Scars. They are all around us. Every smile hides them, every successful business has them, and, each person experiences them. I am too amateurish at philosophy, so I won’t go into the eternal question of ‘why’. Though some say that the purpose (of these scars) is to make us cherish the non-scarred portions of life, I feel there might be more to it than that. Anyway, I will leave it at that.
I had failed my Maths exam. And the principal had called my parents to inform that I’ll have to repeat the year. It is about my 8thclass finals. Most of my scars before this, if they must be mentioned, were on my knees and/or my elbows. That’s what one expects from an avid rugby player. Failing is what one accepts from no one. So, I went through the rigmarole of answering neighborhood aunties’ questions, school counsellor’s sessions, my weeping spells, my sister’s more-than-desired-sympathetic looks, dad’s scolds, and mom’s confusion.
In and out, it was my tuition teacher whose statement stayed the same – “I am sure you would give your best’ – before and after the failure. This one statement clearly made me jump my thought process directly to upcoming year, and let the baggage be there – in my past year. No, don’t get me wrong – sitting with your juniors in the same classes is another of that – scar – and a major one at that. But Dikshit sir’s statement made me give my best even to this scar. I began seeing my role here as an adventure. There were new people to know, different mischiefs to laugh at, and, better learning strategies to practice.
Further on in time, when the year passed that is, I could easily say that I had risen above the scar. My juniors turned batch-mates had started viewing me as their mentor and someone more knowledgeable. I can’t say that sir’s words would have had the same effect on everyone, but, for me, they definitely provided much needed faith, hope and a calm solidarity. I felt I could back up on that.
Last week, he passed away. At the age of 72. After having given everyone and everything his best, he peacefully left for heavenly abode in his sleep. They say grief has five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It’s a new scar, another major one, and I’ve decided to give it my best.