Sunday 1 December 2013


In the Hindi movie '3 Idiots', Boman Irani's character, the Principal Viru Sahastrabudhhe, nicknamed ViruS, gives an introductory speech to all the students on Day-1.
ViruS asks the new batch's Engineering-students-
"Who was the 1st person to set foot on the Moon?"
Many hands are up as many students know the answer! 

But, when ViruS asks, "Who was the 2nd person on the Moon?" there are no takers. 
(Even the ‘good students’- Rancho & Chatur don’t have the answer!) 

Being a good Quizzer, I know the answer- Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin

So what? The answer can just earn me an extra point in a Quiz-Contest! 

The truth is, it is Neil Armstrong who is remembered as the ‘first person on the moon’. 
It is Neil Armstrong, who is more famous. 

How many of us know or even care who was 2nd either on the Moon or in life?

When the school-results are announced, parents usually ask their kids, “Who stood 1st?” 
(I don’t ask my kid this question as I don’t care!

When the results of the Miss India contest are announced, all eyes are on the 1st winner, though all the pretty young ladies on stage are equally talented & even though the difference in the final score between the top two winners may be 0.002!

The winner takes it all”. Name & Fame belongs to the Winner.
 Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (The one who wins is Alexander)

That’s the obsession with the “FIRST/1st” position

We all want to WIN. We all want to feel important. We all want to feel loved and wanted.

The truth is the human-mind always wants to pick the best option for itself- the one that maximizes gains/returns. 

We have a Talaash (Search) for the best! Landing up in a lower spot does not accord that much status/importance. 

The 1st position is very important in a race. If it’s the Olympic Games, then coming 2nd or 3rd will also do as it raises the stature of our country. But, 4th position (like Milkha Singh & PT Usha in the Olympics) is an absolute no-no. It leaves a lifetime of regret and could-have-been feeling. 

But, people like Milkha Singh share their life's story so that we people can learn from their experience. 
I shared my learning in my Post – BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG - 25 LESSONS

The Society remembers us on the basis of what we have achieved; not what we could have or had the potential to achieve to get an edge.
But, while a part of the Society raises us to a pedestal, another part pulls us down if our achievement exceeds their expectations or knowledge!
Sadly some people belittle others talent/hard-work & drive a wedge!

I stood first in the very first race I ran in my life, way back in KG in Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai! 
I still remember that race as I had the finish-line in mind and ran as fast as my tiny feet could carry me! 
I was pretty plump, but still stood 1st

I remember the pride on my parents’ face as I stood on the Winner’s stand!
When I was handed over my trophy, I felt really happy and grand! 

Some people mocked at my achievement as such a plump kid had won the race! Others, who were not present at the venue, generalized- “Just imagine how plump the other kids of her class must be that this plump kid won!” 

Strangely, even after all these years, they (close relatives) still remember my first achievement and disparagingly say this! 

What right do people have to do so & pass unfair comments?
They are not God who can pass such judgments! 

They didn’t run; I ran the race with all my mind & heart!
The least they can do is Congratulate & acknowledge my worth!

But, it does not matter what people unfortunately say…
They cannot steal my achievement or glory away!

My 1st Win’s photograph still graces our Photo-Album and I still feel thrilled to see it as if I have just won the race! 

Some years later, I took part in a Spoon-race for the very first time in my life. We had to put the edge of the spoon inside our mouth and had to balance a lemon on the spoon. Whoever managed to finish the race first without dropping the lemon even once would win. I just focused on the lemon & my spoon & slowly and steadily made my way… 

I did not lose my faith, balance or composure even when my ‘competitors’ around were dropping their lemons/spoons! They got disqualified, while to complete the race, I earnestly tried! 
Needless to say, I deservedly earned the 1st prize in the Spoon-race!

Later, in the Mahabharata, I read Arjuna & Ekalavya stories.
They had eyes only on the ‘target’; nothing else did they notice…
Heroes continue to inspire across seas, even after centuries...

I generously quote the examples of such mythological and real-life heroes (and heroines) to my kid. We must learn the best from all and grow.

If we all sincerely set our eyes on our goals and diligently work hard to achieve them, no one can stop our and our country’s progress. 

But, it’s unfortunate that some of us are busy creating impediments in other’s (competitors) work/progress, rather than focusing and bettering our own individual work!

