The “I” of the 3 Idiots


It was August 1988 when the whole of North India was jolted by a severe earthquake. I remember being woken up by the severe tremors in the middle of the night. I was a kid studying in standard 3 and it was my first experience of this intriguing natural phenomenon.

I was a curious kid, the kind who had a lot of questions and wanted answers for all. So, when my dad explained me the tectonic origins of the killer quakes, it was fascinating. I remember I was so excited to have gotten a reason for the last night’s nightmare that I blurted the plate tectonic stuff in the science class the next day.

What ensued was a complete downer. I was ridiculed and laughed upon not only by my classmates but also by my science teacher. The lesson was loud and clear; in standard 3, you are not taught about plate tectonics, so don’t try to be a smart jackass.

Fast forward to 1993. I was in standard 8 now and a few strands of moustaches were visible on my face. As a student, I was always the last minute kind; the one who would guess his way around as I never had enough time to complete the entire syllabus. So, I guessed that the Pie Charts were not important and went into the examination hall leaving it aside. And guess what, there was a 15 marks’ numerical staring at me in the question paper.

I finished my other questions and had some time in my hand. So it got me thinking. All I knew was: a Pie Chart meant representing the data in a circle, period. I had to represent a household budget of Rs. 250 in rent, 500 in groceries and 250 in miscellaneous expenses, a grand total of Rs. 1000 in a circle. The traditional style is to figure out the angles and draw them. So, the rent would subtend 250/1000 * 360 = 90 degrees and so on for others. Then you draw the angles and shade the regions and pocket the 15 marks! The problem was I did not know this.

So, instead I drew a circle with 7 cm radius. This meant that the circle’s perimeter was 2*pi*7 = 44 cm. So, I argued that these 1000 rupees were distributed in 44 cm. Then I used unitary method to figure out that the rent would need to cover 250/1000 * 44 = 11 cm and so on for others. I used the string supplied to us by the school to tie the answer sheets to measure the 11 cm on the circle’s perimeter and shaded them. Once I finished I felt like a crossbreed of Newton and Einstein. After all I had solved the problem without reading it in the book!

However, the day the answer sheets were distributed, I was shocked. I got a ZERO for my indigenous solution. By that time, I had learnt the traditional solution and also I knew my solution was absolutely correct. But, Mr. Sudhir Seraphim, our mathematics teacher gave me a zero, a dismissive look and the most clinching argument. “This solution is not in the book”. Lesson was again loud and clear: what is not in the book is a matter of a crook.

By now you may be having a smile on your face and the thought “The bast**d wants to pose as the Rancho of the 3 Idiots”. Well, I confess that my intention of writing this piece is to tell you that I do identify myself with one character of the movie 3 Idiots. But that is surely not of Aamir Khan’s Rancho.

No, I don’t have even a single patent in my name, leave aside Rancho’s 400. I do not have a high altitude laboratory in Ladakh though I have been there many times for tourism/trekking/cycling. I am neither like Chatur, though I would love to own his Lamborghini. I am not the Sharman Joshi/Virus/Madhavan… blah blah…. The character I identify with is Joy Fernandez, the kid who tried to invent the flying contraption with camera and then later on committed suicide. The only difference is I am still alive. So, why do I identify with Joy Fernandez? It is because I completely agree with his last words: I QUIT.

It is a good thing to quit at many places. Especially it is better to call it quits in the various race conditions that life subjects us to. When many of my friends were burning midnight oil to crack the IIT entrance chasing the dream of getting into the most premier engineering college, I was busy falling in love and called quits to the race. Result was expected. I did not get an engineering degree from IITs but from BITS Mesra, but ended up marrying my long time girlfriend. Would an IIT degree be more satisfying than spending the life with the woman you just could not be without, is for you to decide.

In my engineering college, the first mid-semester marks put me into the top 10 of my college. But when most of us were gearing for a long 4 year race, mine had ended. I spent my time as the “last minute kid” and making friends and polishing my hobbies and by sheer dumb luck passed out of my batch with 3rd rank.

The engineering college proved to be just the tip of the iceberg of the many races that were to surface in the work life. There were races all around me. Race to get to the onsite/abroad. Race to own a flat. Race to drive the suave cars. Race to get the best appraisal. Race to become successful, a big corporate honcho or something like that. Silently your value was measured by the strangest numbers, like the square footage of your flat, the cubic capacity of your car, number of stamps on your passport, your CTC……. I have no medallions for any of these races.

