May 21 is a special day for me and a much more special day for my parents – it’s their anniversary. This year they found one more reason to celebrate it – My graduation. My completing my Masters’ degree marked an important apex of my life but more than that it was their lives and wishes and hope. To finally be able to see their son, their aankhon ka tara (star of their eyes) graduate was a dream pursued more by them than by me.
This all started not two years back, when I entered USA, but way before that, before I joined any college, in my high school. As a student, I was always good at studies, as most students claim, even if my grades never add up. 😀 But even then my parents, as most other Indian parents, believed in me, in my ability and pushed me harder. And I as most Indian students would agree would never put enough efforts to get my grades better. But it wasn’t that lessons were difficult to me, but simply because I was not focused enough; not inspired enough to get those good grades. But then in the last year in my high school something changed. You see in Indian education system the last year of high school students are pitted against each other not across the school but across the state and country! Their grades decide upon the junior college they get and the career they pursue. And I was another kid in that competition. When I decided taking up engineering, (Yes I had decided to do engineering by when I was in high school!) it took a lot of convincing for my parents to get on the same page as me on my career. This inspiration and focus took me from that point to eight years later, now.
While all this time, I focused on my dreams and aspirations; my parents strived very hard to make sure I complete them. The biggest step in my life, of course, was to study abroad. I vividly remember myself dreaming about going to Australia and USA for my higher studies back in my 12th grade. I think I was one of the luckiest people to have such a focused goal so early on in my life. Though I wish I had some of that luck in my grades, but never mind. As I was focusing on my goal, my parents were gearing up themselves to see their son only on their computers via Skype and not in person. It was their dream to see me and my sister to finish our education to its highest level possible. Recalling my mother’s words on my graduation, this is what she said to me on the phone just after my commencement – “You finally graduated. Your dream is finally completed. My dream to see you receive that degree has been accomplished. Congrats beta. Now you truly proved your mettle.” The rest of it went a bit emotional and ended up as tears in both our eyes.
That said, was the journey worth it? Let’s quickly review my eight year journey – I made many friends – my best friends were made in that journey; I made many enemies, yes of course; I graduated from a unfocused, lazy kid to a focused, dedicated man full of self-belief; I had my share of heart breaks :P; I had so many fights I can’t count them on my fingers; I made great bonds with amazing people; learnt how to cook, how to live alone, manage tight budgets; cried, laughed, blushed, teased and did all sort of things teenagers and young people would do; experienced some eventful days my dear friends would definitely recall; traveled to places; earned my first salary; gave my parents the biggest surprise of their lives; rose up and fell down several times.
Hmmmm…. Seems like an amazing journey. The student life has surely ended and while now when I am at the door preparing to take off for another journey possibly even better than this one. Looking back at this journey I can only be grateful to all my friends, people who inspired me to do all kinds of things, my bitter relations, my professors and teachers, everyone who shared even a moment with me; all I can say is thank you everyone for without your contribution I would not have been at this doorstep and more importantly I would not have been me! And before she hits me on my head I should also thank the person I truly love and I have been constantly inspired by – my sister. Standing at this doorstep I truly believe that without my parents and my sister alongside me, all my friends behind me and the God above me I am ready for the next amazing journey of my life. Amen