I tried to commit suicide, but was able to save myself.
I studied in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), and completed my intermediate levels proficiently (both in the 10th and 12th standards). After the 12th standard, when many of my friends went to Kota to prepare for the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE), I lay at home because my family wasn’t financially sound enough to fund my studies. On coming to know of this, one of my friend’s father commented that till now my father could ‘afford free education’ for my sake – but now it would be seen whether he would be able to finance my studies any further. He was jealous of my father, as I used to perform better than his son, academically.
That remark really hurt me to the core. I just asked my father to enrol me in some local coaching institute. My father borrowed some money, and I started my preparations for the JEE.
During the initial days, I was a top performer, and every teacher had high expectations from me. I still remember when my mom visited me to give me some money. She didn’t buy medicines, so that she would be able to give me the extra money. I came, and my mom started crying because I had become too thin and lean. However, I just took the money and went back, leaving my mom crying – not because I didn’t care about her, but because I could not bear to see her crying!
After around five months, my scores plummeted drastically. By now, my teachers had also lost faith in me, and would pass comments to the effect that JEE is not for students like me. Instead, I was advised to opt for the Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) examinations.
Once, I became so mentally exhausted, that I went to the top floor and tried to jump off it. I stopped myself, however, and suddenly, I realised that I was the only hope of my aged parents.
During the first half of the JEE, I started vomiting, which was followed by a severe headache – that cost me 45 minutes. In the second half, however, I recovered and performed well. In fact, I expected a score of around 240. I also sat for the All India Engineering Entrance Examinations (AIEEE), but the paper was leaked, and hence, the exam got rescheduled. I didn’t sit for it again. Neither did I apply for UPTU. Instead, I sat for the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Admission Test (ISAT).
Despite my expectations, I could not meet the required cutoff in the JEE, and did not secure a good rank.
However, I did secure a high rank (654) in the ISAT, and one of the teachers, who used to tease me, called me up to inform me. I curtly informed the teacher that I was already aware of this, and disconnected the call.
Fast forward to the present: I am now a scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).