I traveled back in time to that period when my life was in jeopardy. Since i have seen the future, i wanted to help my younger self choose a better alternative. I could see him from the window ; studying under table lamp at 2 am in the morning, eyes tired but determined to solve some math assignment. This was a routine for me.
Welcome to India; and the life of a 16 year old IIT aspirant. For those folks who don’t know IIT, it is a prestigious institute known to produce “World Class” Engineers that India is so popular for. Preparing for IIT starts at 6th grade when the actual entrance exam is only after 12th grade (6 years later!!!!).We are brain stormed to study for 6 hours a day after having school from 8 am to 6 pm. No sports, no extra-curricular activities, no movies, no talking to girls. “Our” only goal was to get through that entrance exam. Home was no less torture. Soothing words come from my mom asking me if wanted something to eat. These were followed by emotional blackmail to study.” We don’t have any inheritance. If you don’t study well and get a good job, you will be nobody in life”, she said.
This kind of conditioning successfully instilled fear of failure in me. This was followed by intense guilt even if didn’t study just for a few minutes. I neither had any friends nor any dreams. Stage fear, fear of social interactions, insecurity, depression all became my character. In the end I didn’t clear the exam. Heartbroken, I joined some other college.
At present I graduated from my college, got a very good job, have many friends and basically a life. Looking at me struggling, I pitied. I walked towards myself to tell that life is bigger than a goal (especially if you didn’t set the goal). But I stopped. I didn’t want my younger self to have a beautiful life. You need to endure pain to appreciate happiness. You need to fight fear to overcome it. You need to live in hell to realize that the world we live is a heaven. So I left him suffering. Because it is that pain that made me immune to it now. It is that suffering that makes you appreciate even the smallest joys that life presents us.