My NEET Story

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!

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A parting note?

Hello. I have deserted this blog for almost five months, and I feel extremely guilty about it.

I promised myself in the beginning that this blog will be for my fictitious pieces of writing, not for life updates and the sorts. But somehow, for the present state of my mind, I feel it’s necessary to emote, without using fancy poetic stuff. 

People who were forced to read my blog (haha) might remember that one blogpost about Dilli. I was distraught; I was leaving my bestfriend and basically my life behind. Two years later, I cried in the flight away from Cuttack because everything was insane. I don’t love Cuttack like I love Delhi; I’ll probably never do. But the few warm people there do make me miss the place. Now, I’m in this heavenly place called Udaipur, ready for the two super-important years of my life. Haven’t really made friends, but hey, i’m not rushing things. 

I’m planning to become a doctor, in the army if things go as I’ve planned them. That requires a hell lot of effort, school and coaching and self-study, apart from tests and everything. I won’t say I’m not scared, because anyone in my place would be a little nervous. Or maybe the superhumans won’t be. I don’t know. The main point here is that I want to put in all my effort to become what I want to. I dont know, maybe ten years from now, I’ll regret it all. But atleast I’ll know that I gave my very best. And I am going to give it my all. I need to be someone independent, someone who people won’t dare to ask to ‘settle down’.

I’ve always been passionate about reading and writing. I may not have read great classics and the ‘must read’ stuff, but reading gives me hope and makes me smile in the worst of times. It makes me feel incredibly alive. And writing, well, is something I wanted to pursue seriously at one point of time. Now, I’m sacrificing writing for my blog, willingly. There’s just no time! Most of my free time (which won’t be much) will be devoted to squash, the absolute love of my life. It’s a little disappointing, and I hope all this will be worth it. 

Presently, everything is so insane that my head is in whirl. I’m at this junction of life where I’m giving up things I love, yet gaining experience??? Does that make any sense? Whatever it is, if you would ask if I’m happy, I wouldn’t really know. I have everything, but I keep yearning for things out of reach. Makes things a lot more complex and frustrating. There’s a whole lot of insecurities about whether I’ll be able to make it through. 

To all my readers, if you exist, thank you. The stats page always upsets me but there are a few times when there are visitors on my blog and it makes me feel good. If my posts have ever touched your soul, please do let me know. Nothing will make me happier. 

My previous blog somehow got deleted by Google. I was eleven or maybe twelve at that time, and I remember feeling really hopeless. This time, I need my blog to wait for me. I promise that in a few years, I’ll return as a better person. Give me a little time, love, and I promise that your bud will bloom and cast its influence everywhere. I just don’t want you to wither away like a neglected flower. 

So here’s to my iridescent idiocies. Here’s to once being on a see-saw with a broken end. Here’s to writer’s block and frustrations and frenzy. Here’s to you being there for me. Here’s to hope for the future. 

Here’s to us, blog. Here’s to you and me. 

(I can always be contacted through my email id – rimjhimtyagi@rocketmail.com) 

Castles

//I started building castles in the air
when I was six.
I picked each word thrown at me,
I caressed its feathery linings
and put my words on top of each other,
building jigsaw puzzles out of nowhere.
I was small then
My castles barely reached my belly
I could see my words all around
as I went about my little world.
I would wave my tiny hands through matter,
through open space, near royalty.
Others would laugh;
They never understood.

I continued building castles in the air
when I was twelve.
My castles had tall towers
and engraved on them were words
Thrown carelessly at me.
But I knew the nuances of each one of them;
I would turn them over,
over the linings of my palm.
Some shrewdly carried with them
The stamp of a certain brown-eyed boy
whose gaze often tugged at the
strings of my heart.
I would still wave my hands over my castles,
but they had crooked edges now;
my fingers bled sometimes.

I still build castles in the air
and I’m fifteen now.
Words thrown at me still find
their place in the castles that engulf me.
But now,
my castles seem to strangle me.
I feel suffocated and small;
my walls begin to crumble, but I paint them back on,
for they must conceal.
I hear voices when I walk, I hear
the words echoing from royalty.
I still wave my hands over my castles,
others still laugh
and my fingers still bleed.
But now,
my blood is channelized.
The blood is sent to paper,
with a myriad of thoughts accompanying it.//


 

This is the first time I’ve written such a piece. I would love some interpretations and constructive criticism!

A Few Lessons

Each scar on your knee will tell
the world that you fell on a trodden path.
But each skip in your step will tell
the world that you stood up.

Remember your mother combing your
tousled head,
not one strand of hair used to allow itself
to be assorted against the boundaries
and be aligned in the mainstream.

Be those strands of hair.

Refuse to be assorted against boundaries
and refuse to be aligned carelessly
with the mainstream.

