February 22, 2006
Three years old and an inflection point
Almost exactly three years ago, I made my first appearance in the blogosphere. Blogger's start page tells me that I've posted over 850 times to this blog. Over a three year period, it works out to a post every 1.3 days. Admittedly the frequency is far lesser now than it has been in 2003 and 2004, but till April 2004, this was the only blog I was maintaining & updating. From June 2004, I then started a blog to chronicle Jaagruthi's life, trying to masquerade it in her own words. So fatigue does set in at some point of time. But I hope to be more regular, now that I've blogged for three years!
My first ever post was about a variety of topics. I wrote about the government's approach to Ayodhya, Warne's doping offence and the horrible movie that was Devdas.
A couple of weeks ago, I made a fairly elementary arithmetical mistake in the term-end exam for the Patterns of Problem Solving course at IIM-B. When I realized the mistake, I didn't really feel that bad about it. I reckoned that it might cost me a few marks. Of course, it is highly likely that those marks could be the difference of an entire grade, a C instead of a B or unlikely as it does seem, a B instead of an A!
But there was certainly one previous occasion where a difference of 5 marks or so could have potentially changed the course of my life. I only scored 80% in the English paper of the class 12 AISSCE (CBSE) examination, but secured an overall percentage in excess of 92 since my marks in the other subjects (Maths, Physics, Chemistry & Computer Science) were pretty good. I completed the three hour English exam in less than two hours and horsed around in the exam hall for a while before I decided that there were absolutely no marginal benefits to re-checking my answers for the fifth time.
With a 92+% aggregate, I applied to quite a few colleges and was absolutely sure about getting entrance in either the 'A' group or the 'B' group courses at BITS, Pilani. When I inquired with BITS in late June/early July 1993, I was told that I'd been allotted the 'Master of Management Studies' course. Now I really didn't want to do that course. I did know that at BITS, there was actually the opportunity to "move up" to other courses since students invariably opted out of their allotted course (before admissions) since they'd got a seat in some other "better" institute.
Around the same time, another opportunity presented itself in the form of a scholarship to do an undergraduate course at Nanyang Technological University. After discussing with my family, I opted to go to Singapore since I wasn't sure that I'd get admission to my preferred courses at BITS, Chemistry or Computer Science. Moreover, I reckoned that going to NTU would pose a greater challenge, take me out of my comfort zone and open up more vistas. How & why I came back to India is a totally different (and lengthy) story though!
Thinking about this on the way back home from my exam two weeks ago, I realized that if I had secured even 5% more in my English exam, I'd have had a much better chance of getting to my preferred courses, which means I'd have in all likelihood decided to opt for BITS, and possibly ended up as a Chemical Engineer! This blog may not even have existed!
It reminded me of the Tamil movie '12-B' where the director tried to create a movie out of a situation where the hero ran to catch his bus. The movie takes us through two alternative paths: One where he caught up with the bus and what happened later, the other where he didn't and how his life changed after that.
So, in a sense, not securing those 5% marks in English was potentially an inflection point in my life. Have you also had such thoughts? What has been your inflection point in life, so far, if any?!