A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
Chickens and Ducks. Created by Melchior d' Hondecoeter. Circa 1680.

Some people just know. Yeah, some people seem to know things effortlessly. Of course, it would be unfair to them to discount their efforts and put it all on them getting lucky. But, I’m amazed by the abilities of people around me and honestly admire their presence.

I went out on a paced walk sometime back, and as “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic was blasting through my ears, I realized that there are people who just know things. This essay is dedicated to them. It also acts as a reflection memo for myself so that I can introspect on past decisions and hopefully take better calls in the future to prevent my friends from preparing a “decision tree of wrong choices.”

Some people just know how to reduce the numbers to the right of the decimal on Excel using just a few keystrokes. Sure, a quick Google Search would make you an expert in that, but some people just know it seemingly effortlessly. They navigate through those ugly cells of the Excel Sheets as if that’s their backyard. Right, right, then up, and down, left and left. Yeah, back to the cell where they started, but it does seem effortless, and they just know it! They “Goal Seek” as if they were born to do it. Don’t even get me started on how they smoothly use a single $ or multiple $s.

Some people just know how to walk without skipping alternate tiles and get from point A to B. I’m always careful about stepping on the correct tiles, sometimes linear, sometimes zig-zag but alternate nonetheless. As if stepping on two adjacent tiles would trigger an event where the tiles under my feet would collapse, pulling me into the Earth.

Some people just know whom to fall in love with and stay with them. I remember the story of how mom and dad met. My dad was walking through the paddy fields in the Northern part of Tripura, where he came across my mom, and they decided to fall in love, and get married, defying societal norms. How does one do that? I could ask my dad, but I also know he’s my dad. There is always the risk of him launching slippers at me. A cousin got married to someone he met in 12th grade. They just knew they would get married like so many people. It all seems so effortless. How do people even meet other people in 12th grade?

Some people look at Zoom rectangles and decide to date them, and surprisingly it all goes well for them. I wonder if it is the sign of the times. It’s wild, to be honest. Most modern webcams are not even 720p in terms of video quality. Add to that the internet bandwidth, and you get a hardly-480p rectangle of a beautiful person. What baffles me is that they just decide, “Woah! They are awesome. Date? Bam!” Oh, the rectangles! They’re just ugly. Zoom video rectangles had sharp corners until a recent update. Rounded corners look better than sharp corners, but that doesn’t matter at all! People Zoom-rectangling is the most 2022 thing ever.

Some people look at integrals and know what the exact area under the curve (whatever that means) would be, down to the exact fraction of a pi! I always wonder how people do it. Sure, $(a + b)^2 = a^2 + b^2 + 2ab$, but how do some people just know that: $\int_{0}^{\frac{\pi}{2}} \arccos \left(\frac{\cos x}{1+2 \cos x}\right) d x=\frac{5 \pi^{2}}{24}.$

Some people know they would go to an IIT, then do an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, and make it big in life. While still others dreamt of IIMA and are currently rolling or have rolled on the pristine green grass of LKP. It’s baffling how some people know to set the AC to the perfect temperature. Not 25 or 23, but 24 degrees and have a great time in their rooms. A few people I know started preparing for JEE Advanced by the time they turned 14, then went to an old IIT and are currently pursuing their Ph.D. in the US. How did they know it? I don’t really know.

Some people just know whom to be friends with. You know the kind of friends I’m talking about. No, not the toxic ones. I’m talking about those awesome lifelong friends to whom you can vent out about anything, and they just hear you out patiently. The best part is they don’t snitch you out after that. Yeah, some people just know where to find such friends.

Are you “some people?” You amazing child-of-two-humans! What can I say? I’m not one of those people.

Let's be friends

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