Intuitive Mind, A Friend or Foe


Intuition is a strange feeling. It has a way of predicting outcome of events that has not actually happened. Inspite of best preparation, on occasions we feel things are not going to go well. At other times we feel an air of cool confidence. I do not know. Is this intuition or gut feeling? Is this true feeling, how can I separate false signal from the right one?
Like most students of Pharmaceutical Sciences, I also dreaded mathematics. As luck would have it, calculus and statistics was a compulsory paper in first year undergraduate course of Pharmacy. The year I appeared in my examination, mathematics paper was particularly tough. Many students claimed that they would not make it to next grade without appearing in the mathematics exam again. On top of that, I had on my own had managed to do poorly in a few additional examinations. On one particular Saturday morning many of us gathered in our college to glean some information about potential outcome of first year examination. Some enterprising student announced that based on his reliable information only eight students out a total of thirty had passed, and all the rest have to appear in retest in one subject or more.
I returned home despondent. Although I anticipated such an outcome may happen, but reality was beginning to sink in. What am I to say to my parents? Especially so knowing how much difficulty they are bearing for my education. What will our friends, relatives and neighbors say? I had no answer. I was thinking all these dire consequences and listening to cricket commentary of a match being played between India and England. Like my predicament, Indian team was also not doing very well. In the swinging condition of England, English bowlers were tormenting Indian batsmen. Suddenly something happened. A voice inside me announced that even if a single student passes in the first year exam, that will be me. I do not know where this came from. But it was very soothing and peaceful. For rest of the weekend, worry of examination result did not bother me. Monday morning, I was walking from nearest bus stand to my college with a friend. We were talking sports. Once we reached  college gate, my friend came out and announced “you have passed”. It was true that year many students had to undertake mathematics examination again. Some students had to take examinations for other subjects as well. Strangely, I had passed, albeit, borderline in atleast one subject. That could have gone either way. I had no way of knowing this before hand. But for the inner voice in my head. What should I call it, my intuition or gods gift?
I have had similar experiences several times in my life. I was looking for a good graduate school after my post graduate degree in India. A good school means that gives you fellowship, yet does not insist on GRE score. My friends had applied to scores of schools in US. I went for only one school, I was pretty certain that I shall be there. The school was University of British Columbia. Somehow, I had a feeling, this is the school for me. I was rejected in my first attempt. However, six months later, University came back stating they had funding to support me.
Midway through my PhD research, one evening I was sitting at the common room. One scientist described how Adirondack mountains change their color in fall. Adirondacks are close to Ottawa. I had a feeling I shall be there. Lo and behold, I got an opportunity to work at the University of Ottawa.
Before cricket match with Australia, during Steve Waugh, Glenn McGrath era, many a times before a match had actually a started, I could sense Indian team has already lost. If you look back now, in those times India had lost many crucial matches to Australia. Is this my inferiority complex, my lack of faith in Indian team or exaggerated belief in Australian superiority? On the other hand, I was pretty certain in my mind that Indian team was going to win T20 world cup and Champions trophy. While India seem to be playing well in Champions trophy, T20 world cup was no way to predict. First, India was playing for the first time. It was sporting a new team, new caption and in a tough group.
I cannot explain these experiences. May be these are just co-incidences. But I keep looking for signals before major events. Many a time I get omen of impending failure. Such times are difficult and testing. One has to keep on trying without giving up, but in the back of your mind there is a feeling something amiss At times in my over eagerness to turn a situation in my favor, I misread signals. However, a true signal one can never miss. It gives a confidence, calmness and a faith that nothing can go wrong. It is upto us how we use such experiences. I consider it to be a friend.

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