End of a Journey

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

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Daily Diaries…

it is hard not to blame people for things they didn’t intend on doing, especially when it comes to the matters of your heart and having the power to break it. sometimes they aren’t even aware they have that power until it’s too late. sometimes they never asked for the responsibility. but somehow, when they are climbing into your bed in the middle of a summer night and it’s too hot to cuddle and they still reach out to hold your hand before succumbing to rest, you have no choice but to slip it deep into their pockets and hope they will keep it safe.

and maybe they do for a while, but sometimes they can’t and maybe it is not always their fault because sometimes things change, and feelings rearrange, even though you never really think the people you love will.

it’s possible they never thought they would either.

60 Seconds of Freedom.

Well people say the best trip is always the one which goes unplanned. I plan to defer from that statement – The best weekend is the one you spend doing absolutely crazy things with your friends with little planning. Waking up from sleep at 2 in the night to watch the first F1 race and then repeating the same act at 4 on the same day for an India-Pakistan cricket match sure sounds crazy! But that’s just the start of the climatic weekend.

Well the start of the Spring break was always going to be on high for a F1 fan like me. It was the first race of the season and the stakes sure were high. But then it still could not be compared with an India vs Pakistan cricket match especially when India is winning. Ecstatic, isn’t it? Well life had other plans for me. Sunday morning at 5.00 am when the Pakistan openers were grilling Indian bowlers, I was preparing for a weekend of my life. When things start on such a high note it is difficult to keep up the momentum. But turns out that Virat Kohli’s bat was not the only one blazing; I and two of my best friends started an unforgettable journey to rise 13500 ft high in the air!

But before that we had to take a 4 hour bus ride and 1 more hour of train to reach one of the best colleges in US – Princeton; An amazingly quite place to be. Renaissance style architecture and a very mature crowd the place is not very much different from my city – College Park. To be true, after living in this country-side for almost 9 months now, I kinda don’t want to live in a crowded city now. And Princeton sure suits my preferences. I took us 8 hours to reach our intended destination but it was worth making the effort to make one new friend. Well the four of us crashed into an Indian buffet (being an Indian your first choice will always be Indian food, no matter where you go), to have one of the best Indian lunches I had till now in US. The first thing that strikes me about that buffet was the awesome Gulab-Jamun. Well after the dinner, we entered a church just in time  for the mass. Being an atheist, it’s not much to me but I always look forward to such visits to find my answers and my inner peace too.

The best part of my stay in Princeton came later. You see, I always look forward to do crazy things in life – breaking the daily routine. And I was satisfied when we walked on the street – picking on each other, eating ice cream, taking photographs and laughing aloud. These are those moments which fill color in your life. You know you are going crazy when people passing by look at what you are doing and burst into laughter. But even this color faded the next day.

The best one minute of my life came the next day when I Sky-dived! When my plane started taking off, I was filled with anxiety and ecstasy. Soon the adrenaline  started pumping when my trainer and me started moving towards the door of plane. The one thing that came to my mind was – the first time i boarded a plane I traveled the most difficult journey of my life – from India to US alone and the second time I am doing it is when I’ll be doing the most thrilling act I have done in my entire life till now. My plane had a total of 11 jumpers including me, my friend, our trainers and the other licensed divers. When the door opened and the divers started jumping I was filled with awe aware of the fact that I ll be entering a new dimension within a few seconds.

When the time came and I sat there in-place to dive, I had my adrenaline pumping at the speed of light in my body. And then I dived! The next sixty seconds I could not speak I was falling at roughly 140 ft/sec but I all i could feel was thrill. It was flying becoming one with nature; admiring its creation, earth, looking at the skies beyond horizon, feeling the silent clouds gushing past me. Those sixty seconds I was not bound by anything, there was no ground below me, no walls to contain me. I could go anywhere I want, do whatever I want to, tumble around, swim through the air; it was absolute freedom. It was all just taken out from a sci-fi movie.When the parachute opened and my speed reduced, I became more aware of my presence; felt my surroundings, saw my friend opening his parachute thrilled by what was going on just like me. I never realized what I actually did till I reached the earth’s surface back. It was an amazing feeling; a heavenly experience. On my journey back, I was just putting the pieces in place and wondering about the moment I jumped. I feel that no matter in what situation I will be, I can never have so much excitement at one moment. Well the weekend sure had a climatic ending! Hehe.