Why did I not want to study English again?

The last time I faced an English textbook was on March 10th 2011, a day before the board exam. I enjoyed English as a subject, it was a delightful escape from the technicalities of calculus or how the market strikes equilibrium (at least theoretically). What I sorely missed was the discussions that followed after reading a text, I like to delve after I finish a novel, it sort of is a fitting conclusion to the act of reading. Sadly, either my friends do not read, the ones who read do not share a similar taste in fiction and finally if they do, they do not like to voice their opinion.

Thirty months on, I spot tiny boxes named English in my college time table. Under another manifestation of reality I would have been elated at this sight, however in this one I was intimidated. I was reluctant to step into an English class, to exhibit my proficiency of the language at the critique of an ย English professor(who teaches in the best college for humanities in this country).

The problem is that I am a person of a very low self esteem (which by the way is a closely guarded secret). It has been eight months since I started writing this blog and I have been extremely content and equally surprised to have run a blog for this long without specifically writing about television(yes, I had imagined Expressions to gradually transform into a TV blog). So when this teacher steps into my world, I am scared that the day he evaluates a piece written by me, he would rate my writing skills as poor or mediocre or unsatisfactory or shabby. And then, this blog would enter a deep state of hibernation because it would have been long since I trusted myself with writing again.

In order to shield my fragile ego, I devised a strategy of impassiveness, to simply listen but not respond or ask or even reflect a speck of interest in the class. The strategy was shared by many others who did not even listen because they did not understand the point of an English class in the commerce syllabus. So to get some answers in a class lulled by reluctance, our teacher brought copies of Wordsworth’s poem ‘Upon the Westminster Bridge’ and asked us to sum up our impression of the poem in a roughly hundred and fifty words. He asked us to make them the best hundred and fifty words of our lives, failing which we would mark us absent for that day.ย I took fifteen minutes to come up with the first sentence because my brain was so blank that I could not recall the word reflections. This is what I came up with, in nervousness.

‘Upon the Westminster Bridge’ presents to us the the reflections of an individual while passing over the Westminster Bridge. To catch a glimpse of the city of London before it opens for business, before the chimneys are set into motion is a sight that moves the individual immensely. He believes that the stillness of the city is a marvel in itself which can only be ignored by a dull soul.

Wordsworth intends to convey to the reader that when human beings involve themselves in the mindless chase of materialistic things, they ignore the beauty of the smallest of experiences like catching the first ray of sun, the smooth flow of a river or to breathe in smokeless air. To let nature be at its reins and not tame it for our convenience can bring joy to us, which we fail to experience.

And the remarks on the sheet said,

Very precise first sentence, good! I like what you’ve written. Do however form shorter sentences!

I beamed at the sight of the above remark, not that it made me consider myself as a prolific writer but it helped me muster the courage to at least to speak up and enjoy a brilliant class without any inhibitions.

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8 thoughts on “Why did I not want to study English again?

  1. Siddharth Muzumdar says:

    Very nicely written…I’m just surprised there ever arose a time when you, with such a command over the language, feared the subject !!!

    • Palak says:

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I had seen people far more proficient at the language and at the skill of writing. So for a while, I thought it will be best to take a backseat with English.

      • Siddharth Muzumdar says:

        There will always be people far better at something than we are at our strengths. Woh to hona hi hai. 7 billion hai duniya mein !!!
        Anyway it is lovely reading you. Keep up the enlightening work.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Palak says:

        Haha I needed a little time to let the 7 billion theory sink in. In fact, I began blogging last year to come out of the shell, to rid myself of my inhibitions.
        Thank you so much for dropping by and being so generous with kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Siddharth Muzumdar says:

        Even I started blogging about a couple of years ago and most of it has been intermittent writing, based largely on my mood and sudden urges. I still have my inhibitions, but I am trying to let go of those.

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