Life is all about taking a chance and making the most of it. Yes, believe it or not, life is all about gambles. Big or small, subtle or obvious, it doesn't really matter. What matters though is that you seize the moment even if certain defeat stares right back at your face. Because you never know when the stars may align to reward you for taking that dicey leap of faith. It can be choosing an unusual stream for graduation or marrying the person everyone warns you against. It can be setting up home in a foreign country or leaving a cushy job to follow your dreams. It can be anything but the truth is life stagnates unless you take that first step, even though hesitant and apprehensive. And when you take the chance, you also need to see it through.
I’m sure you have had countless such moments; moments when you surged right ahead wrestling the opposing current. I have too. Marrying S being one of the most significant among all I suppose. But there have been other forks in the road as well when it all came down to embracing the change instead of being defeated by it
. The very first noteworthy shift being when I began living in a hostel for the very first time in my life; far away from home, alone.
I say this about hostel life always, it is an experience that you must have at least once in your life time. It makes you strong and shows you a preview of how things are going to be when you are all grown up. It equips you to deal with all sorts of people and obstacles in general.
Hostel life taught me the harsh realities of life as well.
Though being from the north east didn't make it any easier either. I was shocked to find that you can be treated as an outsider even in your own country.
I found myself being looked at with a very different set of eyes, as if I had invisible and ugly horns. I realized how regional chauvinism is a painful fact, a stark reality in this country. Be it my professors or college mates, I was an outsider to them.
Your language, your state and what you eat, like it or not, has a bearing on how you are treated outside home. It was the first time I realized that horrid truth. Being a good person wasn't important or so it seemed. The only thing that mattered was to belong to a certain caste or section.
But I didn't stay there being a victim. I couldn't because I wasn't raised that way. I recall standing up for myself in front of a professor who not only ridiculed me but went as far as mocking my parents too because I belonged to the North East. All this because, apparently people from there are not fit to be engineers or anything else for that matter. I remember him threatening to fail me if I didn't apologize. But I still didn't because I wasn't wrong. No, sir.
Honestly, there were times when I felt really down and out because of the way I was treated by some. All because of a twisted notion of an outsider. But luckily I didn't give up. It was a conscious decision, my life’s course hinged on it. I couldn't ruin my life because of some people who are yet to see the bigger picture.
So, I stayed back, I stayed firm, hurt but firm, and today when I look back to that time I feel happy of the way I came out of it.
Yes, today I don’t prefer to keep in touch with folks from that phase of my life but I achieved what I had to from those four years in spite of the pains. Of course, I found S in the process so, all in all, a good way to start a new life. Right? So, I continued my journey believing that a person is more important than any region or language. And I’m so glad that I did that because I know I’m a better person for it.
In times when you find yourself out of your comfort zone, surrounded by hostility of any kind, always remember your purpose. Trust me it will help you sail through. I don’t say it will be easy or that you’ll never spend a night crying. It will and often you’ll find yourself losing patience. But that’s just the learning phase, it’s when you are being shaped into the person you’ll end up to be. Just remember, that risks are the key to start a new life, a better life.