Lost

That was my first flight as well as my first international flight. I was traveling with my friends whom I found, or they found me through Facebook as we were admitted to the same university. I had been in a flight once during my childhood, in 90’s maybe. It was during my family trip to Nepal, my first foreign trip 😉 My Dad wanted us to experience the airplane journey. It was 30 min flight from Kathmandu to Janakpur. It was a big deal in those day. I used to tell my friends about it with pride and ‘over’ exaggeration. I have nebulous memories of that journey. My flight to US took off. I gathered my shit together and tried to act cool. During the flight, all of a sudden, the plane started trembling. I had never heard about turbulence until then. Also, that was the first time I had tried wine, because my friend had told me to do so. So, during the flight itself, I had learned two things: firstly, that the flight trembles because of air turbulence and secondly, the crew member had asked me, what kind of wine will you have Sir, to which I responded by looking at a friend “How many types of wine do you have?” from which I learned that there were 2 types of wine. I was scared during for the first few hours of flight, until I was asleep.

After a couple of layovers and adventurous flights, we finally reached our destination. The next day we got our apartment. Everything seemed alien to me. I was astonished to see the clean, lonely roads and un-encroached, vacant walkways. There was a gentle breeze with a bright sun, shining right overhead; I knew I was in the ‘Sunshine State’. It was a different feeling altogether. We went to Walmart for grocery shopping and that was one of the biggest stores I had ever seen until then. It had everything. Like everything! From grocery, hardware to guns. I was overwhelmed. Everything was in US dollars. I am not sure it was just me or with everyone, that I used to convert everything into Indian Rupees before buying and then make a decision.

For first few months I spent only on 2 basic human needs, food and shelter. I was introduced to new life skills like cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc. But, I was more focused on getting an on-campus job so as to take care of daily expenses, I didn’t want to ask for money to dad. I had registered for classes already. With few references and interviews, I got a job as a part-time security guard for dorms. It was a night job from 10 PM to 4 in the morning. Classes had already started. Some of my classes used to be around 8 in the morning. With an extensive coursework and odd job time, it was all a game of time management, which I sucked at. The last public transit used to be at 2 in the morning, so while coming back home I had to ride my bicycle home. It used to be around 20-30 mins ride. The roads used to be dark and scary. I used to reach home somehow. During winter it was worse when frost starts collecting on your gloves and face. We had a dog. Her name was Merriam. She used to be the only one who used to welcome me. I cannot forget the way she used to look at me. Sitting in the porch and watch me park my bicycle. Those looks used to make me happy. Love is what makes you smile when you are tired, irrespective of where it is coming from. I miss her.

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Managing studies, part-time job, a sinking long-distance relationship and finding a balance between them was a tricky task. I would say more stressful than tricky. It was harmful to take any of them for granted. The course pattern, exams, pointer system everything seemed like a puzzle. Last minute studies were not sufficient. One of the course was tangent to me. I felt like I was lacking something. I felt like I didn’t belong here. I had no one near me whom I could have opened up to. I didn’t do very well in that semester. Life was miserable. I knew it was going to be difficult. But not that difficult! I used to keep telling myself that I was not here for this. I had to motivate myself. I used to go for lonely long walks thinking of what and why it went wrong. My grades were everything for me then, after all I was here for studying. I knew they were not important when it comes for job search. But, it certainly helps. I knew I will need all sorts of help then.

Next semester started. I was a bit more careful and diligent while selecting my courses and my part-time job shifts. At the same time keeping the relationship alive was another monkey on my back. Everything was going pretty much according to plan. But I was wrong. She broke up with me. It is never a good time to break up. But that was the worst fucking time. All those years we had spent together were in front of me. I questioned every single moment. I may sound weak, but I was not prepared for that, I was shattered. I was at my lowest point in my life. I was not able to accept it. ‘I used to walk in the rain so that no one could see my tears’ – type situation :p My playlist was full of sad songs. My roommates had to participate in that as well for no reason. I tried every possible thing I could do to get us back on track. After several unfruitful attempts, it was just me.

