Math and me have come a long way. From learning the spelling (yes, that matters too!) to learning the values of ‘x’. A very, very long way indeed! The journey is filled with tears, and on most parts, angry pen marks in frustration and torn pages filled with formulae.

Look from afar, and you’d always see a hazy, blurry picture of me scrawling out numbers on a Classmate notebook, the pen cap chewed to bits and the textbook, half torn, lying in front of me. There was never peace between us, a war of the Xs and the Ys. And there was me, trying to pacify them both, and failing miserably at that.

Sometime in the ninth grade, my mother made me join a tuition, only for mathematics. She said, and I quote, “You wouldn’t want to fail ninth because of one subject now, do you?” That sentence petrified me, I was so scared that I had sobbed into my pillow for the rest of the night. Failure was something that I could never take in. Whatever I did, I had to excel in that, play to win!

The tuition teacher was a good one, she made me solve at least ten sums per sitting, five out of which I executed properly, and the other five were solved in the same old messy way. Now I cannot disregard my style, can I?

A week later, I had my Periodic Tests, and math was the first paper. I felt prepared, for once in my life. I went inside the big hall, the eerie silence making me forget all the formulae I had crammed up inside my head. I don’t know, everything just went blank the moment I faced the question paper. A single tear made way down to the answer sheet, and I wrote whatever little I could recollect from the minutes I had spent cramming up and solving tons of sums.

Faith was lost, for me, I believed that I was never going to pass math, and it was so out of my league.

Five months had passed, I had changed tuition teachers, written down each formula at least a hundred times. I had my Second Semester in ten days. Math again. The first paper. I don’t know why my school always had math as the first paper, maybe it was to terrify students from the first exam itself, or to rid them of the fear and help them perform well in the papers that followed. Nothing worked for me, I worried about math in each paper, and every morning closer to the result date made my heart skip a beat.

Result date: I scored 55 out of 100 in math. I DID IT!! I PASSED!! I was so happy I pranced around the whole room showing everyone my result. I was promoted to the tenth grade!

I worked hard in tenth, though most of it I spent goofing around with my friends. For my boards, I think I had practised enough sums. I didn’t need to cram up formulae now, they were inscribed, engraved, embossed, and anything else possible, on my mind.

When the result for the board exams were out, I had scored 86 in math. It was a great score for me, a massive leap. Happiness bubbled out of me like oil from a pakoda.

Although I did well enough in Math in the tenth grade, when it came to choosing subjects in FYJC, I felt math and my journey filled with tragedy had to end sometime. We parted ways happily. I chose Logic.

Now I watch, with a smug smile, at other people trying to pacify the Xs and Ys.