“Tryst With Destiny”
When I was asked, months back to contribute something for Khiski Khopadi, I was frankly confused what to write about.
“Anything on a challenge you overcame in life”, I was told. After brooding over the theme for a long time, conquering emotional and personal apprehensions, I have finally come up with this,backed by a solemn promise of keeping my identity anonymous.When I think about hurdles I’ve had to overcome, they are so numerous that choosing one proved extremely difficult. Hence, I have decided to take a general approach.
Until the age of three, I grew up in my ancestral home with grandpa and grandma.Those were delightful days spent running among the rice fields all day with my cousins.When I was plucked from that tranquil environment to the fast city life of Delhi, it proved hard to adjust. Early school days were a real struggle owing to the fact that I was a chronic introvert and to my language issues (both English and Hindi). My mom helped me through every class. She was particular about academics and demanded good results. Although under stress, I persevered and topped my batch in Class X Boards. There was much joy and celebrations. Little did I know that adversity had its dark hand ready to strike down hard upon me.
Almost everyone in life has one person with whom you share every bliss and sorrow, from whom you draw comfort; the person to whom you run when in trouble. He or she may be a parent, a friend, a sibling or even a virtual friend (we can’t ignore social media). I found my soulmate in one of my brothers with whom I spent my childhood. As to why and how we came to be close, I really don’t know but it was a relationship separated by distance yet enviable to every sibling in the world. He was not just my big brother but a best friend. He scolded like Mom, loved like Dad, advised like a sister and fought like a brother (well he was one).
Perhaps you already have taken note of the past tense. I was getting ready for school when the news came. Dad was already packing his bags to leave for the funeral. ‘Can I go with Papa’? I asked Mom.
‘Don’t be silly now’, she replied. ‘Go to school’.
I didn’t protest. I didn’t cry much either. Maybe I wasn’t such an emotional person then.
Or maybe I knew how to barricade grief inside my heart. Today when I look back to that time, I think maybe I should have let my anguish forth. I should have wept and mourned freely. By shutting out feeling and exhausting resilience the very first time it was put to the test, I killed that ability of mine permanently.
Failure after failure followed. A dip in class performance and average results in Class XII. Mom wanted me to pursue Medicine and I let her down there too. Those were times of immense emotional struggles. I knew I lacked focus and determination. I had no plain idea what to do with myself.
In 2012, I joined college and the simple solution to all my problems came… no, not in one stroke of inspiration, but gradually through several months. FRIENDS! Yes, I made a bunch of amazing friends. Friends of every type. And I don’t just mean the ones I hang out with, but every familiar face that I saw at my college. Hell, I even got one who made me miss my brother a little less. I realized that it was all the antidote I’d needed in all those years of suffering. I discovered that my happiness was not only in getting to spend time with them but more so in being the reason behind their smiles. I somehow left my introvert self far behind. Without even me realizing, all those old wounds began healing.
Just when things were starting to get back on track, that evil force that had dominated my fate played another of its trump cards. I’d long since suffered from a minor disease that runs in Dad’s side of the family. Although no cure existed for it, the disease wasn’t serious. Nevertheless, it had to cause trouble in my case. A myriad of complications occurred. Extensive treatment followed: medicines, intravenous drugs, blood transfusions and even surgery. Caught in this turmoil of failing health and a load of other difficulties, I literally scrambled for survival. My pointer suffered, relationships came under strain and I watched on helplessly as door after door banged shut in my face. I drew into the cocoon that I’d spun for myself.
People would look at me and say, ‘Why, what’s happened to you?’ I long to pour my heart out to them but words echo about inside my head: “You’re a piteous sympathy seeker”. I moved away from them… from all those people with kind eyes and welcoming arms. I shunned social media, college, home, and now even my city. I left what was turning me into an awful weakling and went back to where I started.. Back to the peaceful and heavenly environment of my childhood. I’m not running away from my problems. It’s a last effort to regain the resilience that I lost long back. I realize that to achieve anything in life, one needs to win over one’s weaker self first.
Technically, I have not triumphed in my endeavor yet but I’m sure of being on the path to victory. This quest of reclaiming myself is so demanding that it comes with the risk of losing some of my past traits forever. Will I be able to become that cheerful talkative self again? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m simply going to hold fast to that almighty faith that has guided me through all obstacles in life and hope that when I do return a changed person, I will be able to retrieve all that I lost… that the sun would shine down upon me once again.