Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"IIT fails to get the best"-IIT dons

Sad. But not surprising. I know people who got way better ranks than I did who otherwise are nowhere near to this 'raw intelligence' sort of thing.
My heart knows deep inside I deserve that seat in IIT much more than many people who have been given preference over me. Probably this may seem like 'grapes are sour' sort of post, I do mean it when I say that the guys I sat down and studied with, who could not even understand, let alone crack the tricky questions if they were put to them for the first time, have got a much better rank than me, I must say I am forced to doubt the credibility of the JEE. The intelligent and really deserving students usually miss out because most of them cannot afford the coaching or perhaps they are not so good at practicing and mugging the paper pattern.
Had I come across this news an year earlier, I would have thought it was rubbish. But now when I know how much hardwork I did during my self study, how much in depth I went to know the topics, I am half-wishing that the format had never changed! I know if this year the paper had been the mains type, I would have definitely got a much better rank.
All in all, I now believe that the JEE is no absolute scale of judging intellect. Its just mastering the tricks of solving the paper. Thats it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

People will always flinch from approving something that is not well established. A path that everybody else is taking ought to be the best, perhaps the only path to success, just because it’s tried and tested and everybody is doing it. So many people can’t be wrong-that basic human logic. You dare to think out of the box and people shower you with all their apprehensions and warnings and more often than not- a simple gaping expression which almost compels you to look down upon your own self for trying to be different.

Yeah. It’s hard to survive all those sessions of counseling with myriad individuals, each one having his own distinctive approach to discourage you. But still you keep doing it. You do it until opinions cease to fit in your herded head where the previous opposing opinions are already in a state of war. One person will say this and the other will say exactly the opposite. “It’s your individuality that matters, not the institute from where you are. If you are good enough, you will always get what you deserve”. And “Institute name will secure your future. A runner placed few paces ahead of the others obviously has an advantage over the rest.” Read them both objectively and you see they both make sense. Those who got what they wanted believe in the latter and rest in the former. But it’s the worst for those who are stuck somewhere in the middle. Like me.

They tell you to run and grab that IIT tag like a hungry dog would snatch a piece of chicken. Just do it. Even if you are getting some geological engineering dual degree (5 year course) at IIT-Khadagpur, just do it for the heck of it. That’s logical. You’re gonna be an IITian and this way your friends and family and even distant acquaintances can boast about you for life.

Honestly speaking, there once was really a time when I did fancy that much coveted IIT tag myself, that reverence of being sort of looked up to, that feeling of apparently looking taller in a crowd and of course that very gaping expression that I now seem to abhor. Trust me, after a point, it doesn’t seem all that rosy as it did. It, in fact, gets to you.

So if its sheer stupidity to kick that IIT tag and take up NSIT COE just on the basis of a mindless ‘gut-feeling’ that I have got, for once, let me fuckin’ do it. Spare me all those know-it-alls who suggest me to change my mind time and again. So even if its a disasterous decision, just let me screw up my life, my style.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A withered memory...

Beneath the bookshelf I found

A diary with withered pages...

I faintly recollect ‘twas mine.

Didn’t open it since ages!

Torn letters, some lines of poetry

And a picture of someone dear.

And peeking through the lacerate pages;

Were rose petals; brown and sere.

Nascent love of a mindless heart

Who took you as his lover.

Amidst the rain and darkness of night

The pain I did discover.

Resting my head on the sill

I waited for thee, hours together

Now it all seems like a dream...

'Coz that’s all that I remember.

You came then, I think you did.

And said something that really hurt.

Can’t recall how it felt though

In shock for sure I did shiver.

I remember long ago I cried

Maybe about a lifetime ago.

And you took away my poetry I saw you go.

