The following is a slightly modified post from three years ago
It is one of my favorite movies ever. It is not only because of the fantastic movie it is, or for how uniquely the movie depicted humans and aliens communicating with each other, for Dreyfuss' crazed and possessed looks ... But also because ...
I was a little more than 15 years old. After the written part of the National Talent Search exams, I was one of the few students invited to interview. If successful, I would be a NTS guy! And, the interview venue: The Madras campus of the Indian Institute of Technology.
Two other students from my class, Vijay and Krishna, had also gotten to this stage. The prospect of the interview itself did not excite me as much as the thought that I would be at the fabled IIT campus for some serious, official, business.
Father took me to Madras--yes, that's how the city was called then.
The following day was the big moment at IIT. But, I didn't care about the interview, and was immensely excited playing cards and cricket with the boys at my uncle's home.
The morning came. We reached the campus and the interview site.
If only I had the ability to forget the bad experiences! ;)
I knew I screwed up my chances because I messed up the first question big time.
The first question was rather simple, compared to the later ones. Even though I did well in the ones that followed, I am sure that the "golden duck" was how I lost the honor of the scholarship.
That simple question was, "what is the maximum value of the tangent of an angle?"
Throughout my school life, my math teachers--right from the earliest days that I can recall--tried their best to help me understand that I needed to pause and think about the questions before I answered them, even when confident of the answer, only because of the remarkably silly mistakes I did while being in a hurry as if I were in a race against the devil. But, stupid is as stupid does, as I would learn much later from Forrest Gump.
Thus, consistent with that track record of buzzing in the reply as soon as the question was uttered, I said "one."
That answer bothered me. If only they had asked me "is that your final answer?" with some dramatic violins in the background!
After I was done, and while exiting the campus, I realized the enormity of erring in that first question itself, which was the simplest of them all.
Father realized that I was kicking myself for my haste. He did two things.
First, he took me to the beach. We then walked over to a restaurant across from the road, where I ordered a cucumber/tomato sandwich.
And then he said we could go to any movie of my choice.
Which is how we went to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." I think this was at the Satyam complex.
After the movie ended, and as we were exiting, father said, "I didn't understand anything there."
Happy father's day!
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