I've been always bad at maths!
I'm so bad at it, that I am very proud to admit it!
In school I always scored less, just about managed to slip through the pass level, not to mention in the weekly unit tests I used to get a big red Zero, with the teacher always putting remarks in the end 'work hard''very poor' etc etc.
What always saved me and my reputation was that in other subjects like English, Geography, Social Studies etc, I managed to pull top marks. My Science score was rather funny though. I'd get all the Biology answers correct, but, the teachers had a tough time going through my own interpretation of chemistry or physics formulas and experiments. But in the end, it seemed, that I somehow managed to convince them enough for them to give me average passing marks, which was fine by me!
Now the BIG problem was the grand subject of MATHEMATICS!

My problem with maths grew as I reached High School. Nothing made sense to me. I would just sit blank in our maths class as everything, what the teacher taught, would go over my head. I however, did enjoy drawing various triangles and rectangles in the geometry classes which I did find quite sexy! When I was promoted to 8th std, it was written in my report card 'pass by trial', which means only because of good marks in other subjects, I was considered and promoted. Whew!!
35/100, was required where I manage to score only 30. However, somehow, I passed smoothly to my 9th std with 45/100 :p I then thought, maybe atlast, I conquered my maths phobia after all, only just to see the 'pass by trial' again on my report card when promoted to 10th std. This time, my score dipped further to 24/100, which became scarier as I was in my final SSC year now.

In SSC there's no 'pass by trial' option by which my teachers could show consideration as they had done in the previous classes just because I was good scorer in other subjects. Moreover, SSC papers would be checked by some other teachers altogether, who would be least concerned about my brilliance in other subjects!!
I had reached the make or break year, where I had no one other than myself to rely on. My mother, worried about me, got me 3 maths tuition teachers one after another. That did not help at all, because, I never understood what they blabbered. I tried getting rid of them by giggling continuous when they would come. Once, I picked a huge fight with one of my tuition teacher, and almost abused him. He got fed up and asked my mother to find someone else; and most importantly, to find someone to teach me some manners first [ lol, what did he know that I did it all intentionally, just to scare him off! ]. Then another teacher came who had a disgusting habit of picking his nose. Few days, I tolerated his unholy 'act', and would bring an extra pen as he always seemed to want my pen to write with those very fingers which went deep into his nose right in front of me. In the end, I made a big deal out of it all as my tolerance level evaporated, [ when he would simply ignore the extra pen which I would give him, and instead ask for the one I kept for myself ] and chased him away, saying, I don't want to learn anything from such a 'dirty' teacher [ lol,again ].

And when the 3rd teacher came, I'd just wait in the temple near our house till he would be gone. I would just not appear before him. Add to that, my mother said that he was sent by my class teacher [ just to scare me perhaps ]. But I was just too stubborn and had my own way!
However, when I was doing all these antics I was becoming increasingly aware as well that I have to do something fast on my own, or else I would be stuck forever in my 10th grade.

I could never understand why we had to calculate alphabets in Algebra. Alphabets looked great and 'sexy' in my English Literature 'Essays', where I could forever play and weave sentences with words which even my teachers loved reading, and showered praises in heaps. I was also quite famous in school as my articles/poems were regularly published in the children's corner in the two main newspapers of the north-east [ Tribune/NE ], having won numerous Essay contests. I was also regular writer in our School Magazine. It was quite a status symbol those days !

But, having achieved so much in the literary field [ in the world of school days, of course ], these same alphabets became my enemy in those thick algebra books we had to study. How was I supposed to divide/subtract/make square roots out of those alphabets, and most importantly, what did I care about it at all! How did it make any difference to our lives?? Darn I used to hate Algebra!
My score in the Selections, just 4 months before finals, was alarmingly pathetic. I had so little time now to the finals.

I divided 3 subjects per day, which had maths in the last. After completing studying all other subjects, I would take out the algebra guide books and start mentally clicking pictures of the answers/solutions, and try to store those images in my mind each night. If I was asked to solve the problem, I would probably never be able to, because I never understood them in the first place. But I would try to remember where the alphabets were placed, in which positions, above or below/on the right or left, and would try place them accordingly in my mind.
Oh it was so tough to remember, because, there were so many formulas, that the picture gallery in my mind was getting all jumbled up.