You say now, I had loved you

Via the love song that you sing

It all musta’been a dream I guess

‘Coz I don’t feel a thing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Struggle Story- Part II

When I called him up, he could make out from my voice that something was terribly wrong. The first thing he asked me was whether I had a breakup. Obviously not! I had learnt that part of lessons of life already and I wasn’t going to call anyone if, God forbid, I had to go through one, again. Then I said “you know I have dropped a year. That’s the problem.” And the first thing he said was “So what?” That did the trick. For the first time I was able to look at the whole thing with that ‘so what’ sorta feeling. It was different. It shrank the seemingly insurmountable Herculean task to the measure of a molehill. It felt good. I asked him about the details of what and how he studied when he was preparing for JEE. And all that he said after that is videotaped into my memory. I remember every word that he spoke after that. Sometimes it takes somebody else to make you see the obvious. After talking to him (45 minutes 33 seconds) I was like “ Oh my God! I already knew it. Had I really been this stupid not to see this?” He had advised me to leave Narayana and do self study and honestly speaking, deep down that’s exactly what I wanted too. This was the only point where I had failed to recognize my instincts- why I hated everything about Narayana. This was it. I had the realization. By then, it was November end. That day I was so happy, I just knew it that now everything is going to be great.I am going to make it because now my life is in my own hands. I went and bought Morrison n Boyd that day itself. I went to see Om Shanti Om and the dialogue “jab kisi cheez ko dil se chaho to poori kayanat usse tumhe milwane mein jut jati hai.” I felt it was made for me. I studied like crazy people for the following week and then went to give my phase 3 paper. I got 1st rank in Maths, 2nd in Physics and 3rd in Chemistry. Suddenly beating all those seemingly invincible guys of my class seemed like a cakewalk. This was a direct indication from God that I was on the right track. Now getting first rank in the institute felt nothing to me, I had to evolve and look beyond. I still had to overcome my fear of all India test series papers where the competition would be out in the open. I had got 2300 something rank in my first paper of AITS. I had to do something about it.

Throughout December and January, I overdid what I thought I would. I completed the course once by mid January and I was in awe! My AITS rank in January was miraculously 856. It was amazing. It isn’t a great rank but to me it meant a lot of progress. But I was still scared of giving papers. Everything can’t go great all the time. I was still AITS phobic. It happened once that I ran away from the institute when I went to give the paper. This chickening out made me extremely exasperated with myself that eventually it turned out it was the last time I was afraid of tests. I vowed I will not fear giving tests, even if I screw them all. Then I started arranging for tests even beyond Narayana and I went to VMC and paid them 1500 bucks just to get papers from them. They would courier me the whole test series and I used to give those tests at home, timing myself. I simply had to build up a good examination temperament because that was one thing I seriously lacked. My state of mind was very funny while giving paper. I could solve questions while practicing but while giving the paper I used to have a mental blackout. So throughout February my main focus was giving a lot of papers. My initial score was a meager 30 to 40%. But I knew it that I have to keep doing this at least to overcome my last fear. And I did. By the mid of March, giving papers was no big deal for me. I felt confident, I felt focused and above all I felt evolved. Now getting up at 6.30 am and sleeping at 11.30 pm was a regular routine. I had completely stopped visiting the net, or using my cell phone or watching TV or even communicating with people but it dint seem a big deal anymore. Even while I took breaks I wasn’t even tempted to open the TV or computer. All I did was go on the terrace and talk endlessly with myself. Within 3 weeks it was all going to be over and I was getting nostalgic. Just then I got a message from my sir that said my AIR this time was 127. I had tears in my eyes! Was my devotion, madness really giving results? It gave me that much needed last minute boost to my confidence. I was going to take on the JEE paper with ‘the strategy of a general and the daring of a skydiver’ the way I always planned and hoped to. I was really going to miss this phase of my life. I was going to miss talking to the birds and the plants, spending hours together with myself. I was now a new person. I was at peace with myself. Because I did what I wanted, the way I wanted and discovered many things about myself. Now I know that life is always a ‘do-it-yourself’ thing. I am not that kind of a person who will ever be content listening to others and following them blindly. I will take my decisions myself even if they prove to be disastrous. It was exactly the same reason why I could never remain in a place like Narayana. They used to tell me just to do the package and I would be through. It was funny. I was simply sick of depending upon them. No matter how many people tell me otherwise, I am always going to believe in the story of Eklavya- he who had no Guru to teach him, learnt things on his own all alone and became a much better ‘dhanurdhar’ than Arjun who had a Guru. I believe in that. I now do not care about what rank I get, all I know is that I have the capability to make my own life. I will get what I want from my life either with or without the IIT B.Tech degree. I have acquired the ability to rise from the ashes and make a life out of nothing. I am confident as ever to take on all the challenges that life throws at me and this time there is no such thing as fear to stop me.

