Tuesday, July 26, 2011

life comes full circle

The reason why this comes so late is simple:I could not figure out yet how to make the begining. Only the horror of realising that it may not amount to much and might as well be seen as bhoole-bhatke-yaad-aa-jane-waala-gratitude if I stretched it a day longer, was what finally made me start this piece now.

It was only an year ago that I had had to explain myself to every Tom, Dick and Harry, all Mr. and Miss Nobodies who were supposedly worried about my future. Learning about an 89.5% had been a big put-off and they were in a haze as to why Ihad chosen to go with a subject that has no future(yes, somebody had actually said so) in a city above a 1000 kilometers from my hometown (when I could have studied it very well in some good college in my state), instead of eengineering, which every out-of-school student in Odisha goes for, if he/she does not get a medical seat. 
And after coming here, people would be anxious about whether I was studying or not, about the number of study hours i put in everyday considering that psychology is a 'humanities' subject (for non-science people don't or don't have to study
before exams, supposedly). That I had come to Delhi not just for my graduation, but to prepare for the civl services as well was a face saver good enough but still there would be doubts as to whether i still studied or it was merely a plan for running away from any sort of 'serious' studies, after the disappointment of 11th and 12th.

Only one calender has changed from then and life seems to have levelled itself out.
I was in the train, on my way to Ma Vaishno Devi, when the results came out. without any access to internet. It was Bani who texted me that it was so. I immediately called her up and while her phone was ringing, I regretted why I was not carrying my copy of How to stop worrying and start living, my unflinching companion wherever I am. To know that I had topped was more of a relief than joy.

That I had missed the university top position by a whisker was a big blow but I did not let it show on my face. Papa still seemed to be muttering some prayer when i put down the phone(during all my result times, Papa has been mor nervous than me lol). I quickly calculated my % and my brother made a long face and a mocking expression at the 75.11% that was all there was to see. A kid of class 7th would definitely find such a % horrible, used as we are in school to the 89-90s. I only told him witha plain face that the university topper had secured 77.11%. 

I told this to Papa, that I had topped, with my characteristic indifference
and inexpression, pretending it was nothing more than what I had expected all this long. only I knew what was going on inside. Yes I had expected to top, all along but never knew how it would feel to finally have the monkey down my head. This year, at least till the half yearly results are out, i will not be asked the number of my study hours.
And the sweetest moments were when Papa, also with apparent indifference outside, but gr8 joy inside was telling everybody who called him up, for the next two days, that his daughter had topped her college. My mamma was also more relieved than happy, knowing that had I not topped, I would have broken down completely.

That I kew I would top in no way means that it was easy. Contrary to what I am used to say all the time, Psychology Honours is not easy. Otherwise we would see more names in the first division. I studied when everybody else was out enjoying their lives as fucchas(dats what we call the 1st yearies in DU). I studied when there was plenty of emotional turbulence and tough choices to make. I studied when all the charm of the world seemed to sorround me. And the credit for this Does NOT belong to me.

One person has been behind this all-my constant source of inspiration (though I am afraid that person does not know this :D).
I  knew that I am intelligent and ambitious but there had been people foolish enough to point fingers at me. Proving them wrong was what kept me going in the toughest of times. But my daily dose of inspiration, the inspiration to stretch myself, came from somewhere else.
I had an example of steely will power, right in front of me, with me, day in and day out for 7 months-my roommate Anu.

 Let me tell you Anu minus 5-6 kilo (please excuse me for this Anu) is a gr8 combo of beauty and brains. Looking at that pretty face and listening to her sugar candy talk might let you pass her off as just another sweet girl in the crowd. But, she is NOT so.
And it is her fiercely ambitious nature and immensely strong will power(much stronger than mine, I confess) to rise above all odds and pursue her dreams are what her stand apart from any other bindaas 19 year old.

Preparing to be a Chartered Accountant like her father and simultaneously pursuing B.Com Prgrm in college, for months at a stretch, she has worked harder than any of us. Juggling no less than two coaching classes in a day and attending lectures, as many as time permitted, in college as well (that the college hostel check-in time was 7 p.m. added to her woes, for night coaching was not an option) was no mean task, especially if it is during nov, dec, jan, feb in delhi, when he sun rises at 7 a.m. When every single girl of the hostel wiould be comfortable inside their room, under their blankets, soundly sleeping, Anu would take bath (and sometimes the geysers would not have been turned on by the workers who would be fast asleep), have the watchman open the gate, and walk, yes walk to the metro station(for there would be no rickshawalas at that devilish hour in the freezing winters. Between attending the other coaching after lunch, she would attend some of her college lectures as well. And I also remember how badly she used to miss her favourite lunch of kadhi-chawal on tuesdays due to a 3rd coaching that came up. My afternoon naps would invariably be longer than hers, however guilty or ashamed of myself I might feel. And at night as well, she would be awake till very late to complete her home assignments, leaving me to sleep before her-well, just could not help it :'(

Not that she had nothing else to demand her attention. she would take part in long conversation with her parents (for which sometimes I would get pissed off, badly) regarding her elder sister's eminent marriage. And her maturity in those sort of talks would blow me over- from the kind of gifts to the size of bouquets they should be taking on their first meeting with the would-be groom's family to egging on her ailing grandmother to take extra care of her health so that she becomes fit enough to be able to dance in her poti's marriage-she would have answers to every question and words of comfort for everyone.

A girl who never came down to the mess hall for the extremely rare(once in a term) movie nights we had, choosing instead to study (it is important to note here that we did not have any access to tv except for rangoli and chitrahaar) when the rest of the 200 odd are munching kurkure and enjoying movies one after another-has to be made of tougher substance. Even in the WC semi-final and final, she came down only when India started batting. 
During the fest season, every other girl would dress up and visit other colleges to partake in the fun,Anu would strictly go by her coaching schedule, never once missing a single class.

My classmates at times do ask me how I manage to stay away from all the 'good' stuff, how do I resist? Well, if one has a roommate like Anu, can one do any different?

Fate had other plans though. Both of us have left the college hostel, yet we are in different places this year. no more roommates. Not that it matters much, for we will make it a point to always stay in touch. The 1st treat I gave was to her in McD, 2 days back and that was when I promised that she would shortly be getting a gift from my side.
Here it is Anu. I hope you liked it. I salute your will power, your focus and your perseverance Anu. You will continue to inspire me for a long long time to come.