Posted by Ajay Kharb, New Delhi
It is often said that the final year of school is the most beautiful time in a student’s life, where they make memories about each and everything that they did from class 1 to 12th. Whether it be those playful years of junior school, or those initial years of puberty when the norms of friendship change into love, and the hormones are on a different level all together. All this fun and enjoyment comes to a strange silence when a child reaches class 12.
The emotional feeling of going away from the place where we had spent half the years of our lives (until now) is much stronger than that of securing good marks in the Board exams. Though it is the latter, which makes or breaks us and on its basis society decides our future.
It was the same scenario with the out-going batch of 2020. The pandemic was harsh and painful. But it was not painful enough to stop us from thinking that one day class 12 will surely unite in school again. If not for studies, then maybe for the last school ceremony- our farewell. But that was not the case to be. As I mentioned the feeling of getting separated from each other and the announcement that the informal farewell for the batch of 2020-2021 was cancelled was much worse and harsh than those tiring Zoom and Google Meet classes which seemed so unbearable.
Honestly, the real torture was not those long online classes but the month of March 2021, with all the drama of whether the Board exams would take place or not. It ruined the life and mind of each student of class 12th.
After a big tug-of-war between the students and the CBSE and some PIL’s filed in the supreme court, the exams were finally cancelled in the month of June. It gave a reason to the students to smile about something. I might sound like someone who doesn’t believe in studying, but this is not the case. We students were terrified of being in class 12th for a year and a half and not moving ahead in our future. This decision was a big relief for both the toppers and the back-benchers.
Then started the intense confusion, struggle and competition to get into a college. It was for that proud moment for our parents to tell our relatives, “See my son has got into so and so college”. Well it’s sad but true that we in India often judge the up-bringing of a child by looking at his / her degree and college, and not his / her skills and talent. Without going deep into the philosophical and sensitive matters of the Indian society, let us continue with our story.
When I first told my mother “Mummy, I want to go to Mumbai and study in the St. Xavier’s college. Then her first reaction was “But Ajay, how are you going to manage alone? And do you think that I will be able to live without you here in Delhi?”
It was so strange that my parents, who gave me the knowledge of everything, made me independent regardless of my blindness and who never took my visual impairment as a barrier in my ability to achieve anything, were now scared. Perhaps they thought my disability to be the biggest obstacle in my life. I overheard my father tell my mom on a phone call “How can we send him to Mumbai? Probably if all was right then it would not have been an issue. How will he manage alone?” Only then I realised that it’s going to be a tough job to convince both.
Amid all these debates and discussions, I finally filled the application to the St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Now it was the game of waiting – to wait for the first merit list which was to be displayed on the college website on the 17th of August. The day came and at sharp 11 in the morning I opened the website. As it happens to every student on an important day, the site crashed. I was both angry and nervous.
After several attempts, I saw the list. I was going through all the names one by one. I can’t tell you the feeling at that moment when I scrolled through the names. When each name went by, I thought that perhaps the next one would be ‘Ajay Kharb’ but that was not the case, at least for some good five minutes.
It was finally on the 4th page of that list that my name was typed and that was it! I shouted and announced it to the entire family. My phone would not stop ringing for next 4-5 hours that day as many of my friends (who were more excited than me to see me getting into Xavier’s) saw the merit list and were super happy.
My Principal, Dr Annie Koshi Ma’am, for whom it was like her “resolution for the year” to see me get admitted to St. Xavier’s Mumbai, was as much happy as my parents. My teachers were delighted too. I was finally a part of the most prestigious institution of the country – St. Xavier’s College Mumbai, one of the top ranked college for arts in the country.
Would you like to know how I finally convinced my parents to send me to Mumbai ? Well! With the help of Koshi ma’am! We had a small interaction with my parents and they agreed to send me to Mumbai to fulfil my dreams.
There are some people in this entire journey without whom probably I could not have got this confidence and belief in myself. My school St Mary’s, my principal Dr Annie Koshi ma’am and my parents are on the top of the list. They have made me what I am today. Koshi Ma’am was right there whenever I required her during my admission process, and even now when I have got in she is still there to support me in any way I need her. I thank you all for all that you have done for me through this small journey of mine. This article is a small gesture to express my gratitude towards all those who have been supportive, and have been right there whenever I required their assistance.
Thank you so much!
Cover Image: Wonder Baby
Story Images: Author
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