R for Racing against Rejection

It feels overwhelming to accept that I survived the A2Z challenge until today and reached the alphabet R. Last week Tuneer’s new school brought in a complete change of schedule for all of us. And then we had Satyanarayana Pooja at home last morning keeping me on my toes the whole day. the fatigue gave rise to a strong urge to skip writing for the day. But this series has become so much fun that I couldn’t resist myself from writing this last post for the week.

For more two and a half decades of my life, I had really not known what rejection meant both in personal and professional lives. Two numbers in my life have always been high – the digits on the weighing scale and my marks in most of the examinations. The former ensured that I never have any kind of distraction in the form of affairs until I went to college and the latter gave me the confidence to face those who tried to body shame me. When I faced the first rejection in academics, my skills to handle the same were underdeveloped. With experience, this has improved though I must say that I am still quite wary of any kind of rejection for the simple fact that I don’t know how to deal with it.

On the other side of the spectrum, there’s Sr. T. This man seems unfazed by both selection or rejection. For him, there’s always a way out and everything is predestined.  Now how does one argue with someone who starts quoting verses from Gita at the slightest of opportunities? For Tuneer to be brought up by two such radically different people speaks about the kind of contradictory situations that the boy often finds himself in!

Performance pressure
Performance pressure

When Tuneer started his school admission process, his first interview happened to be in a school stuck-up on English as a medium for communication and like I have mentioned in a few of my previous posts, he had to answer twenty questions. For one of the questions, he was shown the alphabets B and D and asked if he could ‘differentiate’ between the alphabets. For a three-year-old, alphabets were a new thing. To hear the word ‘differentiate’ was quite a shocker to all three of us. Yet, barring my name which he had proudly announced as Mummum, he answered all the questions quite well.

But when the results came out, Tuneer didn’t make it to the first list. The worst part was that Sr. T and I had both gone to see the results and the moment I could be sure about the rejection, I turned around to find Sr. T missing from the spot. Without exaggerating the real situation, it really looked like he had simply vanished in thin air. My immediate reaction to the result had been that of devastation. For me, it was painful that the boy had started his new path with something as ominous as rejection. But before I could lash out at Sr. T for his casual attitude towards the admission process until then, his sudden absence had started to send shivers down my spine.

Our standard reaction to situations - the kid is devoid of any expression, Sr. T is amused and I am simply not amused
Our standard reaction to situations – the kid is devoid of any expression, Sr. T is amused and I am simply not amused

I searched for him frantically. The results had been long forgotten before deciding to give him a call. He picked up and announced his presence at a nearby tea stall. By then, I had started seething in anger. On arriving, I was about to scream at this callous man when he handed over three ice creams to me with a smile. At this point, you might be going, “Aww! How sweet!” Let me spill the beans then – this absurd gesture happened on a chilly January evening with the temperature hovering around 8 degrees. I wanted to throw those ice creams back at him. But by then, I had started feeling so hopeless that even my jittery nerves had calmed down.

Knowing that it would be difficult to give this man a piece of my mind since both the grandparents were at home that evening, I ensured that it was a bumpy ride for him back home. Yet he kept smiling while saying, “have one ice-cream”. Beyond a point, I lost all my energy to even discuss this further. By then, the family had already known about the outcome. The grandparents had become his human shields waiting to protect him from every scolding expected to come his way. By the time we reached home, all that I could manage to tell the child was that we both had a lot of work to do to ensure such results were not repeated in the future.

Of course, Sr. T and I fought tooth and nail the next day privately after I realized how I had straight walked into his trap laid down to save the boy from my wrath. He kept denying the accusation vehemently. Thankfully, for all three of us, a repeat of such a situation never happened in any of the following three interviews. The end result was that Tuneer was spared the chiding, Sr. T was spared the need to cook up another creative story and I was spared the stress of dealing with rejection.