In standard 3, a few months before the quake, our school curriculum added computers and quickly I realized I was good at it. By the time I had got a ZERO for my indigenous solution of pie chart, I had made up my mind to be a computer engineer and that’s what I am today. I like my job and that’s all I ever want from it; the fun at work. So, I silently slipped into the Olympics’ motto of “participation is more important than winning.” Races are not my cup of tea. Till date the only sports medal that I have won are for high jump/table tennis, not for races. I have quit them.

Now, this piece may well seem like a resignation of a loser trying to save his face from the damning indignation of defeats. Or it may seem like the case of the sour grapes. Well, I can’t help if it seems that way, but I guess all I have understood so far is that the life seems like an algorithm. You can forever be a part of the tailor made ones or you can break free and chart your own path. I guess I am just breaking free. I rate a cycling trip to Ladakh higher than a flat’s EMI. A half marathon run more rewarding than an eternity of servitude in dire bid for a promotion to the cabin in the corner of the office.

Life is not a spectator sports. But it is not a desperate race either. Before I commit to any race, any uneven comparisons, I would call it quits as I guess any gains elicited out of pawning the quality of life is a bad business deal.

I guess, I have said what I wanted to say. So, what do I do now? Simple, I quit!

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20 Responses to “The “I” of the 3 Idiots”

  1. Abhishek Says:

    Great BLOG,

    I feel great about what you have written as i am also part of this quit community.

    “Race ki koi zaroorat na bhai, Paisa utna hi chahiye jitne mein guzara chal jaye, Race karke ki hoga”

  2. Ashish Says:

    Manasij, Just one word from my side.. Perfect!!!!!

  3. neelesh Says:

    I could not stop myself reading whole of your blog even though i’m sitting in office and its peak hour..simply i quit peak hour..;)

    It could have been much better if would have used my name at some instances..nevertheless i’ll expect the same in next one..JUST KIDDING..;)
    It was really very very inspiring and motivating..believe me i mean it..:)

  4. Ruchita Says:

    loved reading ur honest article..

  5. Rahul Parmar Says:

    Hail Magambo!!

  6. GAGAN Says:

    i can totally identify with what you are trying to say. Well i never did well in computer science in school, may be the “for” loops and “if” conditions were too much for me at that time. But i was fascinated enough by computers to decide to have a career out of it. and hey you might not remember me..i was a year junior to you in xaviers, studied for quite a few years with Manoram. Also worked indirectly for a while with Ritesh. http://pgagan.blogspot.com
    Keep posting!!

  7. Ramit@Impetus Says:

    Mannu!

    It was very honest and true to heart. Simply loved it. Hope you get regular on it and let’s have one for the hiring events, you have done for Impetus 😉

    Cheers!!!

  8. Agastya Says:

    Quite true Manasij… a cycle exped to laddakh can be deservedly rated higher than any housing loan emi. our life is what we define for ourselves, rather than any societal benchmarks. Well written!

  9. monica Says:

    Superbly written….honest, straight forward, long but to the point 🙂 I always believed that you are different from others and had number of reasons for it in mind but now I realize its ur attitude of not being a part of races and setting ur own path that makes u CLASS APART 🙂 And perhaps this is the reason I am in awe of you !! Keep blogging …..

  10. Ankur Chandra Says:

    Very interesting read Mansasij!! You are right it is all personal choice.. You might or might not want to chase numbers but at least you should know that why are you doing what you are doing.

  11. anuj Says:

    Well said!!.. eventhough i read the whole blog but i didn’t find anything new in this … do you know why? because each and every thing you said resembles you and only you…and who else can know you better than us(kyaloge team)
    Keep posting 🙂

  12. Roshit Says:

    I’ll Keep It Simple and Stupid. Had fun reading your blog..

  13. Gaurav Nigam Says:

    This could be simply you…no doubt about your analytical and logical skills boss…Read a very nice writeup after a long time…keep writing!!!

    Well I felt offended after reading last paragraph…hehe..just kidding…

    Cheers!!!

  14. Rakshita Says:

    Kudos…Director sahab!!
    Very well expressed article.It takes lot of guts to say “I QUIT” which most of us don’t have 😉

  15. vishal Says:

    awe-inspiring….
    U rock…!!!

  16. Priyank Says:

    i have never related better to any blog poster.. i have been nodding all along , thinking out aloud ,saying – yes ,yes this is exactly what i believe,- while reading through your blog. you’ve got a reader for life.. cheers!

  17. Shweta Says:

    Fantastic…You and your blog are really mind-blowing.

  18. krishna Says:

    good one.Yes they do kill innoation at schools.You are not supposed to be creative but just follow the book

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