I had two choices. One was either keep crying about what had happened and drown, and other was to get good grades and look out for future. The other was clearly my choice. I was looking at the bigger picture. I was here to achieve something. It used to hurt but I stayed strong. I did well in that semester. I made new friends. I started socializing and hanging out with different people. Learned new things which I am not proud of ;). It helped me a lot just getting over the breakup. Not fully, but partially. The thing that helped me the most was putting ‘myself’ first before any situation. I was not being selfish but more of watching out for myself. I had started accepting it. The way I started looking at it was like whatever it was, it was good. Just pick the best from it and continue. The most difficult thing to get away with is the attachment, the habit. There forms a hole, a void in your emotional space. You can easily fill up the hole by picking up new hobbies, learning new things, whatever that will keep you busy. You also have to understand that not everyone is same as you are. Everyone has reasons for their actions. They have their own thoughts, their own plans. Respect them. Keeping grudges will bring nothing. Be forgiving. Be humble. But be smart. Be hopeful.

After the surviving skills I learned through my journey in US, technical skills seem like a bonus. The experience has been fantastic. There is no bigger joy than finding yourself. I hope you find yourself. I would like to end on my first try on a Hindi one-liner.

“Hum itne niche chale gaye the ki…upar aaneka maja aagaya”

Peace.

P.S.: Pasand aaye toh daad jaroor dena. ☺

 

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Want

It is unending, isn’t it? Right from the time we were relaxing inside our mother’s comfortable womb, until today, we have been always wanting something. Furthermore, something is never just enough. And this is one of the reasons for making the so-called “Journey” of our life so interesting.

I got trapped in this endless saga of wanting as well. During my undergrad, one afternoon I was sitting in the canteen. I was waiting for my friends’ lectures to get over. It was one of those moments when you get tired of waiting for someone and you just start thinking of something random. Though this time, it wasn’t random. “What do I even want after graduation?” Was the thought that just ran through my mind while I was waiting. And the moment you start thinking something productive, of real importance, your friends will show up. But I saved that thought for next time.

In India, engineering is like a prerequisite course for registering your dreams. As parent’s say, do whatever you want, but you will have to complete engineering first. I have seen engineers making it big in the fields not related to engineering. To a certain extent, Indian parent’s may be right, as it ensures you a job after graduation. It may not be the best job, but it is a job that will pay the bills for a decent living. But forcing your child into any field for status quo can have negative impacts on the child. It gets difficult and stressful to generate interest particularly when they have other goals. Luckily my parents didn’t force me into it. I hold myself responsible for signing up for it. There are different fields that need to be explored and appreciated. Nowadays whenever I meet a person who is not an engineer, I start respecting them automatically. It is just that you get to hear something different, something new. But that afternoon, when I came home, I was still stuck in the enigma.

I started inducing this thought into my friends’ mind. We started looking for options. The best advisors are your seniors. Some of the suggestions were to get a job through campus placement, getting a higher degree in the same field in India or outside, getting an MBA, prep for Public sector entrance exams. I was not very keen on getting a job, as I knew that it would be just enough to make a living. I strongly believe that we are responsible for our destiny. And I didn’t want to settle for just enough. I was more inclined towards getting an advanced degree or public-sector unit job. During my primary school, I was a part of our school’s National Cadet Corps (NCC), Air Force unit for 2 years. Every Sunday we used to train for it. I had developed an interest in Armed Forces then. I like the discipline involved in it. I wanted to pursue it after my engineering as well. Indian Air Forces conduct entrance exam under the SSB (Staff Selection Board) for Air Force officers. I was eligible for it. I appeared for the exam and cleared it in my first attempt. The real struggle was to crack the five- day rigorous interview or screening process. In my first attempt, I was screened out on the very first day. I did make it through the first day on my second attempt. In one of those 5 days, they conduct a physical round. You have to clear about 20 different obstacles wherein each obstacle is assigned individual points based on difficulty level and everyone has a certain time to do it. The goal is to get maximum points. I didn’t have any sort of professional training for it. I managed to clear about 10. I was so desperate for this job that I even jumped from a platform, which was 3-floors high, onto a rope to climb down without even giving a second thought because that obstacle had maximum points. I got blisters on my hand but that was worth it. I was not able to crack the interview in that attempt. But, in the meanwhile I kept looking for other career paths as well.