Pillars of strength - his maternal and paternal grandfathers (also that look on his face to have finally managed to escape my scolding)
Pillars of strength -L to R: his maternal and paternal grandfathers (also that look on his face to have finally managed to escape my scolding)

Ever since Tuneer has started school, my father-in-law makes it a point to end almost every conversation with a generalized statement about how marks never matter or ranking first in class never teaches anybody the way to deal with real-life scenarios. I know that’s just his way of telling me to not pressurize the boy for a high rank. My father, who shares a very warm relationship with my father-in-law takes this conversation further ahead by casually mentioning about the need for everyone to face rejection early on in life since that is expected to make one tough from inside. But Sr. T doesn’t shy away from telling the boy about how his race against rejection has already begun. He cracks a joke about how both of them have to really invent solid excuses if the kid doesn’t live up to his mother’s expectations in terms of academic performances.

The boy has a long way to go before I start keeping a  track of his academic results. So my reaction to all these statements is just a casual nod or even indifference. Honestly, I am still trying to figure out if Raya Ray, my Detective fictional character holds any chance of a comeback with a second book for which I have already trashed two drafts (each of 50k words) in the last six months. Guess we are all running in this race against rejection striving towards the hope of selection. 

Thank you for being a part of my journey until now. I will be back with a fresh post on ‘S’ this Monday. Have a great weekend and you can also catch up on my previous posts in this series here.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. I completed a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. in Dec 2020. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head, three-plus years of blogging, writing, and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes! Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my five-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter, and give words to emotions. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

40 thoughts on “R for Racing against Rejection”

  1. It’s okay to be rejected. All the people whom we call famous today were rejected when they started their career. In fact, rejections make us work hard (You should have great will power). Loved the way you combined your story and Tuneer’s. You should finish your book Sonia 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing one Sonia! Your every post filled me with lots of emotions because as a mother I can understand the situations. Sometimes It is so difficult to manage when the kids suffer those type of things at a very early age when they don’t even know what is going on?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a heartfull story. I mean it felt as if I ws witnessing everything firsthand. You know what my husband will definitely like yours. I mean I see two people discussin how everything has a work around to it and how everything is predestined. haha! Jokes apart, rejection is something that one has to expose to kids very carefully. Too much will frustrate them into giving up and none will make them believe they own the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The pic of the two of you says it best… Its a yin and yang kinda couple in play here but the best parts of it since you compliment each other rather than weighing each other down.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I do agree with your father-in-law. It is important to face rejection and the earlier you face it, the better it is because somehow it is inevitable. Nobody can skim through life without facing rejection because it is a crest and trough story. You really brought out a very important aspect today. Thorougly enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Being a mom of two young girls, I know how difficult it is for this generation especially. We have to teach them to face rejection and it’s easier said than done but I am trying. I hope Tuneer learns it as early as possible as it really helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had faced quiet a few rejections in school when much to my father’s disappointment I did not clear either the NTSE or the Junior Science talent examination. Even in the IIT JEE I faced rejection in my first attempt and it was only in my second attempt I secured a rank which was a rather pathetic 1782. I say pathetic because those days only 2000 students were selected in IIT JEE. There were only six institutions that the selected students could get admitted to. These were the five IITs (there were only 5 IITs those days) and IT-BHU which was later granted IIT status. Well with my rank I could only get a seat in Metallurgical Engineering in IT-BHU. But these rejections taught me a lot. You know subsequently I have seen people who are far superior to me in intellect and did not make into an IIT even after three attempts. There is an element of chance or luck which plays a huge role and it is necessary to remember that when we face rejections.


  8. Sonia, you are wonderful story teller. No matter what you say, there is always a lesson and spice of humor in your post. With the kind of world we are in , where they get everything with a drop of hat, its so important to teach them and help them to deal with rejection.
    I juggle with daily task and this blogging challenge , claps to you for handling so many things T’s new school and then puja at home too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good to know about your marks scale(about weight scale you already said indirectly through your post), i thought it will be something very much serious writing when read the title but it actually contains some funny tones, i have believed always in “predestination”, handing over the ice creams was an witty move. so far i have realized from your posts, the parents,(means you and Mr.Doctor), the grandparents and also Tuneer,everyone is in the right track according to their perceptions and experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Admission to nursery school by competitive examination is ludicrous, though as a nation we have adopted it in the absence of a better system. Even for adults a competitive exam creates a lot of pressure. If your son had answered everything except mother’s name, then the criteria for admission must be something different. As I said before, group discussion among parent is equally outrageous. Now that child is admitted and studying let him be. I remember one convent school did not admit me in class five, for which I wrote admission test, there was not seat in class four, so the principal mother suggested class three for me. My father was furious. But I did not get admission, that’s the fact.


