Safarnama zindagi ka – Vidheya kumariJuly 30, 2016
So, I somehow am starting to write a story, one that as you say, should inspire people. Well I ain’t sure if it will, but still, I give a small excerpt from my life that happened about 5 years ago. God, it just seems like yesterday, when I had passed out from school, and as clueless as one can be, was heading to a completely new phase of my life.
I was a science student, studying in one of the reputed schools of Hazaribag, which is my hometown. I take a moment to talk about hazaribag here. It is a small, sweet little town in Jharkhand, that was quite famous during the British Raj. The weather of the place is just amazing and the beauty, amidst the hills and the greenery is such that one will instantly fall in love.
So hailing from such a place, a science student does not have much option after passing school than to opt for engineering. And I was completely against the idea of taking that as a career option. Instead, I wanted to study literature. I wanted to write, learn about writers and poets and their inspirations for writing pieces that had the power to change one’s life. I came to Delhi and filled up the forms in Delhi University for the same. I gave the entrance and went to almost all colleges seeking admission in English, but somehow it seemed that the stars were against my wish and I ended up having nothing but disappointment in my hands. To go back wasn’t an option for me so I took geography instead and enrolled myself in Kamala Nehru College, KNC as we call it.
It was a very confusing time for me as I had just left my home and came to this new city with a lot of anticipations. Also, during the first few days of my college, I just could not figure out what I had opted for and where I would go with it. And me being an over thinking, over worrying creature, was totally messed up.
I distinctly remember during the initial introductory days, that every professor would ask all of us why we had chosen geography. There were girls who had studied geography in high school and scored as high as 95, and their love for the subject was directly proportional to their marks. There were some with proud aspirations of cracking civil services which was their reason of coming to the department. And amongst all of them, I was one, whose reply to everything was “I don’t know”. There were few like me, but they weren’t as stressed as I was. The first month passed, with freshers, orientations, knowing others and the new born charm of college that kept me occupied. But, as soon as there was a confrontation with reality, I started to freak out. I would sit for hours to complete my assignments- different air pressures that encircled the land and sea, types of rocks- igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, formation of the mighty Himalayas, cartography, but I just couldn’t understand what I was giving my time to. I would see others and issue books from the library, knowing deep inside that I will never comprehend what is written in it. Rather, my mind would sub consciously go to the novels and literature section. Even my parents used to be perturbed in the beginning thinking if they made a mistake suggesting me to go for geography. Some 6-7 months passed like this, in a state of disturbance wherein I became doubtful of my capabilities and thinking if I could ever accomplish anything in life. Every day would be just as hard to spend. During this time, I gave my examinations and God only knows how I managed to study for them. Academically I had always been strong, so I scored decent marks, but this didn’t change my attitude. I neither liked talking about the subjects, or answering anyone who asked me my purpose of studying it. Everyday I would tell myself that it’s not that bad, maybe I can, too, prepare for civil service exams, or turn into an academician, just like my parents. But this was not me. Had Imtiaz Ali made Tamasha earlier, the song “Tu koi aur hai” would have become the story of my life (:p)
However, it never occurred to me in all these months that I should give up. There was a scope for me to change my stream after completing a semester, but I didn’t consider that. Instead I tried. Tried to follow the subject. My father used to tell me that no discipline was bad, and I had learnt in school that geography, was denoted as “The mother of all disciplines”. So I started reading the same topics, same assignments – air pressures encircling the land and sea, types of rocks- igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, formation of the mighty Himalayas, cartography over and over again and to my surprise, I began liking them. I read about physical geography, climatology, ocean currents and simultaneously, my sub conscious mind started developing relationships with the topics and finding similarities between geography and literature. One thing led to another and made me believe that there is no such thing our earth cannot incorporate in itself. Every word of literature and every theory has come out as a result of the earth being so patient to accommodate the changes within. I started writing- poems, prose, stories, even skits that would convey my immense love and connection with the earth. And then, there was no looking back. I joined the environment club of my college, Green Beans, which brought me even more closer to nature than I would have ever thought. I would actively participate in the campaigns and projects of the club, and eventually I ended up being the editor of the annual newsletter that the club published. My poems that I wrote as a symbolic gesture towards the earth, got published and the skits that I wrote, were performed in other colleges. Even though I would miss English sometimes, I was more than happy with what I had learnt so far.
There were times when I would find one or the other topic difficult to follow but that didn’t hinder the place that the subject had made in my life, for which a big credit went to the extremely helpful and simply amazing lot of faculty that I found in KNC. The three years that I studied geography not only helped me gain knowledge but also modify my life, only for the better. Today it’s been a long time since all that fuss, but I can confidently say that the it totally changed my life and approach towards leading it. And compared to my schoolmates who did engineering, I turned out just fine.
Sometimes in life there comes a point where we start questioning ourselves and everything around us, but we just gotta have a little patience. Things turn out well in the end and everyone finds their paths. Be it a frequently travelled one or less (as Robert Frost says in his poem), the choice becomes ours. And when the choice becomes ours, it empowers us. We shouldn’t be afraid of the hard times, because when they leave, they leave us stronger than ever.
Even though I wanted to learn literature, studying geography for three years made me fall in love with it and became an integral part of my life and will stay with me as long as I am alive. My way of life today is infact an amalgamation of geography and literature.
I think sometimes wrong doors(or what appears to be wrong) can lead us to better places, if not right. We should hang on to them. I know I did. And I am glad that I did.