21 years later, Manish says that he is very proud of what he did that day. “I felt very proud of it actually, and to this day, I feel proud—for both, my near-failing grade and my owning up the failure as an 18-year-old.”
The results of Class 10 and 12 CBSE Board exams are out. Many scored exceptional marks, some just about made it, and then there are the ones who did not manage to get the required marks to pass the examination.
While we celebrate and applaud the achievers, it is also crucial to acknowledge the ones who, despite having done terribly in their examinations, have done very well for themselves in life.
After all, there is more to life than just marks.
Manish Madan who is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SOBL) at Stockton University has a fascinating story to share.
In a Facebook post, he writes about the day he received his board exam results.
“It was 21 years ago that I received my CBSE exam results and I tanked well beyond anyone’s imagination. I remember the day so vividly; it was like as if I had killed a dozen people.”
Dealing with a low score
It was one thing that he had done poorly, but his family had moved beyond his performance to wondering about what their relatives and friends would make of it.
Huddled together, they discussed their worries and tried to arrive at a ‘decent’ score that could be shared with everyone else.
While all this was happening, Manish recounts how he answered a call from a family member, who wanted to know his score.
“Before we could have agreed on a percentage to tell, I announced my grade honestly, to the surprise and shock of everyone at home,” he says.
21 years later, Manish says that he is very proud of what he did that day. “I felt very proud of it actually, and to this day, I feel proud—for both, my near-failing grade and
my owning up the failure as an 18-year-old.”
As he sat by himself later that evening, his father returned from work. Manish had expected his father to walk up and give him a consoling hug but what he did, left Manish surprised.
“My father walked up to me and handed Rs 100 to me and thanked me for not failing and saving the honour of the family. It was his way of showing me how disappointed he was in me, and it worked.”
A new day
The next morning Manish had a cricket match to play. There was palpable tension and stress in the house and uncertainty about whether he should step out, meet people, and even have fun.
Notwithstanding those traditional expectations, he left for the playground.
“Anyone who had scored 10 per cent more than me were on a different standing now and the ones in the same pool seemed to find joy in each other’s failures and started finding company in each other’s misery,” he says.
The boys have remained friends till this date, and whenever Manish travels back to India, they get together to relive those youthful moments.
“We still find ways to get together and pick up the bat. At that time there were a lot of unanswered questions about the future, but the one thing we all knew was that giving up was never an option and we never did.”
Post Class 12 and current status
After passing out of school, Manish completed his BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and MSc in Statistics from the University of Delhi.
Despite these failures, he would tell himself, “I am better for something better.”
He decided to study further and earned a 100% scholarship to pursue another Masters in Canada, followed by a PhD in the US.
Today, as we have mentioned earlier, he is a professor and teaches college students at Stockton University.
Despite not scoring a first division in Class 12, and failing half a dozen SSB interviews, he looks back at his life with a lot of pride.
“That was actually first of many failures to come, and it helped me handle many other situations that life threw at me. Life will be full of academic, personal, professional failure but know that giving up is never an option, period!”
A few things that he recommends for all of us, especially students and their parents who are grappling with their marks or their disappointment, are:
– We need to be able to put things in perspective. No failure is a final failure.
– Life is not to be measured by one failure or even multiple failures; it is to be measured by your ability to respond to it, and how you bounce back.
– Let not your failure or disappointment in your results define who you are.
– Own up to your failures and know that you’re worth more than what your mark sheet may suggest.
– Convert your failures into challenges, and deal with them head-on.
– Finally, pick up the bat. Go and play that important match that your friends are expecting you to be at. You could be the one who wins the match for the team!
You can read the entire post here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)