By Anshu Bala:
“TWO THREE TWO ZERO FIVE FOUR ZERO SIX” I shut my eyes tightly; pressing my palm hard against my sister’s who sat beside me, entering my roll number through the keyboard. For a moment, the world seemed to have paused… Yes, my world had actually paused for that moment. I could hear nothing other than my heart beating at its greatest pace. I had not felt so, never ever before. I could see the entire of my past two years in front of me and the outcome of it was just about to be declared. The stillness of the scenario was interrupted when my sister shook me by my hand, pointing her finger towards the monitor’s screen and left the room without a word.Â Well, there’s always a difference between what we want and what we actually get. So often are we led into situations which we had never thought of being in. Who knew I would be prone to one such the very next moment! I glanced at the screen which read “NITIKA MISHRA, AIR: 37140”. I stood there still, staring at the screen of monitor. “Is it all over? Can’t it just be some mistake?” I asked myself and checked it again but it read the same, as if determined not to change!
It was a fine Sunday morning; one like those of late spring, when the year seems like a beautiful young maiden ornamented with a large number of bright colours throughout; and the dainty sheen of grass and leaves is turning to a deeper green.
It was an important day for me. Everyone in the family was busy, making preparations for the great enterprise I was heading towards. An evening before, my results of the entrance test of ‘Bansal Classes’ were out and I was being sent to Kota, which then seemed to be a great place to my parents and their friends, as they believed it would lead me to one of the most renowned institutions of the nation, the IITs.
Well, to myself, I was only an innocent school girl; I knew hardly anything about Kota and barely realized the importance of the IITs. My world was different. I was happy and content with what I had and who I was. I was confident and ‘impossible’ was something which I thought was not meant to be understood by me. Failures – I didn’t know what they were. I’d seen my older cousins getting tense about their career sometimes, but then those are “grown up people”, I used to think. So, at this point, I could not understand the need for sending me so far just for a stupid ‘IIT’. Was it that important?
I didn’t want to go. Clearing up the things scattered in my room, I made a small place for myself in a corner and sat there, gazing at everyone. While I was pondering over, I felt a warm touch on my back which suddenly derailed my train of thought. My dad was standing behind me. “Papa, do I really have to go?” I asked, expecting to hear a ‘no’ even then. At times, even the most affectionate and important people in our lives do not seem to care and this is when we feel as if the ‘coming into this world alone and going out of this world alone’ fact comes into effect! He sat beside me, wiped off my tears and held me close to his heart. He didn’t say anything but I could see it in his eyes. I accepted it. I left for Kota that evening with my dad.
After two days of travel, I’d arrived at a place my destiny had brought me to, overpowering my desires. I breathed in the air, inhaling the dust particles that came with it. The place was terribly hot, the heat being radiated by the warm earth. Well, this was going to be my dwelling place for the next two years and I had to get accustomed to all that it gave me, whether I liked it or not.
Gradually, I realized that I was not at a loss as I thought. It was a place where people came with dreams and left the place fulfilling them. It could change lives and that faith was what it was built upon. Above all, I understood the relevance of engineers, the value of IITians. The place taught me how it felt living alone, catering to the vital needs of life and facing the world, all on my own. I learnt how to implement the values that my parents had been telling me about all this while, choosing between the right and the wrong, as there was no one to check me or to guide me… All I was with was my own self. It had a great environment for studies and the students there were no less than me in calibre; so many of them being better than me. I started loving the place for what it was and realized that the place, itself had so much for me to learn from — some many things that only experience could teach me.
Two years passed and after having appeared for a series of examinations, along with the Board Examinations of Class Twelve, the time had come for the results to be declared. The day arrived as any other day and passed by me as swiftly, bringing me no good news. I was not selected in the IIT-JEE. That drove a wave of terror in me. But I still had faith. With a half-broken heart, I was awaiting the results of AIEEE to be declared.
Finally, that day arrived too. I kept gazing at the screen. My last ray of hope was also gone. It was not easy to undergo the happenings inside myself. I was losing myself. For an instant, everything seemed to have come to an end. Tears seemed to flow without a pause. I was shattered. I lay down on my bed covering my face. What would I answer to my dad? What kind of example was I going to put forward to my younger siblings? And at the end of all, what did I get out of this, or did I really lose everything? I kept lying there with several unanswered questions occupying my mind. Was it that my destiny had overruled my wishes again?
I heard footsteps approaching my room. I got up all of a sudden, recomposing myself, wiping off my tears. It was my mom. She sat beside me, holding my hand. Looking at her, I burst into tears again. “I failed, mamma. I failed…” I cried out. Those words were really painful, as they pierced through my own ears. I lay down on her lap and fell asleep.
That day I learnt another thing, ‘Life has its own way for everything. We do not get things as per our wish but as per our need. And maybe life is at its best in deciding that!’ I had seen how phases change, and how life fluctuates between Success and Failure. A new chapter of my life was going to begin. In the war between desires and destiny, one would win and the other would lose, but none could take away what I’d learnt in the process. At the end, it was not a failure, but a new phase of challenges I was to come across and yes, I was seasoned enough to face them. It would be foolish to say that I was no more afraid of failures, but this experience surely taught me that they were as important a part of life as Success was.
“Don’t see what others do, because you are different.
Don’t follow others’ path, but carve your own.
Don’t just follow them, but learn to lead them.
Don’t lose yourself in them; let them find themselves in you.
Don’t just let it off, but play your part well.
Let the world know your existence.
Let the world cherish your dreams.
Let the world honour your name.
Let the world owe you what you deserve.”