The Greatest Insult

‘Insult’ isn’t a very hard word to define. In fact, its easy to describe it when you insult; and easier when you get insulted. Formally, insult can be defined as: a rude expression intended to offend or hurt. This rude remark may not be deliberate, but 90% of the times, it is.

For me, insult means something different. Something that is inside you; rather than the effect of a remark made by someone. I define insult as an attack on the ego. And as a direct consequence of this attack, there is anger, humiliation, embarrassment, and restlessness that gets developed. These feelings, many times end up putting a person on a tensioned spring, awaiting to pounce on an opportunity to get back even with the insulter. In short: revenge mode. Apart from the direct effects, insults, especially to kids, mean discouragement, deprivation of hope, a lapse of confidence, and also a big reason for disheartening and dispiriting them.

Instead of delving into the philosophy of an insult or ego, I would present an incident that happened in my school days, but before that, this was how I was at school:

I was a person who gave more importance to knowledge rather than the marks that my report card reflected. The marks or grades that I obtained at school did not affect me at all – be it high or low. When many of my friends (especially girls) wept because they lost 2 marks, I used to laugh at them; I would have lost 10 marks! I used to get irritated and amused at the same time when sometimes my friends (specially girls, again) wept inconsolably for obtaining 98 out of 100! I would be over the clouds with marks like that!

Anyways, coming to the incident that I was going to narrate to you: this happened on the eve of my 10th Standard results. We got our results over the internet on the previous day. I had obtained 90.08%, which is pretty good; though I knew I could have done better. But like I was, it did not matter to me. Next day, I went to the school, all happy and smiling. The first teacher I met was my favorite teacher. She was my English teacher in 9th Standard; the one who had praised me before. I happily told her my result percentage and waited for her to say something. I expected a word of appreciation, or even criticizing me not to have performed even better. But as fate would have it, the greatest insult actually came from my favorite teacher! She said: “You surprised us all, Manoj”. I was dazzled for a moment and blinked at her. The sarcasm in her voice hit me so hard that I still remember the incident. I still don’t understand why she expected me to get lesser marks. I was so involved into what she said, that I don’t remember what I replied to that.

Sometimes, when I look back into all the incidents that had happened in my life, I wonder if I had lived life assuming that everyone around me *liked* me and was comfortable with me. And sometimes, I wonder if I’m still living life that way…

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