Yeah I failed my exam- the last leg of the professional course I’m pursuing. My best friend got the 49th rank in the country. I’m top-of-the-moon happy for him. Sure I failed. So? Doesn’t mean I’m dumb. Doesn’t mean I didn’t work hard. Doesn’t mean I don’t have ‘luck’. It just means that I failed, that’s all.
I have a way with words, may be not numbers; probably why I didn’t crack the exam. All this gyaan is a reflection in retrospect, after I’ve spent hours and days moping about, feeling sorry for myself, cursing the education system, blaming the Gods, and letting my poor pillow take the brunt of agony and frustration. I completely know how a failure feels, so please don’t think I’m trivialising your pain. The problem lies in our heads; not in our intellect, but in our attitude. A friend of mine so wisely quoted, “People generally say that failure is the stepping stone to success. However, in my case I’m facing it in the last step. This is how it works”. She failed too, but she has never recognised her inborn talent. That’s where she truly failed. She is a brilliant designer, she designs and stitches her own clothes, quills her own jewellery and does so for her close family and friends. Another friend of mine failed the exam as well. He is a Cricket aficionado, an expert reviewer, aspires to be in standing with Harsha Bhogle, has met him and is humbled by him. Yet, my friend is pursuing something where his highest interest doesn’t lie. Another friend is a great movie critic, that he might seriously provide some stiff competition to the likes of Bharadwaj Rangan and give him a run for his money. My best friend has always wanted to be a Himalayan trekker, has extensively read about it, thinks about it everyday, but he is attempting to secure a safe desk job. Why? All of us are always chasing things we don’t get, we can’t have, we don’t want to do. Why? Is it because of the fear we’ll be ridiculed by the ‘society’ that you and I create? Is it because of the fear of hurting your family? The fear of a bleak future?
Pardon me for quoting examples that have been quoted time and again- Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Mozart and in contemporary times- Jack Ma, Sachin Tendulkar, A R Rahman, etcetera. These are people who had failed time and again, each time. Jack Ma was refused a job as a store-clerk at KFC, and today, he is the billionaire founder of Alibaba. The greatest of scientists were considered to be duds in school. In reality, we are all Einsteins, just not in the same field of Theoretical Physics. Notable musicians today were all professionals earlier, but today, they’re just following their happiness. So let’s all forget this ‘creating a professional backing’ that’s making us give up on our peace and happiness. I was at the last leg of my professional qualification when my true love pursued me to get back to him and be serious about our relationship this time- Writing. I wrote since school. He was just a crush then. It slowly blossomed into love and later we faced some serious break-ups when I was pursuing my professional qualification. He admonished me for having ignored him all these years and for having forsaken my happiness as well. That’s when I took it up with my family, that my true love was writing and that is what I wanted to do for life. I told them it may be a hard journey, but in the end I’ll always be happy. My parents are the radical kind, and extremely rare to find. They were never upset about my results, they were shattered that I was hurting myself all these years. Regular parents might have been shy of the ridicule that they have been facing or what they were yet to face. Mine were different. They smiled and let me go do what I wanted to. They have my back. As I said, the rare kind.
I already hold a Bachelor’s degree and hence, I applied to Universities in the UK and got into one of the best in the world, a dream come true. I’m so grateful to that institution which made me feel so good about myself after a long time and in the process, made my family and me shed happy tears. It felt surreal. And then a few weeks later, the results of my ‘professional backing’ happened. I have no regrets, having lived a satisfying academic journey, having faced roadblocks, dead-ends, accepted the scorching heat with no shade and endured extreme coldness with a little moisturiser, I am now in the ‘Spring’ of my life. Having found my true path, I can now tell you that the trail wasn’t easy at all. I have bigger targets ahead and I’m in for extreme hard work and dedication, but I’ll do it all with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
What I’m trying to say is- do what you want. All it takes is that little courage to say “Yes I failed. I take full responsibility and now I want to do what I want to do, not what I have to do”. If giving the exam again gives you that happiness, by all means do it. If it doesn’t and you will always know when it doesn’t, you’re at the crossroads in your career. Remember, It’s okay to quit when you know you’re not happy. Remember it’s ultimately your decision- whatever you make of it. It’s okay to take some time for yourself, it’s okay to stop to catch your breath. Some of us have asthma, so it’s perfectly okay. It’s okay if you feel that people younger to you are better than you are. In ten years, you never know how it’s going to turn out. It’s okay to quit something you feel obligated to, but don’t enjoy. Move on to do something you’re so passionate about that you just forget the world around, and everything around will change dynamically. You can’t satisfy everyone around you, you need yourself first, for your own growth. “I quit” has always had a negative ring to it. I want to turn it around. I quit anger. I quit frustration. I quit anxiety. I quit depression. I quit anything that kills my peace and happiness.
Stand up, be yourself. The world’s a lot more upright when you’re standing up to it than crouching down beneath it. Happy days ahead, people. Cheers!!