So I didn’t know what I want to write about in today’s post. I was reading pending texts for hours and then I realized that I’m procrastinating, again. But I’ve given myself a deadline so I thought, why not write about how and why I got into IIM? Have I been able to achieve that yet? Or am I any closer? Someone asked me this question a few days back during one of the WhatsApp time-pass challenges. So here it is.
Like most of the things that I have done, (be it starting my studies, travelling alone or starting swimming) I wrote CAT because everyone thought that I couldn’t do it. I did it to show them that I can. Some very reputed uncle came to have a talk with me. Because my father was not able to convince me to join a sarkaari post office job and he wanted someone influential to put some sense in me. And it gave me a solid reason to finally take out the study materials that were lying packed for more than a year, and start studying for CAT. I was unclear about what I want to do and that ‘TED talk’ worked, though, in a completely different direction than they wanted.
When I got an interview call from every IIM, which I wasn’t expecting, it was time to get serious about it. I did numerous HR questions, wrote many drafts of SoPs, and introspected the whole time. Why not continue with journalism? Why MBA? So many whats and whys! Why do I want this? Because everyone thought that I cannot have it? It was not a valid reason. I was feeling bad to even think like that. Without actual purpose. Studying in IIM because everyone thought that I cannot! No! I didn’t want that! I started looking for reasons. Better reasons. I needed something that makes sense.
But why am I telling you all this now? All this unnecessary stuff? Because now I realize that it wasn’t just about going against the world. I was able to think of some good reasons, which I wasn’t really sure about, but made sense to me. Let me quote what I wrote in one of the SoPs.
“Without rising to a position of influence and without the support that networking can enable, my vision will just be on paper.”
I terribly failed with the networking part. But have I reached a position of influence? Certainly, yes! Let me quote a few comments that I’ve got recently.
“Because when amazing people like you speak, we’re bound to listen.”
“Seriously it helps a lot… Personally, you’ve done a big favour to me”
This is coming from just two posts. Just think about all the persons with disability who’ve come to me inquiring about CAT or swimming. Their whole life, they’ve been told that they cannot do anything, just like me. If nothing, I’m giving them the hope that they can do it too! They can dare to dream! Even I came forward and dared to do all this because I saw someone, with almost the same disability as me, doing wonders!! I was sure that even if I don’t do anything, I’ll give people hope. I don’t know if it makes sense.
There were many other reasons. I explicitly wrote that money is also a major reason why I want to come to IIM Bangalore. And I don’t have any problem with writing that. It was true. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about you. I want to talk about the moment you felt pity or disgusted on seeing someone on a wheelchair. Or maybe I want to talk about the day when you started looking at your phone or something else to distract yourself from looking at that person crawling on the road because they couldn’t afford a wheelchair. But then you look at someone well dressed on a decent wheelchair and you go like “wow you’re so handsome”.
All you can do is pity. And share how bad you feel. I am not very different. But when someone in an influential position speaks, people do listen to them. Even when they throw crap at their followers. If you can do nothing, speak. Become aware, make people aware. Make sure your workplace is accessible even if there are zero colleagues with disability. Next time, make a ramp instead of stairs in front of your house. If you’re working in a school/university, make it accessible and tell everyone why it is important. Make sure you write to the police to remove the unnecessary road breakers in small-town muhallas. Because they don’t listen to a “divyaang”. They are humiliated there too. I’ll share that story in the next few posts, maybe. But do something! Your pity is not taking anyone anywhere. And your pity is not something these disabled people want from you.