About,  Musings

Math Attacks

To be born and raised in a family of engineers is not easy. It gets even tougher when you have no inclination towards science or engineering. Almost everyone in my family can make sense of everything that’s written in numbers and variables except me. It comes naturally to them; it surprises me how quickly they can do calculations. Truth must be told –  I have very little mathematical talent. I use calculator to solve simple equations. Reading numbers more than four digits can be tricky for me. In all these years, I’ve noticed that people who are bad at maths are usually made fun of. I agree it takes a lot of hard work, but I don’t want to get that WTF look when I’m not able to calculate something or if I am slow at it. My brain just doesn’t work that way! I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would look at some algebra problem and say – “screw this!”

I’ve had a very bad relationship with Maths and it not only screwed up my brain, but it also made me immensely scared of my dad who use to teach me maths when I was in school. Because he was so good at it and all my cousins were good at it – his expectations were really high. I would hide myself in my room or get myself busy with some other subject, make excuses or sit in the bathroom for a really long time to make sure I get as less time as possible with my dad studying my least favourite subject. Every evening he use to teach me, he was strict and I was an introvert kid (worst combination ever) – sometimes I would be trembling with fear when I use to do something wrong. Things got even more difficult for me when my younger brother would sit right next to me when my father use to teach me and he would just quickly solve questions verbally while I would be just starting out. I can’t even begin to explain how I use to feel.

With time, the subject even got more and more complicated for me. I somehow managed to clear in Maths in my 10th standard and I literally couldn’t believe myself. Unlike other kids in my class who were fighting for who gets the highest marks, I was literally praying to get passing marks in Maths. The day I got my result was probably my happiest day in my school years where I realised that I don’t need to study maths anymore. The torture was over and I could finally choose something I really liked. In my school years, I sometimes use to be really hard on myself for not being able to understand the subject. But I had other talents and they were unleashed when I took arts in high school. For many, it was an easy field. Arts was for those who couldn’t do anything else. Thankfully my parents didn’t think that way and they were supportive. They didn’t push me into opting for science just to get validations from other people. I have seen a lot of parents doing that and I feel really sorry for their kids. Things are changing now, very very slowly though. People are becoming more acceptable towards change and  new careers like photography, fashion and so on.

My life was completely changed in high school. From feeling miserable all the time for not being able to understand maths and physics, I was suddenly feeling good about myself . I was one of the toppers in my 11th grade and I still remember how I felt and how my mother burst into tears and was so proud of me. That was more than enough to boost my confidence for many years!



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