Saturday, May 12, 2007

Another Chance----Sunday Scribblings

This week's prompt for Sunday Scribblings is Second chance. All of us desire for a second chance at one time or the other. We say, if only I had done this way…

If only, I get another chance...

This one goes for my dad.
Thanks dad, wherever you are! I write the following for you in a slightly ironic note…

Second Chance

words rolling of my tongue never did impress you,
all you wished for me- laws and postulates to pursue.

nothing could compare with purest of pure sciences,
with my rebellion streak, I led you to merry dances.

With your persuasive best, you made me complete
my master’s degree in chemistry. I ended up replete

with valency, double bonds and kekule structures-
leaving out Chaucer, Milton, Bronte, Shakespeare

out of my periphery but only for little short while.
as soon I could, I got back without any further trial.

that previous degree was taken to fulfil your goal,
masters in English literature overwhelmed my soul.

As I have said ad nauseam, after I passed out from grade 12 with very good marks, I wanted to pursue English Literature. I was good at it; I loved to read and loved to articulate. (Writing came much later unless you consider groovy essays and various synopses). Therefore, for me that was the natural progression. There was a major obstacle. I had not envisaged that at all. When I told my dad, he was very much against it. He wanted me to study Mathematics or pure sciences. No Biology stream either. Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry. As simple as that. I had the choice of choosing one from these three. Come to think of it, there was no choice at all. I did not want to study Mathematics and Physics was kind of God for me. No one can study God.

I was left with Chemistry. I protested but for no avail. Therefore, I ended up completing my bachelor’s degree. After I completed that, he told me it would take only two more years to get my PG degree. This time too I did his bidding. I finished a teaching degree also, after that. As soon I passed out, I landed up as a teacher…a Mathematics teacher…I had studied Mathematics in my bachelors degree along with Physics. Those were ancillary subjects, chemistry being the main one.

After a few years of working, I enrolled myself for a PG degree in English and completed it. Science students can opt for most humanities subjects. My dad was somewhat happy after I finished my PG degree in English too.

I had this grudge against him for a long time that he didn't let me pursue English Literature right from the beginning. After I finished my second PG, I realised that if I had done English in the first place, I wouldn’t be holding two masters degrees in, as varied subjects as Chemistry and English. Maybe I would have regretted that at some stage. Now I do not regret anything. I am grateful to my dad who is no more. I did get a second chance.

It does not seem ironical anymore that I studied Chemistry, teach Mathematics and love English literature.


More second chances..


Steve said...

Sometimes the maths just doesn't seem to add up

Unknown said...

It is inspiring for me to read about all that you pursued and achieved.

lissa 07 said...

I guess we all want to please out parents expectations.

gautami tripathy said...

steve: well said. In life, the maths does not add up at all.

tori: Thanks. That is high praise.

lissa: In my time, yes. Now parents are much more open mined.

Crafty Green Poet said...

That reminds me of my parents! I have a degree in Biology, have studied languages at evening class and love English literature and I think those of use who have mixed experiences like that often have richer and more varied lives than those who are very stuck in one area. I've always kept away from maths though!

Traveler said...

I wish I had enjoyed English Lit, but, sadly, I didn't!

spacedlaw said...

It was so good of you to accept his choice and THEN have it your own way.
And good of your father to let you do it too.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Sruthi K said...

This is with reference to your comment on my blog.
First, thank you for visiting!

Now, regarding the writing -- It wasn't meant to be about Delhi as a universal subject. The writing was my perception, that too on the first day of my visit there. It is a personal reaction to the situations I encountered -- the view from the flight, the ride to Ghaziabad. That's all.

Thank you once again for the post.
Do visit more often.

bonggamom said...

Being a parent is difficult. I suppose that all he wanted was for you to have the best opportunities in life. I'm happy you were able to get what you wanted in the end.

sage said...

if I'm able to get mine done--it'll be about my mom.

I enjoyed learning more about you. Do you know Maril Suri--he's an Indian novelist and I think he too teaches Math (at the University of Maryland--if I remember correctly). I've read his novel, "The Death of Vishnu)

Beaman said...

An interesting write. It's a rather rare mixture, Chemistry and English but rich in diversity and brain exercise.

