I have always been a ‘Can do better’ person. It is a person who innocently and implicitly makes fruitful promises but delivers only 80% or severely less. Right from my inception, I was looked upon as a promising entity that would grow up only to bring laurels to the family and possibly find the cure for cancer. I was the answer or so they thought. But as is universally applicable to all expectations, this too was only a premeditated resentment and I proved it so by scoring an 88.71% in my kindergarten. The reward was a report card that screamed ‘Very Good.Can do better.’ and that marked my tryst with this mighty phrase.
It is funny how parents vouch on the genius of the fruits of their loins. The belief that their child contains this distinct quality, this miraculous caliber that can surpass every hint of brilliance available till date. Maybe it is just infinite affection but the fact is, it irritates the hell out of me.
I was always an average student. More outside than inside the classroom, I never posed a threat to the crème de la crème of my class. I was the student who forged her father’s signature on her chemistry term paper because she scored a 9/20 and I was the one who faked a blackout because the maths pre-board exam was a little too out of syllabus for my interest. Basically, I was the kid who spent a night with Onions stuck under her armpits because some enlightened idiot told her that doing so would bring up a fever which would be the perfect escape from the physics viva scheduled to be held the next day. The fever never happened. The viva voce did. But through all my misdemeanors, I was always believed in, both by my family and my teachers. They would shake their heads in disappointment, look straight into my eyes and say ‘You can do better’. Their comical beliefs amused me but all I did was nod in affirmation.
Then I cleared an all India exam and entered one of the National Law Schools. To be frank, I was shocked and I still believe that the electronic device that checked the OMR sheet was infected by a bug. May be I was just plain lucky. Either way, it gave a positive reaffirmation to my family. It made them believe that I actually could do better. I continued my stint as an average student, was the opposite of Gandhi while writing papers but still the professors persistently told me how I could do better. It got so bad that I once just asked my dad as to why he believed so much in me. His answer was ‘Lord Hanuman forgot about his divine abilities because of a curse and had to be reminded of it. Once he realised his true potential, there was no looking back.’ My dad has a terrible sense of humour.
So I decided to actually do better. I joined a law firm and attempted to genuinely do the best I could. I tried hitting deadlines, drafted the sexiest writ petitions in the history of High Courts and researched on the most mundane subjects entrusted upon me. The highlight is the fact that I did do better. For the past one week I was neck deep in this case of a thermal power plant giant and drafted the finest petition that my dying grey cells could come up with and I was sure that there was no room for improvement. I was at my very best and this is exactly why I was confident that my boss would love my work. So as I sat before him carrying around myself an aura of expectation, he said “This is good. Very good. But, you can do better.” I felt like a punctured puffer fish.
It is then that I realized that ‘CAN DO BETTER’ is a phrase that is one step ahead of me. Pleasing someone with my infinite potential should never be my forte. I should be pleased with myself and right now, I am.
I wonder how Hanuman would have felt if after realizing his true potential, he went to Lanka, allowed the Asuras to light his tail and then burnt the entire empire with the fire on his back, only to come back to a Sri Ram who would mouth out the words ‘CAN DO BETTER’.
May be I should ask my dad.
P.S- September is my birthday month. Just saying. :D