Hold your hands together tightly,
Never let them go astray;
You never know where they’ll be found.
You never know the throats they might be around.

Pray, pray not to an ostensible entity
hoping for benevolence.
Pray to yourself with your hands
clasped tightly like the ribs
that guard your bitter heart.

Feel anger and frustration and the feeling that
makes your head go dizzy,
the feeling that casts incoherent
storms within your nerves.
Feel everything, but remember,
you are not always bound to emote.

Gaze at the nightsky when the night is deserted.
When no one is there to cast
wishes at 11:11. The stars
will not look like stars,
they’ll look like petty deadlines
and reminders which reiterate the fact
that you’ve not been a good kid this year.

But don’t listen to them.

Sunsets are known to hold the promise
of a new day hung in the air,
never let this promise go away.
Hold dandelion seeds with twinkling eyes,
Let skeptic daisies swish your way,
gallop through the woods,
live your own fairytale.

Remember, my love.

Each scar on your knee will tell
the world that you fell on a trodden path.
But each skip in your step will tell
the world that you stood up.

 

 

 

The Five Senses of Rain

Have you ever seen the rain?

See the clear droplets descending
from the skies, tears of joy
emerging from ‘heaven’, as
the theists would claim; and
see the pink petals of forlorn
flowers, separated delicately from
their mothers like loose threads
and they flow through the
puddles like tears of anguish
shredded by lost love;
see the ripples caused by
rivulets of water casting
their beauty and oh,
see the rain.

Have you ever heard the rain?

Hear the wind chiming,
singing competitively against
the sound of rain; pitter-patters
on the window sill and burnt
ashes of hatred spilt
on the sidewalks; hear
laughs of young children,
syncing with the rain
melodiously, and cower under
the raging skies and oh,
hear the rain.

Have you ever smelt the rain?

Smell the warm fragrance of rain
on an exasperating day,
hues of petrichor floating
in the air like fluffy white
clouds on a sunny day;
smell the bliss of water and
land that no artist can match
and no poet can compare
metaphors with and oh,
smell the rain.

Have you ever tasted the rain?

Hold the first drops of euphoria
against your palms and bring
them to the pink of your
lips; bask in the essence of
ineffable salt in the rain and
kiss the tears of joy
nature spills lavishly and oh,
taste the rain.

Have you ever felt the rain?

Cradle the droplets against your
body and dance away with
the rain brandishing all your
sorrows; let the drizzles
envelope you like tight
warm hugs and tenderly
stroke the trees and bring
the leaves close to your heart;
find joy in the smiles
of nature and oh,
feel the rain.

Monsoon is here.//

On writing.

The ink flows furiously from the
nib of my pen, signifying how my
mind bursts to emote, to create;
and when the pen meets the
smooth lined surface of paper,
two mechanisms don’t work; they
become one, the ink and the paper,
spilling poetry from words and words
from little fragments of thoughts,
and they become one; and that’s
how it feels, finding solace in words
that some choose to throw carelessly
about; for that is really what poets do,
brushing away all such words in a
corner, lovingly caressing them,
and then painting hues of metaphors
on a canvas of simple paper; for
who requires luxuries when you
are provided luxuries of thought;
luxuries of emotions and opinions
slowly making their way out of
whirls of memories and experiences,
and what really is writing but
drizzles on a warm day,
catching your heart in glee
and bringing you the satisfaction
of a good day at work
for writing is to writers what
meditating is to yoga-doers;
capturing each storm of their minds,
each cyclone which traps their hearts
in the solace which seemingly
inanimate things selflessly provide.

An Artist’s Canvas

We start life out as young
Unborn fetuses, with our white
And pristine canvas ready
For the sprinkling of bright
Beautiful shades of colours;
But then we grow up
And the colours fade to a
Dull grey with patches of ripped
Black; all these colours run
Into each other, maybe like the
Linings of our palms which
Refuse to be assorted into
Disciplined boundaries,
And then we grow old
With a fondness for senility,
Hoping for resurrection
In the form of something we’ve
Always wished for;
And then we reflect upon our
Canvas of memories,
Memories which engulf us
When we let our guard down
And memories which make us
Smile at our past idiocies
And memories that make us
Wish for a time machine
As we slowly stumble into
The vain arms of death,
While Death reviews the Canvas
And smiles coyly to himself,
For He, of all people, knew
How human beings showcased
Millions of little moments that
Ran haywire in the course of their
Lives, in the form of metaphorical art;
And sometimes I think life
Is not a journey; it is not
Travelled from Point A to
Point B with few in-betweens;
It is a vast ineffable adventure
Of discovering one’s self
And others; for life is an artist’s canvas
In the beginning,
And a writer’s life-long threshold
Of words and poetry in the
Ending.