I, then tried the last resort. I collected the previous 5-6 years SSC question papers, and noted down which questions were common in all those years. My calculation was, since, they had been there in all the previous papers, they had a high chance of being repeated this time as well, and I had to take this risk somehow, a big Gamble !
So, I would just select those and memorise them. If those question came there was little hope of me passing, but if those didnot come? Oh!well... I'd be doomed forever.
I followed this strategy. I just memorised those selected few questions every night, after studying the other subjects normally.

Exams finally came. We got two days off before the Maths which was in the morning, and another subject in the afternoon. I was quite confident about the other subject, but the maths was giving me jitters. Everything depended on those selected few questions, whose answers I'd click mental picture of each day. I was so nervous that those 2 off days, which I got before the exam, I just did not open any of my books at all.

Those 2 days, I watched TV from morning, or I played my tape recorder at full volume [ bollywood songs which I loved ]. My mother and sister watched, with a horrified expression in their faces. They knew about my maths phobia, and were hoping that I would revise. But last thing they expected was me painting, removing then re-painting my nails over and over again, or opening my mother's vanity box and trying out the foundation lotion or the blusher/lipsticks/earrings. If they questioned me, I would just tell them irritatedly not to bug me. They gave up at last!
Just on the day before the D-day, my antics became crazier. I sat in front of the mirror with a scissor in my hand, and started snipping my hair near the forehead ala 'sadhana haircut', although, thoroughly uneven. Add to that, I started to bleach the hair around my forehead completely. The end result was Horrific! Not only I had the math phobia to deal with now, I had to deal with my multi-coloured bleached hair as well, which made me look like some 'bimbo'.

My mother nearly fainted at my new look. She did rebuke me, but I merely said that I knew what I was doing. Well..inside, I just did not know what the hell I was doing at all. My nervousness was making me do all those crazy things, just to take my mind off the exam date the very next day. How do I tell that to my mother? So, I just pretended to be over-confident!
That day also I did not open any books, and watched TV till I fell asleep.
Finally morning arrived, I reached the school even before the school gates opened. I was the first to enter the premises and quickly went to near my class. Anyone would think I was too eager to sit for the exam, while in reality, I did not want anyone to notice my horrendous hair style and the hair colour, which everyone did later on anyways ~ with 'shocked open mouths'. Though I was the first to reach school, I was the last to enter the class. I waited and watched from outside as the teacher distributed the answer sheet, then the question paper..hoping and praying to God against hope that only the few questions which I tried to memorise last few months, were printed on that paper!

The bell rang and I had no other excuse but to enter the class. My teacher frowned at my late entry while handing over the question/answer sheets. I took them and hurriedly sat and began looking through them. Ok so, none of the geometry questions which I studied were there, so much for all the countless triangles and rectangles I used to draw with glee and passion. So my belief that I was somehow better at geometry than in algebra, had to be thrown out of the window that very moment.
Luckily, algebra did not cheat me so much. Most of the questions I memorised, did come [ barring few ], and I was so relieved. My prediction worked. I just quickly started to place the alphabets in exact same position as they were placed in my mental picture album. The other questions that were there on the paper I simply ignored as I would not be able to solve them, no matter what. So no point in mulling over them!

I was the first to handover my answer sheet and move out of the class quickly, while the other students were still busy writing their answers. Oh! how I envied them that day!! Anyhow, I had done my best I could, and now everything was upto God!
Results :: Surprise,surprise.....It would be hard to believe that most of the subjects I thought I was best, I got a lesser score than my math! My English score was best though, which was way higher than maths, but Geography which I thought I was best disappointed me with mere 65/100. Social Studies was somewhere in the 70's score. In maths I got 83 [ 73 algebra/10 geometry ] total, which was much much higher than I had ever expected, as I had left many questions out, except the ones which I had memorised!

Once, a naughty thought did creep into my mind that maybe my answer sheet was misplaced, and these were someone else's marks. Well ,who cares! 83 marks was written on my marks sheet now, so why should I complain. I was so happy that day !
My interest in maths however did not increase with my good marks, because in college, I had option to forego math completely, and I said bye bye to math forever after that :-)

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