During the same time, it was also the season of college festivals. Most of the college was working on something, so as to get some extra-curricular activities on their resume. Others, they don’t care. They study and also gets the jobs first. I was amongst the one who wanted to impress the recruiters with my extracurricular activities. Also, the fact that I had nothing else to show. But in the hustle bustle of organizing and coordinating events, I came across one of the sponsor’s ad. This sponsor runs a counseling firm for students who wanted to pursue education abroad. It had pictures of students who got higher degrees and were employed in world’s some of the most renowned companies. There were pictures of people standing in front of world-famous universities, Headquarters of Google, Facebook, Ford and many more. I was impressed but more than that I was inspired. I was not very familiar with how to get there and what needs to be done. With little research and some guidance from my seniors and friends, I got some directions. I prepared a list of pros and cons in my head and I constantly used to think about it. I talked with my parents about it and initially, their reactions were okay, we will decide after the test scores, give it a try. I joined the consulting firm. I started prepping for GRE and TOEFL exams. With my broken English, it almost seemed like an impossible task. Even my English tutor gave up on me by saying “Aditya whatever you think is the right answer, please tick on the exactly opposite option”. It hurt, but I had a crush on her so it was alright 😉 But, I started reading English novels, newspaper, watched TV series, movies and prep stuff from the internet. Coming from a middle-class family, the biggest hurdle I could see was Money. But that was also the biggest motivation for me.

Very early in my life, I had realized the importance of money. It is always good to have more money. It eases your life. I personally don’t feel anything wrong in chasing money until and unless you are not stealing. Rather than calling it money, it is more of a reward. And, the only and the easiest way I could see to earn money was to get an advanced degree and that should help me get a well-paid job. Sounded like it was doable. During my prep, I had just one thing in my mind that I wanted to do it. My test scores were decent enough. My sister helped me a lot financially during the applications with the hefty application fees. Chasing professors and convincing them for recommendations required some advanced level marketing skills. Some of the professors gave me the “were you in this college?” look. I managed to get recommendations from them anyway. After all, it was a question of one’s future 😉 But the wait for admits was a test of patience in itself. Every morning, the first thing I used to do was to check for emails in every folder.

Finally, the wait was over, and the decisions started coming in. Some of my applications were accepted. I compared them based on my interests, coursework and tuition fees. Things started to move forward pretty fast. My Dad had retired from his job in the same year. Mom being a housewife, truly the fixed income was almost shut. That made things worse financially. In such times, it is very natural for him to make decisions cautiously. So, he used to keep inquiring from his friends and also some family members regarding my interest in going abroad for studying. It was also the first time in my entire family that someone was actually pursuing the thought of going abroad for studying. There is always a good chance of having some negative minds around. ‘How can you send your only son so far from you?’ ‘How one of their friend’s son went abroad for masters and never got a job!’ Were some of the ridiculous thoughts that were floating around. I understood the probability of it happening very well. He used to tell me those stories and that used to irritate me. I just wanted him to believe in me. I wanted to have that opportunity to prove myself. Mom, as always was very supportive. There used to be many loud arguments on this subject between me, mom and dad. It wasn’t a pleasant situation at all. No doubt it was going to be difficult, but I wanted to take the risk. Among the few novels I have read during that period, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was one of them. It has made an impression on my life. I was glad that I read it during that time. One of my favorite lines from the book says “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I didn’t want money to stop the show for me. I wanted to be like the alchemist, who can just make wonders with whatever he had. I gathered information regarding education loan and tried to convince him and that gave him some confidence. We applied for an education loan and our only home was a collateral for it. That was another mountain ahead of me. Got that figured out and there was a rigorous process for visa application. I traveled to Mumbai for getting my visa.

I think the process itself prepares you mentally for what you are signing up for. In few months I was about to leave. I had really difficult conversations with my then-girlfriend. She wasn’t really happy with me going abroad but, I had a very clear picture of what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. I don’t consider myself apathetic but being practical solves a lot of problems. The most important thing that helped me during that period was being realistic. I think it helps you make better decisions as it lets you think about the possibilities.

All my friends and most of the family had come to visit me at the railway station. My flight to the US was from Mumbai. I could feel the mixed emotions. I hugged it out with my friends and took blessings from my elders. I could see the worry on dad’s face, anxiousness in my mom’s eyes. I notice the tears rolling down my ex-girlfriend’s face as the train started to leave. I realized that it was not going to be an easy journey for me thereafter. I was not sure if I was making a good decision by putting them in such situations. My mind was filled with second thoughts about this whole situation. It was like entering the tunnel of worries with rays of happiness at the end. I gathered myself and remembered why started at the first. It even motivated me further so as to make all this suffering worth it. We reached Mumbai Airport and it was time for a final goodbye to my parents and the Motherland. I could still feel those moments, I could still feel those emotions when I think of it. I wanted to hug my dad. I and my dad had never had a friendly conversation. He is like a typical Indian strict father. As every-time, I took his blessing by touching his feet. I saved the hug for some other time.

It was time for my flight and final few calls. I knew I was on an adventure, looking for treasure!

