“Study now, you can enjoy after 10th”.
“Study now, you can enjoy after 12th.”
“Study now, you can enjoy after getting into IIT.”
The above phrases were quite a regular part of my daily life for three whole years. Rare were the days when I didn’t hear one of them. Meal-times, at best, were pep talks on how I am destined to leave all my competitors behind, and, at worst, full-pronged lectures on how a 19/20 in a class test is a blot on my career. A charming life, really.
So you could imagine the compliments I received when I failed to get into IIT. The world had come crashing down, or so I was made to believe. No scope whatsoever for a bright future, no father would give his daughter’s hand in marriage (really?), no five-star hotel bills would I be able to pay. And all this despite later securing admission in the top engineering college under Mumbai University.
Engineering for me has always been a passion. True, the previous two years of slog had led me to flirt with the idea of taking up sports journalism as a career, but the last few months of the lead up towards the exams made me keep everything aside and focus only on my goal. A dream of making my own virtual reality and customizing my own anime was to be fulfilled and to fulfill it I wanted to do engineering. And so I took up Engineering in Computer Science at my present college.
The first day wasn’t as odd as it seemed, primarily due to the presence of a few familiar faces from my junior college. But the whole experience seemed weird, particularly after the Gurukul-like treatment I got from the classes that were supposed to prepare me for the Mains and Advanced and what not. For the first time in two years, I felt light. The load of prior expectations had fallen off my head. Here I was, finally among people whom I was at par with, neither ahead, nor below.
An old chapter finally came to a close. A new chapter finally dawned.
Making friends was pretty easy here. Owing to my superior knowledge of Mumbai University (thanks to my mom, a professor at another college), I could easily charm people with information that would make them in awe of me. But that was just a passing phase, and soon they began treating me as a normal guy, which in hindsight was better, given that I didn’t have to keep answering questions. Unlike other places, where people would still be hi-bye friends after a month or so, here, within a week we were calling each other with surnames, which historically speaking is an excellent sign of friendship. I had officially stepped into the best phase of my life.
Spending time after hours in college after every day, hangouts, mass bunks, shack meetings, quizzing. Not a single uneventful day was to be heard of. Our gang had made the college our own and seemed to spend more time there than at home. For a bunch of first-years, we were surprisingly courageous, but I guess I should be pleased about that. Exams and submissions took a bit of our time, but workshops and other things more than made up for all the tortures we faced at the hands of the college. We had arrived in this college to achieve and achieve we will; make no mistake.
Devoid of air for two years, I was finally breathing. I had been caged, but now I was finally free.
Currently, the third semester is where I am. Five more semesters to go. Things will keep getting hectic, but the chin’s up. There will be times when frustration takes over, but I’ll fight it out. Not gonna give up. Not gonna back down!