A decision which changed my life
What is that one moment that changes the course of one’s life? What is that one decision that makes or breaks the journey?
When I look back, I wonder what would have happened to the contours of my life if I had not taken a bold and firm stand in 2003. I was 16 going on 17 – an age fraught with teenage crushes, uncertain career choices, parental oppression and a sense of rebellion. I was no different. I had changed school and joined a co-educational institution for my plus two, leaving behind my friends of the last 12 years! This step was taken so that I could study the ISC syllabi of Science stream and fulfill my dream of joining a medical school, anywhere in India. I had scored an obscene 96 out of 100 in Biology in my Class X Boards and already considered myself God’s gift to future medical fraternity.
And then began one of the most difficult phases of my life. New school meant having to make friends, adjusting to a new environment, studying completely different syllabi and learning new lessons in life. My social circle expanded when I joined tution classes. Suddenly I found myself more interested in chatting with friends over phone or after tution than studying. I was more worried about my friendships than my grades and my appearance than my books. After all, I had finally become a ‘girl’ after spending all my growing-up years as a tomboy.
Soon the usual teenage issues started to plague me. I turned down the affections of boys, which led them to launch a smear campaign against me! Suddenly, I began to hear stories of how many boyfriends I had, when in fact I had none. As if this character assassination was not enough, soon my friends drifted apart believing the truth in these rumours. For the first time, I saw how ruthless young boys and girls can be, in both their actions and words.
Within the first year, I had lost almost all friends I had made in my new school. I began to spend all my free time in the school library and the meditation room. I looked for peace in the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. I wrote more short fiction and poetry and earned the praise of my English teachers.
As a result of the turmoil in my personal life, my academics suffered. From a straight 90% score in all subjects, my marks plunged to 70%, sometimes 60% and 50% in my Class XII examinations. And I no longer loved Biology.
Then one day, I read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and found my hero in Atticus Finch. Then I read up everything about a career in law from career pages of newspapers and various magazines. And one fine summer morning of 2003, I told my parents that I do not want to write the Medical entrance tests, instead I wanted to prepare for the entrance tests of national law schools.
Giving up on a dream, after chasing it for 4 years was difficult both for me and my parents. It was hardest for my parents, who had been extremely worried about their once-brilliant-in-academics daughter’s recent poor performance. But they came around to supporting my dream. My Brilliant Tutorial study material gathered dust while I started solving analytical and logical reasoning test papers of NLS, Bangalore. Of course, I encountered all sorts of comments from people around me – my relatives thought I was a fool to choose a career usually opted by good-for-nothing-else students, my classmates thought I was scared of failing the JEE and hence was taking an easy exit route, my friends thought that I was mad to choose law as a career after studying Science in plus two and so on and so forth. But I stood my ground, turning a deaf ear to all and pouring my heart in my preparation.
My first entrance examination was for NUJS, Calcutta which for a Cal-loving Bong like me, was the first choice. I sat for it just 4 days after finishing writing my Pre-Boards tests in January 2004. In between my ISC examinations, the results were declared and I scored a seat in NUJS. My teachers in school were ecstatic because I was the first student to go to a national law school, my classmates were jealous that even before my Boards ended, I had secured my career and my parents were finally proud of me first time in 2 years! I went on to score a 92% in my ISC, shutting up all the detractors who had whispered loud that I chose law because I was not good enough for Science.
Within a month of finishing school, I was headed to five years of incredible hostel and college life. Now when I look back at those 2 years, I am grateful for all the darkness because that is what led me to my fulfilling career in law and gave me strength to fight whatever obstacles life threw at me thereafter.
Housing.com asked bloggers to write about a time when they took a bold stand and brought about a change in their lives and inspired me to talk about a not-so-glorious phase of my life. Check out their awesome video –