The Not-so-Perfect Relationship

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”– Orson Welles

The next day I woke up to one of the busiest mornings. I even used my sisters’ fairness cream. Not that my sisters needed it. I did not iron my shirt because it was winter. So, a jacket on the top helps with it. It was one of those mornings you look forward to. I took my moped, with my shades put on, I drove it like a Super-motorbike to college. It could have made a typical Bollywood romantic film shot. It was the happy-high of the initial stages. It is like the first beer you have. Cheers!

Everything around you seems to be beautiful and mellow. You may as well start appreciating the beauty of a freaking atom! You feel good about the changes happening in your life. You start exploring more about your partner. At the same time, you start paying much more attention towards yourself. Your pocket money is now invested in buying deodorants and perfumes rather than in computer games. One of the pillars of a sound relationship is these small sacrifices. You attempt every single possible thing to impress your partner. As time passes by, you two get your favorite places to eat and meet. And in India, these places are kept the most secluded from families. At least during our time, it used to be like this, around 8 years ago. But I would suppose that our society is now open to relationships at a young age. There is an intimacy that is constantly developing. There is something magical, something heavenly, something special about the first kiss. You let them become a part of your memorable moments. Also, intimacy helps to strengthen the relationship to a great extent. But the most important ingredient in the love recipe is trust. It is like ‘Sriracha sauce’ of love, put it in and it will become better. Well, sometimes you might get into small fights and disagreements but they are cute. Yes! they are cute but, sometimes. These differences also help you know the person better. It also shapes your relationship in a certain way. A bewitching part of the relationship is that you open yourself to conversations and actions that were not comfortable to you before. There are this positive energy and good vibes around “unforced” relationship. Love can make you do wonderful things. You also try to overcome your ego. You fall in love with their imperfections like they don’t exist. Either of you is filling in for each other’s shortcomings. Well, I think this the time when you are two beer down! Love gets you like alcohol does. It gives you freedom of speech or rather, freedom of expression. You overcome your inhibitions. But, love can leave you in the same situations as alcohol would. So, drink responsibly. 

You are under the influence of hormones. But be sure that you are not missing on other important things in life as well. It is okay to miss your lectures sometimes to spend some time together during the college hours. Anyway, you are not going to remember the lectures, so it is better to create some memories. But, you may notice that your grades may be under the influence of hormones as well.  Please refer to the below real-life stats that I was a part of. The great depression between the 1st year’s grades and final semester is where you are in “Deep love”. 

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I don’t want to blame it on the relationship but it was more personal. I just didn’t study properly. But who cares about the grades anyway! Knowledge is more important. But I didn’t gain that either! So, the point is that you should try to control the things which can be controlled easily by being sensible. Do not get overthrown by the joy. Of course, there would be fights before the exams, because you didn’t wish ‘All the best’ to her. Not everyone is as lucky as I was. You will always have time to make it up to him or her. Set your priorities. And remember to reset your priorities after your exams.

Relationships are like roses. You have to nurture them. The flower looks so exquisite but, that beauty, that elegance is dependent on how it is grown. It depends on how you water the plant, fertilize it, cutting, where you grow it and many other factors. To put all this energy into growing it, you need to make sure that you are growing the right type of rose, the one you like. Because you don’t want to spend your time in something you do not like at all. It is the same with a relationship. You always know what you want in a person. The thing with love relationship is that you never know why you loved that person and why the other person loved you, maybe, it could be just that you are like the one they imagined. Nevertheless, you sow the seeds. You water it and wait for it to grow. You put your energy into it. The plant grows through different ups and downs in all sorts of weather. But it thrives, nourishes and flourish as a full-grown plant only because it was fed at the right time with the right amount of nutrition which resulted in strengthening the roots. The stronger the roots and foundation of love are, the greater the chances of it are to go through the ups and downs of a relationship. If the base of relationship is weak by itself, it is never going to be an everlasting one. Also, you cannot force the plant to grow. It takes its own time and its own pace. You can only hold the stem at certain spots to enjoy the aromatic smell of the rose because it has developed thorns as well. During the relationship as well you would find certain things, those are sensitive, that one of you won’t like. Try to respect those preferences by not touching them. Know where to stop. There is no bigger joy than enjoying the smile on your partner’s face. Don’t put the rose to grow in a certain way. Give it its space. Don’t tie it with a shackle to make sure it will stand upright or don’t worry about the climbers or the creeper that want to encroach it.  If it’s leaning, let it lean. There are going to be insecurities that the rose plant may get hurt or the climbers may start growing on it. You may have experienced the same in relationships as well. These insecurities are good. But don’t let them overcome the fine line between the adorable insecurities and irritating, clingy partner.  Possessiveness is endearing but over-possessiveness is demeaning. Talk about it, let them know about it. Most of the problems in this world can be solved by mere communication. On the other hand, have good listening habits as well. Hear them out, and come up with a solution that will work for both. Don’t forget about the other flowers in the garden of life. Don’t forget about your friends. They will make your garden look better. Seek their advice. You won’t get the best but you will know for yourself what you want to do. Just like you don’t want the rose to lose its petals and fade away, similarly keep the same spark alive in your relationship as well. But at the same time don’t force it. It causes even more damage.

