(Based on a true story)“Beta, uth jaa... abhi saamaan bhi pack karna hai.”
16th May, 2010
16th May, 2010
“uuuuunnnnnnnnn...... Sone do na papaaa. Abhi toh soya hoon.”
“DHAWAL... 8 baj gaye hain... aur kitna soyega?? Saara din sota rehta hai..saari raat sota rehta hai..!!”
With that he went and switched off the main power supply of my room. Now, howsoever lazy or sleepy you may be, you can’t sleep without atleast a fan in peak summer. And, in order to switch on the fan, i’d have to go all the way to the ground floor and switch it on. So, after 5 minutes of lazing around on the bed, i got drenched in sweat. Ultimately, i had to wake up. This is one of many irritating ways conceived by my dad to wake me up. In winters, he takes away my blanket and leaves my without any cover from cold and consequently, i have to wake up. With just 3 hours of sleep, i moved towards the washroom with red eyes.
“Dhawal.. tu saara din sota rehta hai. Fir bhi teri aankh laal kyu rehti hai..??”
“Mujhe kya pata?”
What i obviously did not tell him was that i used to be on the phone with my girlfriend all night. Today was no different and i had been talking to her till 7am – so late because maybe it was the last time we were talking over local network. From now on, it will be costly STD calls, the meetings would become fewer and far between and there will be distances. I’d have to wait for months to even see her face. I had got selected at S.C.R.A (Special Class Railway Apprentice), which acording to my dad, is the next best thing in Indian government after an I.A.S officer. To all those who don’t know about S.C.R.A, click here. I was amongst the lucky 38 out of 1.25 lakh applicants who were called to join the prestigious IRMEE by the U.P.S.C. Only God knew how i had managed to pass in the written exam, and then the interview, and then even the medical exam! (Mind you, 6 people even failed the medical exam out of 44 and I am skinny, unhealthy and fragile by every standard.) Even my dad (my harshest critic) was marvelled that how i had managed to clear all these stages without even preparing for them for even a minute. Even i found the fluke too hard to digest.
But, here i was, all through. Now i will soon get paid for studying- that too Rs.18,000 per month. And after my engineering degree will get over at IRMEE, i’d be luxurioulsy placed as an Asst. Engineer in Indian Railways earning a handsome 40,000 per month (plus the govt perks and allowances and there in no limit to ‘upar ki income’.) My days of toiling and slogging at IIT were over. My friends had even given me the most awesome farewell treat and i sill feel indebted to them. Today i was leaving for the IRMEE campus at Jamalpur, Bihar by the afternoon train. All set for an awesome life, wasn’t i..??
Back to reality, i refreshed myself and started searching for anything that i had forgetten to pack.It had been fun shopping for all the things. Nothing feels better than to roam around in the streets of Delhi. You realize the amount of variety God has created in the world. The week-long shopping extravaganza in connaught place had been an awesome experience after 4 months of sulking around at IIT-Ropar. I had to leave for the station by noon so as to reach in time. By 10am, everything was packed and well in place.
These are the times when all the weird things start coming into your mind. And one such thought struck me too that was enough to change my life. ENGINEERING – i had been studying engineering at an IIT for the past 2 years. But, Had i learnt anything? Was i interested in it? Did i have any sort of passion for it? Did i want to be engineer? Was i enjoying what i was doing and was about to do? Was i excited? Did I even want it in the first place? Strangely, the answer to all the these questions was the same - a mono-syllable word “NO”. I had got good grades in many subjects even at IIT but did i ever understand them? “NO.” And yet,the place i was about to go to, required me to continue this and bluff myself. Was i doing the right thing? "NO".
Was it a momentary move or my rush of blood, i still do not know. I went up to my dad and said ," Papa, can i talk to you?"
"Haan beta, bolo.."
"Dad, i am not going to S.C.R.A. In fact, i don't want to go to S.C.R.A."
"What do you mean???", said my dad with a puzzled face.
"I am not interested to go to S.C.R.A. I am staying here only."
"WHAT??? Are you all right??" My dad was still to come to terms with what i was saying.
"Yes Dad. I am all right. I am saying this because this is what my heart wants"
"why is your heart is saying bullshit all of a sudden? Dhawal, you just don't know anything. Why the hell are you saying all this?"
"DAD, I AM SAYING WHAT I KNOW IS RIGHT TO MAKE ME HAPPY. I - WILL -NOT- GO." This time, my voice was loud. And i hated myself for talkin so loudly.
"WHAT IS THIS? if this is what you wanted then why the hell did you give the exam? Why did you decide to leave IIT in the first place? Why did you go on a shopping spree for S.C.R.A? Why did you not leave it long time back? Why did you do all this drama in the first place?" There were a lot more ''why's'' thrown at me.
"Dad, i did all this because i thought money was all one wants. I thought happiness increased with your stature. I thought great things makes us happy. But NO. Happiness makes great things. I have been an idiot all my life. i took science because i thought taking up anything else was a shame after 94% marks. I took engineering beacuse it was more popular. I joined IIT because i thought the best institute was the best thing to do. But today, i realize i never did anything on my own. I just followed what the world thought was right and i thought that was right. I thought SCRA gave me good money and that would make me happy. But dad...i'm not interested in engineering anymore. i never was. The money may keep me smiling all my life, but i don't think i will be happy. I don't wanna waste the next 4 years doing what i don't like. I don't want to continue wronging my life just because i did this in the past. Dad, please. For the first time in my life, i am conscioulsy deciding something for my happiness. PLEASE."
I don't know how it affacted my dad but he just smiled and said, "Anything for you son! Anything for your happiness. I want my son to be happy. Nothing else matters." And he hugged me. Tears flowed from my eyes. That was the best moment of my life. I just closed my eyes. I don't know for how much time i hugged my dad but when i opened my eyes, my heart was happy and so was my dad. I happily unpacked my bags and 1 hour later, we were having lunch and enjoying. Was i happy?? YEAH SURE, I WAS!!
As the noon passed, i decided to timepass by watching T.V. What i saw left me open-mouthed. There had been a stampede at New Delhi railway station. Numerous people had been injured. Few had died too. The platforms of two bihar-going trains were exchanged at the last moment which lead to the stampede. I....was supoosed to board the Vikramshila express - one of those two trains. i din't know what to do first - to thank god for keeping me away from it or to feel sad for all those who were there. (to read more, click here)
Today, when i look back at that day, i still feel weird. I do thank God to give me those thoughts at that moment. Maybe, i will not earn so much in my life but i am content. My dad tries to convince me to try for I.A.S because that's the only thing better than S.C.R.A. But,right now, i don't care about it. I have my brilliant friends still with me who have even made my engineering life quite enjoyable though I had to give all of them a return treat. But thats not worth caring about. The studies may suck but i have a nice company. I am still at IIT. I am not courageous enough to leave IIT for the hate of engineering. Security is still a dominant option in india. But, i am now left with just 2 years of engineeirng rather than the 4 years i'd have had to spend at SCRA. Today, i am happy and smiling, both at the same time! I realized why people always say to follow your heart. It may seem a bit harsh but it definitely keeps you happy.
THANKS GOD! THANKS DAD! THANKS MY FRIENDS! THANKS TO ALL!!!