It is not that I didn’t write anything worthy of this blog post for months. It is not that I forgot its existence. In spite of warnings, I took two writing classes concurrently from UC Berkeley Extension. It was a bad idea. My brain was perpetually exhausted reading, analyzing, and inventing. I wrote as though my life depended on it. At times, I acted intelligently about the places I didn’t know existed. I analyzed authors I have never heard of. I answered questions that didn’t make any sense; sometimes I couldn’t comprehend the questions. I plowed my way through, I stopped living, I didn’t cook and clean as much as I preferred, I didn’t work-out to my limit, and I obsessed about my grades.

     I know that as an adult, who took the writing classes voluntary, I should not have worried about my grades. But I did. I do really care if I get an A+ or A or A-. For one of my writing assignment, instead of my usual 95/100–the highest grade of the class, I got a 94. I fretted for days. I think I was depressed. My husband couldn’t understand. After all, who in the world was ever going to see those grades?


     When did I start obsessing about grades? To understand that I need to go back to my childhood. (I imagine Freud is stroking his beard.) You see, for my entire childhood, I was told I am dumb. Apart for the art class, I never received decent grades in any subject in high school. My six years younger sister got highest grades in every class but art class. Huh, in retrospect, she got good grades in art class because my parents made me do all her art assignments. My father called me a blathering idiot. He outlined the trajectory of my sisters and my life. My sister was going to be rich and successful; I was going to be pawned off to the first idiot who agreed to marry me.

     I got good grades during my undergrad. Somehow, I didn’t pay much heed to them. I felt dumb. After all, architecture education in India didn’t require me to write papers and analyze things, I was to just draw and design–my strong forte. First time I wrote a paper was during my graduate school; I was thirty-two at that time. It is also the first time I got good grades in everything. I felt powerful. Since then, I am riding the grade obsession train, be it in art class or in writing classes or if/ when I start taking crochet classes (!).

     It took me years but I have finally understand my grade obsession. I am sure that I have not grown new- or found- brains in my old age. Now, I realize that the cause of my bad grades in high School was not due to my intelligence. It was because I never studied. Because I was doing all the household chores and catering to my younger sister. I was not given the time mot study. I often wonder, if my life would have been different had my parents let me have study time in high school. I might have gone to a better college; I might have done graduate school in younger age. But, then I worry if I would have met my husband. There are so many could-s and would-s. I am taking another writing class from UC Berkeley Extension, again. I am trying to get off my grade obsession. For this class, I am going to do my best to live my life first and worry about the grades later.


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