Don’t engage yourself in a worthless relationship. It would just add a shitload of bullshit in your life. Just remember that not everyone is compatible with everyone, and you can sense it in the first few talks that you might have with that person. I came across one such quote which I would like to share and is one of my favorites which says “Unless its mad, passionate, extraordinary love, its waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life; Love shouldn’t be one of them”.

I would never say that I was in a perfect relationship but it has been one of the happiest and evolving phases of my life. It developed me into a person that I am today. Good or bad? I am not sure. But I certainly like myself. It taught me things that I would have never known without it. It instilled values in me. I won’t hesitate to say that it made me a better person than I was before. After all, nothing is perfect in this world, and so, are our relationships. But in the constant attempts to achieve infinity, prevails the interests of betterment and the curiosity in humans.

 

 

Peace.

Foreplay

 “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”

It is not what you are thinking about. It is what happened in the junior year. It was the first day of the Engineering college. I knew few of the people in my class through my coaching classes. Not all of them were a “Failure” though. We had a uniform. That was the worst punishment anyone could be facing. Even the guard on the gate used to have a better uniform than the students. With a tiny will to study we started towards our degree. In the meanwhile, our teenage hormones were proactive. We started checking out girls. It has been a national past time over centuries in colleges. This was the first time in my entire life that I poked out my head out of books and was looking at the real world. It was great. It was different. It was during the break time on that day, I was walking with one of my friend in the corridor. This one girl was walking in the opposite direction. Short, fair skin, brown eyes, a face with little worry and her silky hair, she caught my attention. I told my friend how beautiful she was.

During the first year, all the students irrespective of their majors had to have common courses. So, all the students were divided into different sections of classes. I didn’t see her in my class. That was kind of disappointing. So, the only time I could see her was during the break. I used to get glimpses of her once in a while. I don’t know if she ever noticed me during that time. Probably not! I was and still an average looking person. With a tan on my brown skin from all the sports during the vacation and my body, a bag of bones, I could hardly catch anybody’s attention. And yeah that uniform made it worse! Life was difficult!

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Weeks passed by. I did find her name after a little research. Also, found that her BFF was in my class. For students with issues caused due to college bus timings and who pulled vehicles our college was allowing them to change their sections. I suddenly saw her sitting in our class after the break on one such day. I was happy. I had not spoken to her, never heard her voice. I don’t know why, but her presence made the difference. Lectures were interesting thereafter. Our college sent an attendance report via mail for parents. My sister was shocked to see 95% attendance and almost disowned me at that moment.

It was strange how things were falling into place. We were in the same practical lab batch. Over the period, we started interacting. I used to do my homework early so that I could answer her doubts. I was unlike myself. Although I didn’t have a cell phone, I gave her my mom’s contact in case she needed any help with assignments ;). We started chatting through SMS. I could only send 10 messages with the plan that my mom had. With few more friends from the lab, we became a group. I knew it was a start of an exciting journey.

We all started hanging out. Our chatting sessions were even longer. During exams, we used to have boys’ night out for studying. Yes, we all know how that works. I still remember those senseless but evergreen conversations we had. Texting friend’s crush from his cell phone, making pranks, that sometimes went wrong: used to be highlights of our night outs. I enjoyed it thoroughly. We were bonding. We were a group that did actually exist beyond WhatsApp or Facebook. We started bunking classes and used to sit under a tree or in the canteen for no reason. But I used to love it. My attendance dropped to 50%. Yes, achievement unlocked!

During the workshops, I used to purposefully find a seat next to her. It was reciprocating. Our conversations never ended. Flirting became an added skill set. Months passed by. Nights were longer and days shorter. It was during winter on one such cold evening, I was laying on the bed and chatting. She told me that she loved me. I immediately ran to see myself in the mirror. I couldn’t believe it. Everything came to a standstill. I could hear the clock ticking. I was smiling constantly. But decided not to answer right away. I asked her to meet me the other day.

