A group of youngsters was split into five teams, and the teams were given unique names. Each day, one team would be quiz masters, quizzing the rest of us. I did not expect to know any of the answers anyway, there were many spectacularly bright others in my team. So I just sat there, listening. More like not listening, and dreaming.
All of a sudden, the words ‘Tachyons’ and ‘George Sudarshan’ burst into my conscience. One of them was the question posed by the quiz master and the other, as I knew so well, was the knee-jerk response from my brain.
I jumped up from reverie and looked around at the others. Not a single hand was raised. Everyone was looking at one another.
What should I have done? Raised my hand and uttered the magic answer that no one else knew. The perfect path to instant stardom. It would have altered many things that day if I had found my tongue. But in true filmy comedy style, my heart beating the hell out of me, I sat numb, my tongue frozen, my hands tied to my side, wondering if I had heard the question right, if my answer was wrong, if someone would laugh at me.
A few seconds passed, the question went unanswered, the quizmaster moved on to the next, and my moment of glory died before it was born. But my heart continued to beat the living daylights out of me for the next few hours, at my missed chance…
… and for the next twenty years or so, whenever the scene returned to mind, I would raise my hand, rise and whisper the magic words before the eyes of the admiring audience, as I should have done that day.
Read up on George Sudarshan here. I had heard of him, thanks to my Science enthusiast father.