By the way, picture abhi baaki hai mere dost……. ;-)

Struggle Story - Part I

“Life is an unusual teacher. It gives the test before it teaches the lesson.” I had read it somewhere a long time ago. But now I can actually understand how apt this aphorism is. Somewhere deep down I wish I had known these lessons since the start but I guess I was destined to learn them the hard way. However I have seriously no regrets, whatsoever.

Now when I look back I am surprised at the daring decisions I took; I never knew I could be so brave. I never knew the extent of my mental strength until a few months back. Like I didn’t take admission in any engineering college despite getting ranks everywhere(except IIT), I dropped out of the best college of DU and ended up as a dropper. There was no logic; just plain simple instinct. I have followed my instinct whenever I was confused about what to do next.Right now I have no clue how well it has worked but it has surely worked wonders for my self-worth. I have this great feeling of contentment for living my life my way, taking my own decisions and the even messing up things the way I wanted to. Not many people get the chance to do that and then curse others throughout their life for what their statte is because of others. I believe that I’m plain simple lucky. Another amazing thing about the past year is the fact that I have spent hours together, days together alone with myself, talking to the wall hangings, taking long walks on the ‘hawamahal’ terrace and discussing my plans with the sky, the birds and the plants. I was so much engrossed into myself that I had lost touch with the world and I guess it was a wonderful period of time to discover a new me. This was a period of complete isolation, and I knew it deep down that I will never get this chance again. I mean how many minutes in a day do you think about yourself and just you? In our busy life we need a cell phone or a TV or the computer all the time to be constantly in touch with the world. Even when we sit alone we think about other people and other things. I knew it that this was my only chance to find out what I am actually made of. This one year would either completely make or break my career. But now at the end of it I am a new evolved me and the whole journey is so priceless that I actually don’t bother about the outcome of it. The journey itself has given me so much that the end result cannot make much of a difference to my contentment and happiness (although it surely can prove to be the icing on the cake !).

I am not fooling anyone. Yes it was tough. At least initially I found it unbearable. Going to Narayana, sitting in the class, looking at the same faces, the journey in the van-‘hate’ is a very mild word; I simply abhorred it! I was prone to going into depression any moment by the time it was October. I was simply clueless where to go and what to do. I just wanted to run away from this life. But something inside me constantly told me- “You just cannot wimp out Manee! You have been a fighter and you always will be.” It was the question of my self respect in my own eyes. I just had to stick it out, and I’m glad I did.

The most difficult part was recognizing the problem. I just could not figure why exactly I am not able to perform the way I expect myself to. After the first phase got over at Narayana, I had got the 8th rank. My Maths sir said “good” to hear my rank, and I felt it like a slap on my face. To me it seemed that he considered it a big deal that I could manage to get that 8th rank. I hated the fact. I wanted the first rank and nothing lesser. I was disappointed but soon I forgot about it. After that I began my study with a renewed vigour coupled with anger over my earlier laid back attitude. But slowly I was drifting to sorrier ranks and it made me more frustrated to find that the more I studied, the worse rank I got. By then I was so frustrated that I had lost the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. It was November and I inwardly cursed myself for not listening to others and taking admission this year itself. I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. Until one day it struck me that I should call my friend Nitin and ask him about his drop year. It was my instinct that I should do this. Suddenly I had a surge of happiness and hope just by having this idea in my mind. That was the turning point.