On Being a Geek

I’ve always been a “topper types”. I started topping class when I was in first standard (and no, they didn’t announce ranks before that), and as if that wasn’t enough, my parents made sure that all relatives, and all teachers in school knew about my superhuman arithmetic skills. And as if even this wasn’t enough, I became the first guy in my class to wear spectacles. In a few years’ time, I went on to represent my school in supposedly intellectual pursuits such as quizzing and chess. I had been consigned to living life as a geek.

There were several occasions when I wasn’t really the topper; wasn’t even close to being a topper. However, something or the other ensured that I managed to maintain that geeky aura. In school, and at IIMB, I was supposed to be really good at math, and that made me geeky. Things were differnet at IIT – since a number of my classmates who trumped me in acads were also better than me at other geeky things. However, I think the fact that I was studying CompSci made me feel geeky, and I never lost any opportunity to show off my geekiness.

In this context, the last two years were quire awkward, as I was in a couple of non-geeky jobs. For the first time in almost twenty years, I had to go out of my way to demonstrate my geekiness, and given that those jobs didn’t need me to be a geek, things didn’t go quite well. I used to try and shove in lines into my conversation such as “we used to play chess in the classroom at IIT. since we couldn’t carry in chessboards, we used to imagine a board and play on that”.

It was very awkward. Thinking back, maybe that was one of the major contributing reasons to my not being too happy in the jobs. I wasn’t able to play my natural game. I had to invent a new me that would go to work daily. And it wasn’t just about the geekiness factor, but this was one of the important reasons, I believe.

Now, working as a strategy guy in a quant hedge fund, I feel I have every right to be geeky, and am well and truly back in form. I lose no opportunity to crack geeky jokes. I try to bring in analogies from various geeky fields I’ve been acquainted with – math, computer science, finance, and even physics. And I don’t mind making things complicated just so that I can slip in that geeky analogy that I think is “beautiful” and “elegant”.

Two days back, i was talking to Baada on the phone, and I smelt an opportunity to crack a geeky joke. We were discussing football while watching Liverpool play Chelski. And then suddenly I asked him if he knew the concept of inversion in geometry. When he replied in the negative, I spetn the next ten minutes explaining the concept to him, all so that I could slip in that one little geeky joke.

Beware of me, I would say.

5 thoughts on “On Being a Geek”

  1. Hahaha. I liked this post.

    Although I wouldn’t say “geek” was part of our collective consciousness at aurobindo. At least in our batch. “Brains” or “Class topper” was more like it. Geek entailed that you didn’t have a happening life. But when we were in school we were all the simple south bangalore kids who carried lunch basket-banana-napkin and went for tuition, played badminton on the road. So that discrimination of “geek vs happening” wasn’t there. Plus we were not american kids, so we took time to grow up to such concepts. And we all grew up together.

    I can understand if you became conscious of being “geeky” once you left school. The other factor being that you turned 16.

    1. ok i was talking about “geek” as being equivalent to “brains” or whatever. i didn’t talk about social life at all. i was talking only about intellectual life 🙂

      and yes, we were all nice jayanagar kids so we didn’t really care about happeningness. most of us didn’t.

      i became conscious of being geeky after SAMS because I started hanging out hajaar with other geeks. and started having intellectual conversations

    1. i mentioned that the farther the place from where he takes a shot, the better the chance that Alonso will score.

      Baada said that Nistelrooij is ulta, and the probability of his striking increases the closer he is to the goal. we also agreed that alonso can’t score from inside the D and Nistelrooij from outside.

      so i said that if you invert the football field with the D as the inverting circle, then alonso will become nistelrooij and vice versa

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