Being humbled

It was 1989 and we were at Wellington (Nilgiris). On seeing her II BCom marksheet, my elder daughter was shocked that Bharathiar University (Coimbatore) had shrunk her marks in advanced accountancy to 18, whereas her expectation had been over 80, just as in all others. We both drove down to Coimbatore and met the controller of examinations. He said I would be wasting my money by filing for ‘total-checking’ (they don’t re-value), as never had an error or mistake happened there. I told him, “May be this would be the first!” He might have thought I was arrogant, so asked us to wait for 3-4 hours, while it was checked.

After a cuppa at the cafeteria, we were strolling around the campus, but my daughter who had just turned 19 was very tense and praying to her late mother. On our way to lunch, a peon came running to say I was wanted immediately.

The moment we entered despite the lunch-hour the controller offered us coffee and with half-hung head, sheepishly told us that she had got 81 and not 18; the error had occurred while transcribing from the answer-book to the computer. Saying though not normally done, he showed us her paper, which had 81 marks clearly written, vindicating her statement to me.

He said in a few weeks the amended marksheet would be sent. I insisted that to recompense, he should give us the marksheet immediately. It got ready in a jiffy; we collected it and drove back, with a big sigh and a smile on my daughter’s face. He possibly felt humbled and refunded the re-totalling fee too so that there won’t be a record of the error!

I was ‘teaser’ in the above; but there are instances where I was the humbled victim! In 1994, just one year before my premature retirement, my PA gave me a document which had been shabbily stapled. So, I asked him to get a knife or a pair of scissors to remove the offending pins before stapling new ones.

He just picked up the stapler on my table and using the rear portion, took out the pins without any effort. I had considered him a duffer ever since he was posted to me, but this simple act of his humbled me; I was unaware of such a use of the stapler.

One more instance: I pride myself being a spelling-bee. But, while helping with proof-reading of my book, my son-in-law had amended two words to read: ‘prestigious’ and ‘inasmuch’, whereas I had used ‘prestigeous’ and ‘in as much’. Needless to say, after verifying from online dictionary, I ate a humble pie.

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