Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Sheer Will

As I see the summer sun blazing outside my window the nostalgia of summer holidays gushes in almost instantly. I am aware that those summer noon have been sucked into abysmal depths of past and would never be able to resurrect yet I am happy that the memories from that time are still vivid. The color from each frame is as fresh and totally intact.

For me summer vacations spelled breezy mornings and lazy noon of Banaras...where a bunch of kids played the clandestine game of hide and seek in the sprawling bungalow while the rest of the household was seeped into the habitual siesta. Almost 12 years later I can still feel the afternoon draped into heavy silence getting rattled occasionally by the bout of giggles and whispers.

Leafing through the crumbled Barbie brochure with my cousins and letting the imagination run wild was the favorite time pass. Lying down on the cold white mosaic floor and looking at the scattered noon sunlight seeping in through the sieves of "khus ki jaali" was pristine. The otherwise harsh sun all of a sudden seemed more amiable to a group of three, the goon leader and my two little cousins who were my ardent apprentices.

Giggles, Barbie, mango, cricket and hosepipe sprinkle was what those holidays were all about.

This one memory lasts to that era of childhood vacations. The incident made me learn a lesson unconsciously and whose importance I realize now, whose remembrance helps me surge ahead whenever failure overcome and disappoints me.

As a child I was one selfish individual. I loved to be the talk of the town. Considered to be the brightest of all the siblings I was the undisputed queen of the gang. I enjoyed attention, every bit of it.

It happened one such afternoon. My eldest mama, who besides being a motivational orator is a doctor by profession and ever since I have recognized the art of articulation I have christened him as "DR. MAMA". He has been nothing less than a celebrity amongst all of us and his popularity charts have soared higher with each passing decade. To me he has been a man always full of inspirational stories. His positive vibes rejuvenated me and his never-say-die attitude commanded awe. So it was natural for us to scramble all over him the moment he lied down after lunch.

Amongst those chit chats and narrations all of a sudden he asked, "how have u kids fared in your annual examinations?” this was a sensational query and each one of us seemed eager to boast. Saloni shrieked, "I stood fourth". Jubu joined in, "I second". Shikhar said, "I topped mama” and I boasted, "I secured 2nd rank". My brother Ankur was the last one to respond, meekly he said, "I got 18th rank".

"Then why are you here?? This is a group of toppers.” said someone.

He was taken aback, humiliated and embarrassed. He looked downcast and devastated. I gave him a cursory glance. His eyes had welled up with tears and once our conversation resumed, he quietly slipped out of the room...out of the elite group. His own siblings had made him feel an outcast.

As I realize it today I understand that it was a rude shock to a child of such a tender age, yet, I dint run to his rescue back then. Being an elder sister I should have been protective of my kid brother but neck deep in vain of belonging to the elite group of toppers, I left him unguarded.

I feel ashamed and guilty about my selfishness whenever the memory of that one question returns to me.

Many years to that incident, each one of us has carved a niche as an individual. We finished our schooling and thus the preparation began to take on the world.

Ankur worked harder and harder each passing day. He dropped a year after his 12th to prepare once more to achieve his dream goal. Months passed by and he seemed even more obsessed. Something kept him going. Failures became his stepping stones and nothing deterred him. I was amazed at his passion. I was amazed at his relentless efforts. It seemed as if something burned on deep inside him. Then, came the coveted entrance examination.

In the meantime Jubu got through a medical college, Shikhar excelled academically and Saloni aimed medical colleges once she finished her schooling. I finished my honors in psychology.

Last summer night Ankur returned home from his college. He arrived unannounced and hugged me at the entrance...a warm and tight hug.
He moved past me and there on his black T-shirt was written IIT. He has answered the question aptly and it has taken him 12 long years. But as he says "once an IIT'ian, always an IIT'ian" I have realized what burned inside him.  He told me," I am happy that I have finally answered all the questions that doubted my capabilities as an academic achiever"

He belongs to the Elite group now.

And as I retrospect I can see that he helped me realize that no dream is too big to realize. One should have the courage to dream it and the passion to achieve it.

Ankur has given me a new insight into the legendry and probably a very ambiguous saga of success and failure. This one lesson that would help me every time I fall down on the way to a destination called success!!