I believe the best competition is with oneself. I wholeheartedly indulge in it as I love challenging myself and spur myself to greater heights and achievements!
No, I’m not planning to be the 1st woman on the moon! But, setting targets and achieving them is no less wonderful than reaching for the stars and the moon! 
And I am definitely not the 1st person in the World who feels so!

What do you feel; what is your view?
How important is ‘coming 1st’ to you?

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers


  1. Unfortunately , that's the sad truth. Everyone wants to come first in the rat race and people can be very judgmental and critical for those who don't. I agree with you Anita, it is most unfair! The things that people said when you won the race shows that people just want to say something negative. If we all could be positive and encourage others, world would be such a better place to live in. Well written and kudos for not putting the peer pressure to stand first on your own child. 'Claps' . :)

    1. Yes, that's the sad truth, Pallavi.
      No doubt people are critical if we don't stand first! But, the thing is people are critical & belittle our hard-earned achievement even if we do try our best and stand first! That's funny & ironical!
      It's said- "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"
      Even after such unfair comments, if we can rise up after failure & still be winner, then we are "Baazigar" (Dialog from the SRK's film- "Haar ke jeetne waale ko Baazigar kehte hain"!)
      World will be a better place if we all adopt positivity & treat everyone with respect and fairness! Let's encourage everyone to be Baazigar & Sikandar (WINNERS!)!
      *Accepts the Applause* :)

  2. You know, I stood 2nd in school for my 10th board exams. I lost 1st place by one mark. Just one. All the recognition and applause went to the guy who got first (who, a lot of us knew, had cheated in the exams). I was, obviously, disappointed for a long time, cos no one asks "Who came 2nd?". But later on, I felt it wasn't a big deal. I realized I spent so much time studying and didn't really participate in any extra-curricular activities like sports and stuff.
    And, like you said, I am never gonna ask my son to come first. I would be a happier mom if he hones skills that make him happy, rather than be under some pressure to be a ranker!

    1. Sreesha, What coincidence! I faced the same situation as you as even I stood 2nd in my school in my Class-X Board Exams!
      But, the guy, who stood 1st had a few marks more than me by merit! We both won the certificate from the CBSE Board for being amongst the top 0.01% of candidates, but I did not receive any scholarship as my Papa's income was higher.
      I realized that in life it doesn't matter whether I have always been ranked amongst the top 3 in class (I always have been, but so what?!)
      There's more to life than mere marks or positions...

      My kid studies in a new-age school in which there is no study-pressure or home-work. They get 'grades' in report-cards but marks in test-copies.
      I have told her that I will sign her test-copies (parents have to sign the same) even if she scores a zero! (It's another story that my kid has promised me that she will never score a zero like 'Nobita' of Doraemon cartoon-series!) :)

      I am delighted when I meet understanding parents like you who don't force their kids to 'perform' and 'achieve'. May our tribe increase. :)

  3. What does it take to be Number ONE !!!
    Nicely written ..
    The way you make me feel makes all the big difference in life,

    1. Thanks Veena! Glad you liked it. :)
      Number ONE is a much sought-after spot! But, usually only 1 person can occupy it. The stakes are high! :)

  4. While number 1 is surely nice I learned when I ran on the cross country team in high school that I was never going to come in first. For me it was enough and everything to finish the race and live to tell the tale. Sometimes it is about enjoying the ride and taking pleasure in that. While being first is great, not everyone can be first. Great post!

    1. Thanks Kathy! That's great spirit- 'finish the race and live to tell the tale.'
      May we all enjoy every moment of the race and learn from the experience. Anyway, only 1 person can come 1st! :)

  5. standing first ? not sure. sitting first ? yes very much. especially if it is a traditional 3 course kerala style dinner.
    joke apart , it is this rush to be the first which is probaby making our youth wild. there is no need to go after these numbers. they have more strenght in groups than alone. for example 2nd is not that different from first. but a group of first 100 may be a little better than next 100.
    heard of this story ? two hunters suddenly found themselves in front of a lion in a thick jungle. they both started running. suddenly one of them asked. what is the point can u outrun a lion. the other one continued running and said may be i can outrun you.

    if our life is this sort of running then where is the charm . even if it is the fact let us not
    admit it that easily. a little bit of hypocracy helps. all truth and only truth is a little boring

    1. Count me in for the amazing traditional dinner! Happy to be 'first' in queue for it!
      We keep on running races and to grab positions and then one day we realize the futility of it all! Even winning the 1st prize in the race is not enough if our achievement is questioned! :)
      Thanks for sharing the hunters story. In their quest to earn the 1st position, they even forgot their task in hand- the lion! :) That's what getting blinded by positions does to us!
      Agree about the hypocrisy!
      I feel earnest effort & time needs to be acknowledged irrespective of the 'position'! :)

  6. I have never come first in my life! Never! No regrets! I am not sure whether it is really important.
    But I always could appreciated true talent, skill, knowledge, hard work... put in by the first rankers! Great post this! Nice to know about your spirit of winning.