In those few months, I lived some of the most beautiful moments in my life. This phase, wherein you get to know the person, and they get to know you, makes it very special. We also try to make conversations, try to impress each other and take extra efforts to make each other feel special. You can feel the tenderness of newly born love.

Little did I know that it was the end of foreplay…

 

fin.

Failure

Before I started to write about it, out of curiosity I just googled “Failure”. Some of the people who know me closely would think I googled it just because I didn’t know its meaning. It says that it is lack of success or the omission of expected or required action. Which is true, I 100 percent agree to it. But is it really? May be literally but when it comes to associating the tag to an individual it means the very first step towards self- evaluation, the very first step towards gathering the lost within and the very first step towards success. I would say that failure is a part of success rather than lack of success.

Everyone has tasted failure in some or the other way. Everyone have their own goal. For example, some students may have a goal just to clear the exam and be contented and others are not contented with 99%. The important thing that defines you is how well you handle that failure. Scoring high in exams have never been what I used to look for. However, my mother used to encourage me to score good marks and be among the toppers. During school days, I used to look forward to the result’s day for each unit test or exam. Our school always used to have those results and parent teachers meeting on Saturday mornings. We used to get those starting lecture periods as off and that allowed us to be on the playground and play football. My elder sister used to tell me stories of successful people who used to be average at scoring but they did well in their lives. I used to be happy if I got good marks but that is not what I used to look for. So even if I was not able to score it wasn’t a failure for me. Failure for me at that time used to be not winning a prize in drawing contest, losing a sports game, not able to lead the troops due to lack of leadership skills. I used to work hard for winning these contests and sports competition.

I cleared my 10th grade with flying colors. It made my family happy, especially mom. I was also admitted to one of the best colleges in my city for the 11th and 12th grade. Everything was on right track. Not everything though, because I was very naïve and shy when it came to interacting with girls. So, I consider that as a failure too on my part as it was a sheer lack of confidence. During that time jobs in engineering had spiked up. Engineering was no more a degree it had become a fad. So, to follow the trend opting for vocational courses during 12th grade was an easy option. It helped to prepare for the entrance exams along with the board exams. That time also saw an increase in the awareness of engineering colleges among youths. Some of the passionate science lovers wanted to go for esteemed institutes like IITs and some just wanted to go for engineering. Also, the most important thing we Indians are good at is finding easy ways to make money. Getting a degree, working for an MNC and making money is no big a deal for us. That is the easiest way to secure your life financially. Making money through your passion involves a lot of hard work which pays off but no, we are lazy.

During my 11th and 12th grade I used to go coaching for my preparation of JEE and AIEEE exams. Most of the portion of the state board used to get covered in that. I was admitted to the AIEEE batch and I wanted to focus on that exam. During the coaching, we used to have exams and tests every week. Our progress, strength, and weakness were tracked using those test scores. I used to be good in Mathematics and Physics because I used to find it interesting. I spent most of the time studying and practicing applications of the concepts. Chemistry was boring and I never developed an interest in it. I always used to score low in chemistry. And this situation prevailed until the finals. I did work on chemistry but it was not enough. The D-day came, I wrote my exam for JEE and AIEEE. I was not satisfied by my answers; I was not confident. You get this feeling of screwing up sometimes, I got that after the exam. All the efforts that I had put in were in vain. I was not able to get in the highly ranked institutions. I was sad. My family was not happy. They did support me during that time. That was the only time I have cried after my exam. It felt bad. And this was the moment when I got the taste of failure. It was bitter.

My parents had promised me a motorbike if I get into a NIT or IIT. Instead of a promise, it was more of a motivation. After I had failed their promise, I was fine with whatever vehicle I was going to get. I never asked for anything after it. From childhood, I always dreamed of taking my mom to places on a motorbike. All those dreams were shattered. Negativity tried to creep in. The only thing that kept me going was myself.

I managed to get into an average engineering school, but that was not what I had dreamed of. I was embarrassed to step into the engineering college I was admitted in. I was broken from inside and nothing was good enough for me. But I knew that it was not an end of everything. There is life beyond that and maybe it will be beautiful. There was hope. I was always taught to keep fighting whatsoever. I knew efforts never go waste. Those concepts that I had learned during those 2 years are still helping me through. The most important thing of all is the realization of it. When I look back to it, I feel that my efforts were less somewhere. I did fall short of some more practice, some for clarity in the concepts. Because if you are not doing it, someone else is doing it for sure. We live in a very competitive world where everybody has similar aims.

