My obsession with numbers

“Why Siddhartha got only 75 marks”?

thundered my father at my science teacher during our parent teacher meeting. He was incensed at his son getting 75 marks out of maximum of 80 in science in his VIth standard exams. Even though I got the second highest marks in my class but then second is not an option for parents, isn’t it?

My father is gifted with a riveting personality, a heed to baritone and the best of oratory skills. Needless to mention his English is flawless.

My science teacher   little bemused and visibly perplexed raised her head and looked at us. Shaken a bit, she maintained her composure and said

“It is because of some silly mistakes which he made”

My father frowned at her and was not much happy with the reasoning given and got into an animated discussion with my teacher. Fortunately, I was spared of his wrath this time.

This obsession with numbers started in my early childhood as is the case with most of us. It is deeply ingrained into our minds that we have to get more numbers to become rich and successful. The more numbers you generate the merrier you are. It is quite unfortunate that intelligence of our children is measured by the marks they get.

This obsession with numbers is not restricted to studies only. In middle school pressure on sophomore to have more number of friends is so intense, for somebody with lesser number of friends might end up being labeled as unfriendly and secluded.

This narcissistic obsession with numbers continues in high school as well where it is mandatory to score good numbers so that you can get admission in college of your choice. Then when it seems this obsession will end, it gathers even more steam as to get into a good Management college it is paramount that you score big numbers in graduation.

After completing my MBA and getting the job of my choice, my first sigh of relief was that this obsession with numbers is going to end but hang on!! It was the beginning of another tryst with numbers. These were different kind of numbers, depended on variables which were beyond my control. I needed to generate more numbers, increase market share, increase market penetration, sell more product, achieve more revenue, blah,blah.

This hysteria with numbers is probably the reality for all employees who work in corporates and my obsession with numbers continued unabated in my job as well. To get promoted to the next level or should I say to next number to get more incentives, better profile etc. we again need to generate more numbers and we get into this vicious circle of numbers.

In earlier days leisure meant playing your favorite game, going out with friends or just walk in the park . Leisure did not mean generating numbers. Then entered another animal on the block called the Facebook, it gave the numbers a new definition, we need more friends to gain popularity, fortunately I had finished off my studies and this pressure to generate more friends was comparatively lesser. But off late it has caught up with almost everybody, pressure to generate more likes, more comments, more numbers. Unfortunately, I could never generate more numbers. But all this obsession with likes, comments and having more followers bugged me no end.

I had always had this fascination for writing, I started working on the script for my first novel when I was in 8th standard and I finished off two chapters as well in a jiffy but it didn’t last long as the pressure to generate good numbers in school was more intense.

I was finding it extremely difficult to start off a fiction novel but something had to be done to satiate my creative urges getting into the word of blogging was a natural consequence to satiate that creative desire. I started with fiction, ventured into corporate writing and then some social causes which are so close to my heart. I was getting lot of readers from android and other social networking sites but very few from WordPress.

I write for it is so liberating, write to express my views, writing is marijuana for me, it always takes me on a high, gets my creative juices flowing which I so love. But here again it became a number game; the number of followers you have is what makes you a good blogger and I was not getting this number at all. In fact I was not even aware that we have to make followers. This was a situation which I had to resolve, then I found out that we have to read posts of other people and comment on their blogs to generate more eyeballs which will actually convert into followers (flaunting, MBA I am after all).

Then started this saga of reading and commenting of blogs, I love the work of my fellow bloggers on wordpress but I have a confession to make here, I have not always been genuine in my comments. Some of them have been written to generate more eyeballs, I so hate this word followers, it’s readers for me. I will use readers not followers.

The blog sans readers means you are not a good writer and your work does not reach people who will give you genuine feedback to improve the quality of writing further. So this obsession with numbers continued even here as well which is very much a creative platform and seeing people posting big thank you notes on reaching 100, 200, 500 followers added fuel to the fire.

But I have decided not to obsess over numbers at least not on wordpress. I shall continue to read, comment and follow but there is no point obsessing over readers.

A small note of thanks to all my readers for reading and liking my posts. A humble request as well don’t like my posts just to generate more numbers. Genuinely read posts and comment if you like. For comments you will have to go to my blog as comments on readers are not permitted.

As I said I more of a writer than a blogger and writing a post less than 1000 words is extremely difficult for me but I will try to restrict this one to less than a 1000 words.

Here I sign off in this post!!

Happy reading and thanks for all your support. Love you all.

23 Comments

  1. Congratulations siddhartha. I knew it it’s in the genes. You are gifted, wish you loads of success.. Keep us intoxicated..keep the marijuana flowing.
    certainly numbers don’t decide success. You are immensely talented and it shows. All the very best! Happy blogging 🙂
    Grrrr I hope you read my posts and then commented and you also menat it…huh! Just kidding:)hehe

    1. Absolutely. I read all your posts and always make genuine comments. Your posts are terrific and I mean it.

  2. I know of a few ‘Marathon’ bloggers who are on a ‘Liking’ spree simply so that they get their dose of attention in their blog too, but it is sad, it is fake.
    As I read this one, I was reminded that we all are in some way dancing to the invisible strings of numbers. It is numbers all the way – from good marks to now good salaries to good number of followers…. But hanging in the balance of counting and yearning for more, are we enjoying it in the process? That is one thing to contemplate. 🙂
    As always, a great post, Siddhartha, left me thinking for a long while.

    1. Thanks a ton for really going thru the post and sharing your thoughts. Yes we need to contemplate whether we need those 1000s of followers or few good readers who value our writing and share their thoughts. This obsession with numbers and generating followers has to end somewhere.

      1. So I have given up trying to grab ‘followers’ or as I like to call my virtual friends, I am happy if ten read, agree/don’t agree and leave their genuine feedback rather than 100 likes. Frankly I don’t spend time reading blogs that does not in interests, but I go out of my way to read those that I genuinely like…and your work is surely one, Siddhartha. Keep it going. Cheers!

  3. This post left me thinking. Aren’t we all obsessed with numbers – from great marks to good salaries to a super number of virtual friends following your blog. Yes, we are all in the same boat. But are we forgetting to enjoy ourselves and our work in the process? While we realize our dreams, work hard to achieve those big ‘number’ targets, let us also remember to enjoy our way there.
    A thoughtful post, Siddhartha.

    1. Thanks so much. You read all the posts thoroughly, got the essence and then shared your feedback. What else could I writer ask for.

  4. True. We are all obsessed with numbers and we measure our intelligence by the marks we ger or the money we earn. Indian parents are furthermore obsessed with them. I loved your post. Keep blogging, Siddhartha!☺

        1. Great. That’s what they do. Don’t wear it too often otherwise there are podiatrists waiting to get a larger chunk from your wallet.lol

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