Clare said...

Hi Gautami, I really admire your being so true to yourself and going back to get your English degree. I loved the line "with my rebellion streak, I led you to merry dances."

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but I was just thinking there is a similarity between some poetry and math (as I'm sure you know), patterns.

I enjoyed your post.

Borut said...

The Chemistry of Chaucer, eventually, you might even turn to alchemy!?:)) The Alchemy of Hapiness of El Gazali, perhaps!?:))

polona said...

achieving what you have is no mean feat. and to be able to view your father's demamds with a bit of irony is a good thing.
thank you for sharing your experiences.

magiceye said...

knowledge helps...always

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, chemistry has provided you with a fabulous poetic vocabulary and metaphor stack - 'replete /with valency, double bonds and kekule structures' - love it (although I have no idea what kekule structures are, I just like the sound of the words!).

Kai said...

great post,
we all need second chances.

Steve Isham said...

Your chemistry is now of a more interpersonal sort, as we all can observe on your blog. :-) But maybe physics or even maths could be an equal source of metaphors!
Englih Lit.? Would any lit in other language have surficed? Or is there something intrinsic to English that attracts you?

paula said...

I realize there is a cultural difference, but I know plenty of people in America also do as their parents wish in academia. I for one am completely boggled by that notion, your post was a challenge for me to understand who was giving who the 2nd chance. (you giving your dad a 2nd chance and if so a 2nd chance for what?, you giving yourself one, you giving school one...your dad giving you a 2nd chance?)
There was so much more in this that has nothing to do with a second was a fascinating post.

Sandra.if said...

second chance may turn to be better chances....:)but different

dsnake1 said...

strange mix, but that didn't stop you from writing so well. :)

January said...

Wow, what a story! Thanks for sharing your poem and your words.

Things happen for a reason, and I know a lot of writers who tap into their analytical sides when creating a new work. Hope you are able to meld the two sides together.

Writer Bug said...

Wow! It's so great that you were able to let go of your resentment toward him.

trinitystar said...

We do not always see the greater outcome of why we did this and that ... it is only later we realise ... the second chance.
hugs for you :o)

gautami tripathy said...

Thanks for your comments, my friends.

This was one of very few differences I had with my dad. He wanted me do my best. I don't know if I did or not but I tried. Parents have certain expectations and it was not unreasonable either that he wanted me to excel in the sciences. I did accept that.

It has made me richer, given different perceptions and an analytical mind.

I do not think there is any confusion about having another chance. I gave myself that. I didn't have to study English Literature. I did it becos I wanted to. Becos it was my wish to get into the finer aspects of it.

To answer you, ish, I was never interested in any other literature other than English.

Kindness said...

it is lovely to read where you have been knowing it brought the gift that is you to our presence. thanks always...

Anonymous said...

I can not begin to imagine how hard it must be to get a degree in chemistry. The thoguht make smy head hurt. Though it's funny when I was taking high school chemistry we did a section on balancing equations, and I never missed one. No matter how long or complicated. We won't get into how I did with some of the other areas LOL
Thanks for a wonderful share.

Rob Kistner said...

Wow Gautami -

What an obedient and patient daughter. And, you must be brilliant! I'm impressed.

My adoptive father had me study Electrical Engineering in college. I hated it, but tried for his sake.

He came into my life and adopted me from the orphanage, and though the house to which I was taken was a bit of a hell for me -- I still figured I owed him a debt.

I tried a career as an EE, but ended up a singer, designer, artist, and a writer.

Our elders mean well, and they do affect our lives -- but in the end, we decide who we are.

Congratulations on your decision!

Romeo Morningwood said...

My chemical romance. This is what makes you so interesting. Instead of being the mandatory run-of-the-mill angst driven artsy fartsy touchy feely wordsmith you are anchored with indisputable rational empirical logical pure sweet, sweet, science!
Nobody else on the planet gets to use both sides of their brain like you do!

gautami tripathy said...

Thanks donn. I don't know what you say is true or not but I do try to tax my brain to its limits. Maybe that's what has kept me sane for so long.

When my emotions get better of me, my rational side takes over and vice versa. If it is good or bad, I stopped speculating long time back.