Failure should never hold us back. It should be like oxygen to start the fire. The one thing I didn’t do was to speak it out. I urge people nowadays to speak what you feel about whatever is going wrong in life to someone you are comfortable with. They may not give you a solution but you may find it yourself. Football helped me through this situation too. Sports makes your mind fresh. It develops your fighting spirit and spits out the frustration. Just remember there is no shortcut to success. One last thing I would say is “Just believe in yourself and just fucking MAKE IT HAPPEN!!”

Peace.

The Transition of the Millennium

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward

About the previous post, I am grateful that it inspired most of you. And I would appreciate even more feedback coming my way for this post as well. As in the engineering terms, we call it a closed loop. The better the feedback, the better the results.

As a human being, I consider myself lucky enough because I witnessed the change of millennium while stepping into the 20th century. This transition also saw the advancement in the science and technology and saw the degradation of the environment. Time is the most powerful thing. It has the power to heal and the power to aggravate. We human beings are amazing at adapting. Some of the species on earth faced extinction while some over-populated. We never pay attention to these changes. But if we look back in time, we can see that the changes were inevitable and evident.

The major mode of communication until late 90’s was mail or telegraph. Telephone calls were very expensive. I remember people using neighbor’s telephone or the local grocery or daily needs shop to make emergency calls. Owning a private telephone line was a privilege. The rapid growth of technology has changed the way we communicate today. Computers were only seen in the schools and offices. Floppy discs and CD’s were used to store and transfer data. Computers later started becoming powerful and affordable. Free movement of people witnessed a significant increase in numbers within and across the nation.

When I was schooling, I used to play for at least five hours of outdoor games. I have played every single game from marbles to flying and chasing kites and from kho-kho to football. In summer when I used to return home after four hours of cricket, I used to get so tanned that even my mother had problems recognizing me at times. I remember playing cricket matches with the team in the neighboring colony and the winner would keep the “stumper” ball. Breaking the window glasses and fleeing the spot or act as if nothing happened – were some essential traits. From changing and making rules from gully to gully for playing cricket to fighting and cheating for your wicket- have made amazing memories. We didn’t have any cell phones or handy camera to capture those moments. But they are still as fresh as photographs in our mind. Even light outs used to be fun. We used to play hide and seek, chit chat with friends for several hours standing outside and waiting for the electricity to resume.

I never had cable TV until I started my undergrad. So, we only received 2 TV channels: Doordarshan or I call it “Dukhdarshan” and DD Metro. The cartoon programs were only telecasted for an hour or two. And the quality of those cartoon characters and the plot used to be so interesting and wonderful that it never used to bore me. Even, cartoons these days have become dull and are not funny anymore.

People only communicate via the internet which is a smart and fast way but it has its own pros and cons. It has reduced face to face communication. We are getting addicted to our cell phones. The world is on the verge of becoming a slave to technology. I have concerns for our generations to come. During my teenage, I used to visit my friend and we used to talk for hours on different topics. Friends were not just friends, they were family. Nowadays, kids are so engrossed in computers, tablets, and phones, that I fear if they would ever make friends or have time for them. Loneliness rate among individual would rise.

So, instead of becoming slaves to our technology let us make the best out of it. We shall try to preach the best purpose for using the technology to our next generations. Have them set free for few hours and interact face to face with each other. Let them play on the streets, be mischievous. There is no need to be extra cautious if they are playing on the ground and falling, and falling twice. Let them be bold and have some bruises on the skin. Let them experience the harshness of the sun and the sweetness of sugarcane juice. Just don’t let them have the only childhood memory of playing subway surfer.

Peace!

The Upbringing

“They attempt to train and mend your genes and brain so that you are self-sufficient to face the world, the real world. And by ‘They’, I refer to parents, friends, teachers, the place and the person himself.”

Hi again,

Thank you for your feedback on my last post. I really appreciate it. In this blog, I would like to share about my upbringing and how it helped me in the course of time.

                 I was born in the early 90’s. I spent my childhood in a small house on the outskirts of Nagpur city. My family consists of my Mother, Father, and 3 sisters. I was regarded as the blessed child during that time as my parents and my relatives were of the thinking that girls are a burden to the family. But a lot of this has changed over the period. The orthodox thinking has found its way out of our family. So, we were already a big Indian middle-class family at the time I was born. As far as I remember, we used to live in a 1 room tenement which had the kitchen and washroom in the same room. But later we managed to buy the neighbors tenement and expanded to ‘comfortable’ 2 room ‘home’.

