Sunday, March 31, 2013

Aim Inclusion

When I went in for my first counselling for admission into engineering, my cousin brother was in his final year, belonging to the electronics and communication discipline. He was a diploma holder, and thus had gained direct entry into the second year of engineering, having evaded the counselling process. He had no idea what I was going through. When I called him up after my counselling to tell him that I secured a seat in the mechanical discipline, instead of congratulations, this is what I heard, "Tu pagal hogayi hai?? Ladki hokar mechanical leli! Kaise survive karegi? Pata bhi hai mechanical kitni tough hoti hai! Tu toh gayi... Ab meri baat sunn, ghabra matt, second counselling mein upgrade karwa lena. Theek hai?"

I didn't say a word. I handed the phone to my dad, and choked back on my tears. Not because I was sad that I had mechanical, but because of the reaction it had invoked. "Couldn't he have been happy for me?", I thought.

Dad smiled, he had understood. He said, "Don't worry beta, achi stream hai, evergreen! Cars toh hamesha chalengi na ;) "

My mom wasn't happy either, but that was a mother's worry, and not some judgmental ordinance passes so thoughtlessly. Same story with parents' friends, their friends, relatives and other people I didn't give a damn about, nut who had lots of advise to give to me. (India hai, yahan free advice metric tonne ke hisab se milti hai :p )

Did I change my stream later on? No, I didn't. Did I even try to? No, I didn't. I began feeling proud of my choice, and defending it whole-heartedly. Working and growing in it, and constantly trying to prove to everybody that my aim isn't lesser than anybody else's because of my gender, that my choices and knowledge deserve to be respected irrespective of my gender, that my inclusion in a workforce is decided by my capability, and nothing else.

I, along with my team mates, went on to participate in the SAE BAJA 2012 event (pronounced as "baha"; for the uninitiated, kindly google it before proceeding further). I would love to say that the event was devoid of any gender biases, but sadly this wasn't the case. I say this because amongst other things, one of my fellow participants commented on my team mate during the event, "Ye toh Delhi ki ladkiyan hain, apna rape bhi kara lengi." She told me about it later.

The person who said this didn't win anything. My team won the chairman's award. And of all the teams whose cars had broken down, mine was the only one which didn't give up. We had a transmission failure, thrice, and yet we didn't give up. Repaired it each time, and completed the four hour long endurance run. And to the gentleman who made the rape comment, if you are reading this sir, please know that I intend to punch you in the face the next time your misfortune brings you in my path.

Stay Hungry, But Not Foolish

We all know about the dreadful months that followed the Xth board examinations... to coach or not to coach? Naraina or Brilliant Tutorials? Oh, there is also Aakash, Sri Chaitanya and the legendary VMC classes for the brainy! Or should I go for some lesser known institute like Guidance, or maybe PI??

Needless to say, these were not the questions that were raging in my mind at that time :p I instead kept devising schemes to deter dad from sending me to coaching. I wanted to be 'different' you see! Except for the fact that I had no clue how or what :p My interests kept varying on an hourly basis from a corporate mogul to an IAF officer, from an entrepreneur to an artist, from a dancer to a RAW agent :p All I knew was that I didn't want to be an engineer or a doctor, because that's what everybody was doing.

Well, my dad, being my dad, succeeded in sending me to Brilliant Tutorials. And again needless to say, I sulked and rebelled and sulked some more and refused to study and made everybody's life a hell. I detested the place, simply because it wasn't of my own choosing. To rebel some more, I started squandering my time in school as well. Disregarding classes and teachers, hanging out in the canteen and ground, not studying for tests...my previously good percentage dropped dramatically. And I still didn't give a shit.

In XIIth I fell in love. Life was heaven itself. Except that everyone else was gearing up for the upcoming competitive exams, save me. Boyfriend kept urging me to study, I paid no heed. When the gravity of the situation finally struck me, it was too late, and panicking was all that could have been done. AIEEE result. Disaster. Utter disaster.

I had let daddy down, and yet he hugged and consoled me. I let myself down, I couldn't face the mirror.

God perhaps had some pity, and I got into a reputed college in Delhi called IGIT, despite everything. It was like an undeserved second chance I got. And that was the day I swore to myself that I'll never let dad down again. And more importantly, never lose my own dignity.

Today I realize how utterly foolish I had been, and how we disregard our parents in our strong-headedness. It's good if we try and do something different in our lives, but it's equally important that we don't block ourselves to the available options. Today, I'm in my third year of mechanical engineering, have won an award in the SAE BAJA 2012 competition, am the treasurer of my SAE IGIT collegiate club, organized a Northern India Section SAE Convention with my friend Whizkid (who is the chairman) and a few more things. I am glad I got my chance, and I intend to make the most of it.

Until later, Cuidate!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

iltija

खुदा तुझसे इतनी सिफारिश 
कि जब भी हो गम की बारिश
वो मेरे लिए रहे ना रहे 
मैं उसके लिए हमेशा रहूँ 
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