    1. Thanks Indrani :)
      I feel we are winners in life if we do our best even though the results don't declare us as the winner of the 1st prize!
      In School, I have secured the 1st position lesser number of times than the 2nd/3rd positions in Class & in Contests, I have won Consolation prizes more number of times than the top ones!
      I feel the 1st position is nice for enhancing our CV! :) And of course for all the attention & importance!
      But, it does come with its share of criticism too (as in my story!)!
      Well said! "True talent, skill, knowledge, hard work..." put in by all-rankers (& not just the 1st) must be appreciated.
      That will foster success, progress & excellence.

  7. A refreshing read early in the morning, Anita! How true, everyone is running behind the first, when second third and fourth is an equally good thing to have! There can be no better competition that competing with your own self and raising your bar each time you step forward to do something, only that and nothing else takes you higher! Your positivity is indeed striking, there is so much to learn, imbibe and get inspired from. Thank you so much for sharing! :)

    1. Thanks Arti for your kind words. :)
      True that we all are in the race, we have dreams to chase...
      Ekalavya managed to be the best by sincerely practicing archery just with Guru Drona's statue in front. If he could challenge and better himself to be the best, then so can we.
      May we realize our potential! All the best to us. :)

  8. Nice one. Though it is quite difficult to actually get over this race of 'place' supremacy. Even if you don't care (or think you don't) about ranks, the need for approval from people around makes you conscious of its importance to society at large. Did you notice that in your reply to Sreesha, you clarify that you have always stood among the top 3 in class? I don't mean this in a bad way but am just using this as an example to point out that it is extremely difficult to get out of years of conditioning. Perhaps our children will be able to accomplish that if as you say, they are not pressurized to perform. Amen.

    1. It depends on the individual actually. From such a young age if one happens to taste success by winning a major race and 'Best-All-Rounder' & Academic Awards, it spurs one to greater achievements. Success is its own motivation.
      But, it also subjects one to unfair remarks - 'She stood 1st because- teacher's pet/partiality/X was absent/Y was sick...' & people have other 'n' number of excuses & reasons to justify your 'fluke' win!!!
      (Strangely, when they win, it's only because they put in effort!)

      Apart from proving to the Society, one wants to prove to the self that - 'Yes, I am good enough & I have got & am capable of getting the top rank(s) by my own merit!' (& not thanks to the Teacher's generosity or patronage!)
      Also at stake is the coveted seat in the best College & a chance to win the Scholarship!
      Then, one tries harder, making lots of sacrifices (like Sreesha mentions).
      It's a vicious cycle.

      I sincerely followed my Papa's words- 'Study for knowledge & not for marks', yet found myself amongst the toppers in Class.
      But, I couldn't emulate either of my Gold-Medallist Parents as despite doing my best, I did not stand 1st in the University! They are proud of me all the same, never mind my Silver & Bronze Medals galore! :)
      I have shared my Papa's lesson with my kid. We can just do the best we can. The Results - Marks/Positions are never in our hands...
      But, even my kid knows that Percentage/Marks/Positions count when scholarships are at stake!

  9. Well yes, coming "FIRST" has always been a target in everybody's minds...not merely because of the fact that they are fame-crazy wannabe's but because FIRST has the letter "I" embedded in it. It all about YOU you stretch yourself, it's all about the intensity.
    But I always remember that FIRST is a F-word too :P ...Hence I don't really mind coming second!

    1. Absolutely, Sammya! Totally agree with you. :)
      Attaining success needs all what you have mentioned; but there's no guarantee of standing 1st even after following them all! But, one thing is for sure- by following them, we won't finish last!
      If FIRST is a F-word, then so is FAIL!
      I feel we don't FAIL if we fail to come 1st!
      We FAIL if we fail to learn, grow, better our performance & fulfill our potential... irrespective of the Position we land up with! :)

  10. Loving your blog Anita- the Versatile Blogger Award is coming your way:-) Keep blogging!

    1. Thanks a lot, Eli! Honored!
      Kindly grant me some more time to accept my Award! :)


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