  11. Baki sab to sabne keh diya mujhe bas ye kehna hai ki ye humour ka jo tadka aap lagate ho thoda hume bhi sikha do,padhne wale ko maza aajata hai by god 🙂
    As a reader, I thoroughly enjoy reading you as I can imagine each and every situation you are in with this admission process, and little Tuneer has become my fav little man by now, I scroll to his new pics in your new posts 🙂 Convey my love to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post Sonia. I do agree with your father that we should learn how to handle rejections early on as it makes us stronger and better to deal with the situations.


  13. You and senior T make a perfect couple. One heats up and the other cools down with ice-cream😂.
    On a serious note, life is not a bed of roses, learn to adjust with thorns also.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rejection hurts and it will happen at some stage in life. In fact, it is certain. And we brace ourselves for it because we are not adequately prepared for it. Good on you for sharing about this. Even I am so tired and barely managed my post today.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Rejection is always tough for everyone and we never want it for our babies. But that’s part of the game. Glad tuneer got selected in all rest of the interviews/ interactions.
    Diff. Between B and D is a ridiculous question.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I know what you mean Sonia. Definitely, rejections are not easy to handle but one should be prepared enough to not get deeply affected by them. Also, I feel our new generation need to learn this skill of rejection handling early on in life. Our kids are quite emotionally vulnerable, we can’t become their shield every time.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It is kindergarten and the kid is just 3…give him a break my dear 🙂 Don’t judge him as a loser or he got rejection. I would say its the school’s loss! Losses make us stronger and determined to excel.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I almost wanted to give up for R today. Managed it and there is lot less to go.

    Rejections, yes, they do come in colors and fonts. you definitely have an intriguing writing skill. It keeps the reader hooked!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your posts are always filled with humour and never cease to pass on a life lesson in a wonderful way. Let’s accept rejection with grace as it teaches us to be more humble and accept life challenges with more strength and power. Hope your second book finds a place for ‘Raya Ray’ and be a great success.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have faced rejection and still haven’t learnt to deal with it well. Can I share what I feel, though? Tuneer doesn’t even know what rejection is at this point. Whether he got selected or not or whether it was good for him or not, he decides from your reactions. I can understand your intentions (and am guilty myself at times) but I do hope you’ll cut him some slack. All the best, Sonia!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I loved your honesty here Sonia, about how you find it hard to deal with rejection. I’m especially glad that you didn’t decide to give up writing the A2Z posts, as I would surely have missed it! Where can I grab a copy Raya Ray’s first adventure?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Rejection is an important part of life, I can understand why your better half keeps in underplayed. I was like you until a couple of years back. But somehow, life taught me differently.
    Awesome post as always Sonia.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Rejections sometimes give reasons for reflection! I understand your concern for Tuneer but I think it’s important to not take everything seriously in life. Life has its own plans and sometimes better plans, like the birth of Tuneer gave you a chance to realize your dream of being a writer.
    I think Sr T and you compliment each other (he downplayed the first rejection, while you did not)… I think this balancing is necessary for parents.
    Don’t worry, Tuneer will grow up to be a smart boy more than he is now!
    Reading and Other Hobbies


  24. I never shared this with anyone but had to write it here after reading this post, Sonia. Honestly, I never faced rejections in my life until I reached Poland and started applying for a job here. It has been almost a year I have so many rejections in my mailbox, I don’t even reach the interview table. It bogs me down truly but my husband helps me regain confidence. I simply loved this heartwarming post and was nodding my head at many points.

    Liked by 1 person

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