               I am sure my childhood was great with my sisters and parents around me. I have vague memories of that house, and it feels good to visit that place. I was admitted to the local nursery school so that I could get the primary education. My mother had always supported and preached the importance of education. My father on the other side was not so motivated about educating us. So there had been many altercations between my parents when it came to such decisions. I and my sisters used to sit in a corner, frightened when this use to happen.  My father, possibly, used to look at it from a financial standpoint as he was the only earning person in the house. My sisters and I are well aware of the sacrifices our parents have made for us. My mother attempted to support him but she also had to look after four kids and the house. Mother is the best teacher you can have in your life. I remember her teaching me how to spell different words in English and punish me, correct me when I was wrong. I wish she could still slap me every time I use wrong English; trust me she will do it if needed. But the roots of that type of learning still exists in me. I have always wanted to be correct to the point. This has helped me throughout my life. There is no ‘it was close to correct’ for me. This applies in personal and professional life too. It has helped me be a better person today.

               The 2 room home helped our family bond together by sharing problems and living closely with each other. It taught us to live with nothing. The fundamental lesson of my upbringing is not to hurt others while we attempt to do something for ourselves or for others. I was then admitted to a convent school. It was mother’s dream to give her children the best education they could. At that time, it was difficult for my parents to pay a sum of 5000 rupees as a donation to the school. My parents had conflicting views about this. But somehow they agreed and made that money available. I regard those 12 years from kindergarten to 10th grade as the best time of my life. I made good friends and shared every single thing right from punishments to homework. And we all had a healthy competition too. That helped me keep myself feel challenged all the time. And in today’s world being competitive is regarded one of the most important traits. I used to do pretty well in my academics but had an inclination towards extra-curricular activities. I used to represent the school in Kho-Kho tournaments. I also used to represent the school in drawing competitions and have won over a hundred competitions overall. So as a kid and a son I surprisingly turned out to be good for my parents. Not excellent, though!

              Our schools were far away from our 2 room house. So for our convenience, my father bought a new 2bhk flat near our schools. He took loans from the bank to pay 2 lac rupees. That was a huge amount for him. But still, he managed somehow. Growing up in 90’s I had the same wish of having a video game as every other child. Once I asked for it. The demand was rejected like girls reject me, without even a little consideration. As a child, I was not adamant at all. Actually, I and my sisters were not allowed to be stubborn. The main reason being, it is not a good habit. I thank my parents for giving it to me. I sometimes used to get a beating from my mother because of my misbehavior. But now, when I see my nephews I get jealous of them as their parents are so easy on them. If they ask for mobile phones they get it with ease. I got my first cellphone during my undergrad. The new generation has started from a very modernized era. I understand that. But I am still against the ease of getting things for them. Make it little difficult for them to get things. The more the ease the more the abuse of it. I urge to the new parents or soon to be, to make sure that you start instilling these small but very important values in your child. Preach them the joy of sharing, the evils of selfishness and the kindness of forgiving.  And also a little beating for wrong things and strictness would never hurt. Not every child will be disobeying.  But just from what I have felt about me, I think that those beating and scolding for stubbornness and acts of indiscipline were worth it.

                I was always taught to be forgiving. But at the same time never absorb any wrong thing done to you. Always fight and ask for it. I was taught to be expressive and never to leave any gray areas or any unknowns for people to decode. Because: different people, different logic, and different results. During my 9th grade, I lost 0.5 marks for incorrect fill in the blank answer. My mom took me to the concerned teacher and asked her why the question was asked from digest and not from the book. My mom never encouraged me to read digest or any sort of studying aide out of the preferred book. She always wanted me to be thorough with my books. The teacher had to give that 0.5 marks to me. My mom always wins such debates. As uncaring as I was for my marks, she proved the point to fight for the right things. But I never chased numbers on my exam papers. I never complained about the totaling mistake on answer papers. I always had one thing in my mind that I have learned something and that was the reward for me.

                 My parents still live in the 2 BHK flat, where everyone in the neighborhood knows who visits and leave everyone’s house. They could have even bought a bigger house but they didn’t, just for their children. And this is something very important to me. The smile on their faces defines success to me. Whenever I visit India, the house reminds me to be grounded and aim high. And all these values, these teachings from parents, teachers, bits of advice from friends play a major role in your life. They help you to guide your thinking process. They help make your decisions. They help you take the risk and believe in yourselves. I believe everyone has their own exciting stories about their upbringing, so please cherish those moments and pass on the torch of your learnings through it to the next generation.

Thanks,

Born-wise