The Washout- The bloated story of a little failure
With the majority of heroes in Tamil cinema and pop culture in general playing around with guns with the ease and enthusiasm of a baby eating candy, its no wonder every kid (including me) fantasizes about shooting one day. In fact, I idolized firing so much that it was one of my major, driving reasons for joining the National Cadet Corps. And my, wasn't I enthused when I finally got to hold a gun in my hand when attending camp.
Holding a gun in your hand is sort of magical. It makes you feel powerful. It's certainly heavier than the movies make it look, though not by that much. It's quite manageable, really. The reassuring weight of a firearm comes with a teensy bit of nervousness that if you accidentally, or intentionally shoot someone, they're dead. But I was not too worried by that. (Nope, I'm not a psychopath, just someone who's confident). Handling the gun came naturally to me, and I was one of the few people who's hands did not shake. The first time I was taken firing, rain washed out the entire thing. (and no, that is not the reason for the title). It rained exactly for the 5 minutes it took to cancel firing, and then, it was clear skies and white clouds:(
The day finally came. Turns out the toy targets I shot with toy guns in my explosive childhood weren't far enough. The real targets to be shot, were 30 metres away, which is REALLY far. Everyone's hands were shaking(except mine, ofc;)), and a lot of people were being whacked in the backside by the instructor (their fault, really). I confidently loaded the bullet, shot. Loaded, aimed, shot. Loaded, aimed, shot. A total of 5 rounds. Absolute heaven. I was feeling quite sorry for some of my batchmates, whose hands had been shaking so bad that they couldn't have possibly hit the target. I went to collect the target sheet, to submit for scoring, and well, I was dumbfounded. My target sheet was as clean and clear as day. None of the bullets had landed anywhere ON the sheet, let alone the scoring areas. While my friends, whose hands had been shaking, had all landed bullets. The term used to refer to me, was a washout(hence the title), in other words, a guy who didn't land a single bullet on the sheet.
It was brutal for me. A failure, of sorts. I was the only guy in my batch (apart from a friend) who washed out. All of the others, including those whose hands were shaking like crazy, had made it. It kept running again, and again in my mind, so much so that I, a person who usually doesn't dwell on anything, was brooding over it all day. For some reason, this little failure brought up all the times I had ever gone wrong, ever failed abysmally, in my 18 years.
As I dwelled and brooded and stressed about my failure, I tried to make sense of it all, to somehow tinker around with my brain to see what the hell was wrong with it. For I wanted to forget it all, forget every little thing associated with that day. So I began reading up on what failure does to your brain (a lot). What I found is something for another article (cuz I like to milk every event in my life for the maximum number of articles), but what I realised was that what happened to me was actually great. I screwed up firing in a camp where firing has no bearing on your performance. The personal setbacks that I've faced, however bad, came at a point in my life where I literally have a lifetime to heal from it. Your dreams and goals don't have an expiration date. All you need to do is take a deep breath, and try again. I haven't mastered it yet. Hell, it still hurts that I failed. But theres a bit of a light in the darkness. Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. I found mine, yet the darkness wasn't dispelled. It doesn't need to be. We just have to hold on. I found my happiness in the dark, and whomsoever is reading this, I do sincerely hope you find yours.
P.s. How much ever brooding I did, thanks to my friends and batchmates, I was laughing by the end of the day;)
"Success is not final, and failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."- Winston Churchill