An achievement I sometimes hide is that I won two medals for having topped a course on Shakespeare. I hide it because despite the medals, I can’t quite say that I know much about Shakespeare. It was a course where we studied about Shakespeare without studying texts.
The thing about Shakespeare is that he’s such a grand and mysterious character that there are so many things we are unsure about. With his multiple signatures and the fact that he even changed his name to Shakeshaft once, we really don’t know much about him.
Maybe that’s why I topped the course. Because writing about him uses imagination and knowledge in equal proportions.
I received a letter from my university inviting me for the convocation. None of my friends received a letter. I thought that was normal, considering I was the only one who had to make my way from across the country.
I went there, collected my orange robe and realised that the programme was going to be crazily long, so we all sat outside to catch up on one another’s lives.
“Varsha! Why didn’t you come in?”
“You got a medal! For the Shakespeare course!”
“Didn’t you get a letter?”
“I did, but it didn’t say anything about a medal!”
“But you get a letter only if you’re getting a medal!”
Now, who would tell me that?
And that is how it turned out that despite the fact that I went across the country for my convocation, I had to collect my medal unceremoniously from the safe, with the Head of my Department attesting that I was really Varsha Seshan.