I don’t know what it is. Is it because of the influence of people around me that I am in a different situation than others? It was all a bed of roses until now. I have given my ‘boards’, and here I am, worried about what career path I will choose.
I was a ‘focused’ student, unlike many around me. I spent nearly ten years of my school life studying harder than others, striving for the best grades. Competitive, most of the times, and a wee bit jealous too for a mark or two (and this is my first time admitting it). If I had realised what I was missing out on all these years, I would never have had the same history. Right now, as I am speaking to you, I’m also telling this to my younger self – I missed out on a lot. I missed out on people, on nature, on exploration, on eating, on thinking more, but most of all, I missed out on reading.
I remember what the libraries in all the three schools I went to looked like. There were huge stacks of books, librarians too, chairs, tables, windows, everything. What was missing in the picture was what was crucially needed – readers. This was the situation throughout the year, but it would change a month before the semester exams. The library would be jam-packed, like a gym is, after a New Year’s Eve. But nobody would take out books from the stacks; they came with their own to study — books that would get them grades. It is saddening to admit it now that I was one of them. Only if I had known about the treasure that lay between those covers, sometimes home to squashed dead spiders, lots of dust and treasure-hunt game slips that were hidden one day and lost forever.
Things changed one day when on one of my daily trips to the library (to read newspapers), I found that they had ordered some new books. I couldn’t help but gaze at those colourful and artistic covers. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” – first of the seven books of “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. I immediately borrowed the book and tried my best to read through it but I couldn’t, for I was totally out of habit. I’m thankful for at least having picked it up. Years later the enthusiasm would return.
I started reading again in mid-2016. From slowly moving from one paragraph to another, I was reading day and night, totally drowning in the books. It was surprising, even to me, that I could actually immerse myself in something as ‘boring’ as non-fiction literature. History and political science which were once a cause of sleeping-while-sitting in the classroom became my favourite subjects. I immediately knew I had found my path, if not my goal (yet).
Books don’t impose themselves on you. They don’t ask you to be a doctor, an engineer or a civil servant. They will let you explore avenues that you might not be able to do through another medium or place. You can have a taste of everything and then look back and decide what you loved the most.
Explore all you want. Never let those who surround you, influence you in a negative manner. You decide who you want to be. I had, until now, made the mistake of not doing so. I let others make the most important decisions of my life, and I cannot be more regretful.
For me, it isn’t that late now. I’m in class 12, and I still have to decide what I want to be, a doctor, continue with the ‘family occupation’ or become a journalist, which I want to. Against all odds, I think now, why wouldn’t I choose the latter?