Thursday, May 22, 2014

Whose loss is it anyway?

A new student took admission in a class. He was different from others. He used to ask a lot of questions, used to challenge the assumptions, used to do things differently. And he was intelligent too.

Soon he started getting the attention of the teachers and the students of the class started approaching him when faced with some tricky question. They appreciated him for his helpfulness and simplicity.

However, not everyone was happy with this development; especially the two toppers of the class. Hitherto, they were undisputed. One of the two would invariably become the Class Representative (CR). Though they were rivals but their ways were almost the same - Appease a certain group of students who would vote for them in the CR elections, fool around the entire semester, never participated in any constructive activity in the class yet score high in exams by mugging a night before, cheat if necessary.

Now suddenly nobody was asking for their notes, teachers stopped giving full marks to their answers mugged up from the textbook, students even started murmuring about nominating the new guy as the new CR in the coming elections.

But since he was doing things differently, he was also running the risk of failing more often. And he did fail...that too, quite miserably. And since it was a team project, students in his group, who bestowed their faith in him also floundered.

aah, just the moment the two toppers were secretly praying for. They were delighted. "toldya, he was an idiot", "Stupid guy, thought he would score good marks without copying-pasting from the internet or mugging up answers from the guide-book?" were some of the jibes hurled at him by the two toppers. Soon their continued efforts fructify and other students also started cursing and mocking him. He apologized for letting down his team-mates but even his apology was ridiculed.

things reached new levels when even teachers joined the bandwagon. Especially those who themselves were low on content, who fumbled to answer his doubts in the class and who were happy to hear and read answers, verbatim, as per their instructions. They forgot the sanctity of their profession, the responsibility of their position and got carried away in the popular sentiment. The moment he would raise his hand to ask a question, they would shoot, "yeh, let's hear your STUPID argument," and the entire class will burst into laughter. Stupid became his nickname.

Students who were not yet infected by the propaganda of the two toppers started getting influenced by the disparaging words of the teachers against the new student. "if they are calling him STUPID, he must be, they are teachers after all," they reasoned. And so it was established.

The new guy was a tough one but slowly and gradually, even he became skeptical about his initiatives. Elections came and one of the topper was chosen as the Class Representative. The new guy barely got 4 votes. This crushing defeat gave even more ammunition to his condemners. He was made the laughing stock of the class.

This constant derision was too much to bear even for a toughie like him. And one fateful day, HE LEFT THE SCHOOL. (Thankfully, he was strong enough not to take any extreme step). And with that, the little novelty that this guy brought to the class, the spark that encouraged students to ask questions, not take things for granted, self-explore rather than getting spoon-fed ... that spark was vanquished.

sure, some of his ways were totally outlandish and some of his answers were indeed stupid. But is that reason enough to throw the baby out with the bathwater? The campaign of the two toppers to sully the reputation of the new guy is understandable; who wants competition after all. Its also believable that some students didn't like the new guy while others got swept away by the campaign.

But what was the incentive for the teachers to condescend? They were expected to be rational and impartial. They were supposed to treat all the students equal and assess everyone strictly on the basis of their performance and not based on their personal opinion or hearsay.

And what did they gain out of killing a budding talent which not only held prospects for the class but for the entire school if only allowed to grow. It finally dawned upon few teachers that whatever this new guy was infusing in the class was precisely the things they are expected to promote. In their childishness; they killed their own ally.

The new guy left and the class is back with its two toppers who will continue to do what they are good at. And now its ingrained far deeper in the consciousness of all the students, "thinking differently doesn't fetch you marks." The status quo has prevailed.

Did the new guys lost anything? Maybe or maybe not. With the talent he has got, he will do something good with his life. So who really lost?


  1. Excellent gaurav ,i am always a fan of your writng

    1. thanks a lot man. Do we know each other btw?