Sayonara


‘Dream. And your Dreams will Come True…’

Everybody has reveries: dreams about the distant future, near future and a thousand other things. The disappointing results of my senior year and the still unnerving mark of JEE shattered many a dream of mine. Yet the hopes of getting admission in my “dream college” were far from getting extinguished. While attending the selection process for minority students, my dream was getting soured with each candidate choosing their college of choice. XIE was a disappointing distant choice as I never wanted to get admission through any quota.

I remember walking out with my parents after my admission to the Xavier Institute of Engineering through minority quota, when reverend Fr. John Rose called out to us and told me not to be disappointed and that I should work hard and make my parents proud for they have sweated out their hard earned money for my education. It has almost been four years since that day but I can’t recall any occasion when my parents showed any disappointment in me.

I had only heard about XIE when a few school friends spoke about some far off engineering college that existed next to St. Michael’s Church in Mahim. Today I spend an average of almost four hours daily, travelling to and fro from college, sometimes physically hurting but always energetic. As tiring as it may be, I’d still say XIE has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Meeting plenty of like-minded individuals and being nurtured by a hardworking and kind staff, I’ve grown from being a first year floundering Junior to being a final year exemplary Senior. Building relationships – be it with students (juniors or seniors), professors or with non-teaching staff – played a huge role in XIE as much as being engrossed in books did. It isn’t important how many of the relationships lasted or got lost but what mattered was how it shaped us to become what we are.

What many colleges fail to understand is the importance of nurturing the growth of students from their own comfort zones without burdening them with excessive stress by pressurizing them to fit pre-fixed moulds. At the same time it is necessary to ensure that students don’t take the Institute for granted. XIE created such an atmosphere for me that I could manage to keep calm and focused on my goals in tune with my abilities without letting lethargy overtake me, thereby bringing the best out of me.

Those long lasting moments of friendship, attending routine lectures to bunking a few, holding serious as well as funny conversations in the canteen, cheering and playing games at the ground, the never ending submissions and viva phase, loud and bright festive events and activities, fun filled picnics, post exam stress to nail biting result days are memories that I will cherish for life.

True, my dream wasn’t fulfilled in terms of getting admission in the college of my choice, but all my dreams came true exponentially in terms of what I wanted to achieve during my college life.

Virtue


Life in Mumbai is not easy they say. She never agreed to them. Here is why she feels the opposite.

               Walking through the city streets every day from morning to night, she was accustomed to be thrown out of places, spit on by strangers and heard abuses when she went close to them. It did not matter to her how ill-mannered people were. She considered it a part of the life she was living. Her life purpose was to reach out her hand and earn. To her, hard work meant putting up with the forces of the human race that pushed her down and stand strong without letting her determination to live, die within her. She did not have to worry about shelter, as the almighty would look after that necessity of hers. She wanted to feed and protect herself and the little one she dragged with her everywhere she went.

She found happiness in watching the stars at night, feeling the heat of the sun on her palms, watching people smile and munching fresh food. Her hunger to live nurtured her to be unspoilt and humble. She only took what she needed and gave all that she had in serving the ones who looked up to her. When she watched young girls pass by with books and school bags, she would sit on the road and use a small piece of white cement block to write letters and read them loud. She loved the attention she got from different people who appreciated her with some food and goodies. She would impress them with her dance moves and her sweet voice. Her sister banged an old steel plate with hands to make music. Very few paid attention to her happiness. Not many knew what this young child goes through every day.

She is considered a dirt, that filths the nation. Yet she loved her country and her people. She would sell tiny flags on Independence Day and pin one onto her half-torn clothes. She would peep through the holes of a school compound and watch the flag hoisting. She knew the anthem and proudly sang it with pride. Her own people never accepted her yet she loved them so much.

Why did it not bother her that nobody cared when she fell ill and threw her to the dogs when she came for water? What is that about the city that still kept her to her feet?

               It has only been 6 years since she has been in this world and yet she has a wisdom that even a learned cannot have. It is simple she says. If every time in life you are only going to see the dark, you will always remain in the dark. When a candle is lit in a dark room, no matter how small the flame is, it brightens every corner of the room. That is why she does not cry over all the times people have trampled over her. She instead remembers all those who came to her rescue during her desperation.

As she walked pass a few cars, begging for coins, one shiny car opened their door and gave her a plastic bag filled with some new clothes. It was Diwali, a time for new clothes to flaunt. She grabbed the bag and ran across the road and took out each item one after the other and examined them. She was choosy and found one that she liked the most. She kept back rest of the clothes, handed the bag to one of the elders and said, “Tai ye hum kal subah meri baaki saheliyon ko baatengey. Kripyiya isse surakshit jagah pey rakhna.” (Translation: “Sister, please keep this bag safe with you. Tomorrow morning we shall distribute these clothes to my friends.”)

If only we can learn something from her. She might look poverty-stricken. Yet her heart is richer than ours is.