The Backstory- A gist of my life till now
It is gonna be long. You can choose not to read
What separates humans from other creations is the art of dreaming that one acquires right since birth. The art of dreaming is such that; the more younger you are, the more aspirational you dream. I wanted to be a pilot when I was 5 and by the age of 9 I had learnt that we could go even higher than the sky; and so I wanted to be astronaut.
Right since the age of 8 my parents had put me to sports training. I played triple jump and high jump at state and national level till the age of 16; also I won’t brag, but I was even a ranker in academics. Unlike most of my generation, i had one thing pretty clear, I neither want to be an engineer nor a doctor. I never wanted to be a Chartered Accountant too. One thing that I didn’t realize as a child was that I was pretty observant and I spoke about the drawbacks in the system when my friends discussed last evening’s Scooby Doo episode.
I learnt the first lesson of my life when I was in the 8th Grade- overconfidence knocks you hard. As I told about my good performance in sports; I either won a gold or a silver in all district level tournaments and state level competitions. I was damn sure that opponent could beat be in 2008- how were I to know that overconfidence would beat me in all the tournaments? 2008–09 was the year I lost all the tournaments- not a single medal won. After that season was over I made up my mind and slogged my ass to perform better the next year. This was the time when sports became more important to me than academics. 9th and 10th grade was the time I hardly attended school. I went for training, bunked school, played cricket and football and what the hell is academics? I wanted to make a career in athletics and so I thought getting into the Indian Army was the best way to continue sports till retirement.
Since I was an above average student, I managed 79% in my 10th boards even though I never attended school and the national level competition kept me busy till February. So, I decide to take up science and prepare for National Defense Academy Entrance exam. Who knew life were to take a sharp turn and take me on a roller coaster from here?
Junior college was like entering a new phase of life; you are young, wild and free. I had a group in junior college and we enjoyed, we bunked, we explored Mumbai, we fell in love. When you go to the junior college for the first time, you have these preconceived notions about college from bollywood movies- you seem to live more of a carnival and vacation. But science students would remember about the 6 hour long classes after college hours where they would teach you to be robots. They would teach and teach for six long hours- it’s your fault if you don’t understand a certain topic. That sparked a staunch rebel in me against our education system.
To sum up the two years of my junior college in couple of lines: I had to quit sports because of unnecessary and mandatory hectic schedule, managing college, science classes, NDA classes. I dropped my 12th boards because i couldn’t clear NDA and science was too frustrating for me and not my cup of tea. I broke up with all 4 of my girlfriends. My friends went academically ahead of me- but it didn’t bother me since it was my decision. I take up admission in 12th Arts and never attend college because I didn’t attend even when I had taken up science. But this time less attendance screws me up and I am not allowed to attempt boards after a long argument with our vice principal. To this day, I still wonder why should I attend college compulsorily? Improve your standards so that I would attend willingly.
This situation left me pondering that all my friends are now gonna move two academic years ahead of me and now I am not even good at studies, I am not even into sports, I am not into NDA- what should be done now? I decide to attempt for those direct 12th pass exams that would give you a passing certificate so that I could move ahead for graduation. But it turns out that with those certificates you are not eligible for graduation. This moment shook the earth beneath me- I have wasted a lot of my parents money along with two precious years of my life. I had given up on studying now and these were literally the words I told my parents, “I don’t want to study further, I will work as a labour in your office, or I will work at some shop or will repair cycle punctures- but I don’t want to study now.”
Parents play a crucial role at such moments in your life and I am glad that my parents handled this situation in an extremely calm manner. They made me understand that I shouldn’t be reacting impulsively at such moments and this was nothing as compared to the greater difficulties I would face in life ahead. I was a pretty confident, notorious and enthusiastic kid before this moment and now I was running through extremely low self-esteem. Somehow my parents managed to convince me to at least clear my 12th and try for army once again- they sent me to Bhonsala Military College, Nashik.
Soon I was amidst new people, new city, new culture and gradually I came out of the previous traumas. One year at Bhonsala Miliatary- we were again young, wild and free. We enjoyed our hearts out, played volleyball and did other things that I would not want to share it publicly. I dropped the plan of getting into army when realization hit me hard. Why should i join the army and protect the fruit from external factors when the insects rotting the fruit are present inside it? Anyway, I enjoyed my hostel life to the fullest, but I started losing my hair by now due to several reasons. This was horrifying- especially when you used to have a good hairstyle. So by the time I started gathering some self-esteem and confidence, I lost them to baldness. Anyway, I was a bit relaxed as now I finally cleared my 12th and was now about to pursue Bachelor’s in Mass Media.
So, during the course of vacation before the beginning of graduation college- I wanted to be a Dj- dropped; let’s be a photographer- tried and dropped; let’s be an event manager- tried and dropped; let’s be a cinematographer; tried and dropped. I also failed at running a trekking group along with my friend. By the time I realized that I always wanted to be a change maker and work for the development of the society. I realized that my dreams and my aspirations are way different from the normal people, so they wouldn’t understand my goals- and what difference would it make if people understood my goal? They don’t have the guts to walk the path that I walked. It could also be the other way that I don’t have the guts to walk the path that they walk. Failures would have made me run low on self-esteem then, but now I am proud of my failures.
I joined politics only to realize that cleaning politics wouldn’t be possible unless the clean ones chose to enter in politics. Let’s talk about politics some other day; but now I am not associated with any political party. I, being the only young one along with a few senior activists, advocated for providing free education to the economically weaker sections of the society. I worked for promoting interest of the youth in taking up socio-political responsibilities.
I would have had a good desk job as an editorial writer and a researcher; but as I told you that out of the box comes natural to me and my interest in uplifting the weaker sections of the society- I am working in the social sector with a Trust called “People’s Power Collective”. We set-up community radio stations in the disaster prone, remote and isolated locations of Uttarakhand and help the local communities in disaster preparedness and build resilience against climate change. Trust me, bring ease and facilitating the lives of underprivileged gives me unbound happiness.