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I never knew myself
Satbir Singh Bedi | 04 Oct 2013

After passing my matriculation, my father who wanted me to become an engineer because his bosses were all engineers, got me admitted to Faculty of Science (F.Sc.).

 However, I had no interest in science and got interested in poetry and started reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Byron as well as Tennyson and wanted to become a poet.  I tried to write poems but received no success and soon learnt that I would not be able to become a poet.  So, I started reading short story and got interested in Maupassant and Tolstoy.  I tried to write short stories and one of my short stories was published in a Punjabi Magazine but then met with no further success.  So, I abandoned my efforts and thought that may be I could write a novel like Nanak Singh, the famous Punjabi novelist but then found the work too tedious and that was the end of my ambition of becoming a novelist.  Then I was attracted by the plays of Ibsen and George Bernard Shaw. I read almost all the plays written by George Bernard Shaw and thought that I would become a Playwright.  I wrote various plays and two of my plays in English were published in an English Magazine "Caravan" but ultimately I met with no further success.  

 

Having studied literature instead of science, I failed miserably in F.Sc. twice and ultimately passed my F.Sc. examination.  Then my father got me admitted to B.Sc.  After failing once in B.Sc., I passed the examination at the second attempt.  After having done my B.Sc., I got myself admitted to M.A. in Mathematics as I was impressed by Galois, a child genius who in his teens solved one of the long outstanding problem of Mathematics and made himself famous as a Mathematician.  Galois has a theorem named after him.  He was also an ardent lover and was challenged by his adversary to fight a duel in which he got killed while he was still in his early twenties.  His tale really fascinated me. However, I found Mathematics to be a hard nut to crack and again failed miserably.  Thereafter, I stopped studying further and thought of earning my livelihood.  I passed Assistant's Grade Examination and joined Government service.  Meanwhile I became interested in politics.  I  wanted to quit Government job and join politics in 1975 when Emergency was launched but was afraid of the beating that I would receive at the hands of the police. So, I continued in Government service and retired as Deputy Secretary from the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation but always regretted that I could not become a politician.  After retirement, I thought of becoming a saint but the worldly attachments did not let me become a saint.  After much thinking, I ultimately ended as an agnostic. Thus I never knew myself.