Dear blog, sorry for deserting you for two years. I missed you. I’m writing this so that you understand what I’ve been up to, during the past 730 days or more.
It all began in the autumn of 2015, which sounds poetic when it actually isn’t. I made the decision of taking up biology in 11th and 12th, preparing for NEET, and eventually becoming a doctor. It included giving up on many things. It involved sidelining my dream of becoming a journalist and making a difference through my words. But something deep inside me knew that I loved human anatomy. I loved anything and everything related to life forms. I wasn’t that kid who always dreamt of becoming a doctor. I did not particularly like the stethoscope. I was never the kind soul who just wanted to “save humanity” by becoming a doctor. I just wanted to learn more and be smarter than the general population. It seems selfish, but it is the truth.
My father is in the army, and he got posted to Udaipur from Cuttack in March 2017. So we shifted to Udaipur, which is a heavenly place inside out. We did a little bit of sightseeing in the last week of April, before my classes began on 1st May. I was in an integrated batch. In my case, its pros outweighed the cons. We had a small batch of seventeen like-minded people. In the beginning, I loved studying. I wasn’t the best in my class, but I loved learning new things every day. There were massive ups and downs, but that’s life and it’s normal. There were times I felt “rotten” and sick of everything. But with time, I matured a little, stopped caring about stuff that made no difference in my life, and made a conscious effort to stay upbeat and happy. At the end of the day, preparing for an exam like NEET is just a mind game. You stay calm, you win; as simple as that.
So what did I do except for studying? I played squash. Squash was my lifeline for these two years. It was the cushion I always had, something to fall back on when times didn’t feel okay. It nurtured me and made me happy, most of all. It is extremely important to have something like that, because you cannot expect anybody to stay at one spot and study day in and day out. I didn’t have a lot of friends; just my best friend in the whole wide world, a few people of my class, and one of my neighbours with whom I used to play squash. It wasn’t easy. To be honest, seeing people my age going out, having fun and making memories used to bring me down sometimes. My life revolved around textbooks, learning, and solving numericals. I remember feeling, at times, whether all this was worth it. Why couldn’t I “chill” like other people? The pressure gets to you at times. But emerging out of that pressure makes the difference.
And so, these two years flew by. They were marked by mood swings, stress and the fear of ‘whether I’ll make it through or not’. That happens with everybody. Life goes on and if you want to win, you need to go on as well. An important lesson my chemistry teacher taught me once was to never stop –“Ruko mat”. And it is the truth. For two years, you have to go on and not look back, if you want to win. My performance was pathetic in many tests and they did bring me down at times. But my brother’s words always used to come back to me on such days-“Never take your marks seriously; only take your mistakes seriously”. And so, if you want to win and conquer anything in life, just don’t stop.
Coming back to the story, April 2019 was the most important month of my life, all in all. My boards had been pretty well, and I wanted to conquer NEET now. Why? Because I had been told in the month of January that I was not capable of doing well in NEET. I remember calling my brother at 1 am one night in January, crying, and he told me this: Don’t let anything bring you down, work as hard as you can, and conquer the damn thing. Hence, in April, I wanted to conquer “the damn thing”. I had a deal with my parents- every time I would cross the 600 mark in a mock test, I would get an ice cream at night. Pretty weird, but trust me, it worked. I gave mock tests everyday, from 2 pm to 5 pm on my dining table, wearing the same clothes I had chosen to wear for D-Day. Pretty weird again, but it worked.
On 2nd May, three days before D-Day, CBSE declared the board results. I had done alright (95.8%) but I was scared that it would put me on cloud nine and hamper my NEET performance. But due to the support of my parents and my brother, I managed to stay calm during the last days, which was extremely important. So D-Day arrived. I knew that losing my mind at that particular moment would ruin all the effort I had put in. And so, I didn’t think too much. I gave the exam (which was easier than what I had expected) and I was satisfied with whatever I had done. And so, it was over.
On the 5th of June, the results were declared. I secured 642 marks with an All India Rank of 1451. I cried that day, mostly because I had expected a better rank. But soon, I realised that it was the best I could’ve done and I should be proud of that. I worked hard, yes, but so did people close to me. My parents used to help me stay motivated on days when it was tiring to even think about working hard. My brother, though physically in Bangalore, was always a call away. Just talking about random stuff with him used to help me clear my mind. Khushi, my best friend, was always there to listen to my rants about anything and everything. Life cannot be a cakewalk when you are preparing for NEET, but people who love you will always do their bit in making you feel happier. Working hard is important, but so is staying happy, relaxed and focused.
So that was “my journey” of the past two years. I hope to resume writing soon. It won’t be easy, but I’ll try to post regularly on my blog now. Here’s to a new beginning!