care about math right out of him. Wish I could have something like this happen to get him interested! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ranju

      Welcome to my blog dear tutor. I have so much of respect for your profession. Because, tutors play an important role in the society. About your student, some of them do not care. We can’t blame them either. It is difficult for every student to be interested in every subject. And math doesn’t top the list of fav subjects for many. However, let us hope that he would become interested in it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. teny

    Once upon a time, I hated Maths. Then I hated Maths and I still hate it ๐Ÿ˜€
    Congrats on making that moment work – I had some moments like that, but I ruin things with the very next question and devastate my own optimism – now I feel that even a two times dead zombie can do better Maths than me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Ranju

      Hahaha I did have my tough times with maths. But I must admit that the joy of finally finding the answers did help me to grow fond of it. It’s like I just got atop Mt. Everest ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Akhiz

    aaah math, its has always been my nemesis, i still get shivers when i think of those days when i had to deal with algebra…… oh the horror ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Ranju

      Hahaha I think the world is divided into Math lovers and haters ๐Ÿ˜€

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