No, No, No. You will not go out of Lucknow to study and there will be no further discussion on this.
My father’s diktat was reeling inside my mind like a movie – Forward, Rewind, Play | Forward, Rewind, Play – Not pausing even for a second.
I wanted to see the world, explore, live in a hostel, study in the best college and pursue my dreams – which was impossible to do in the conservative and male chauvinist colleges of Lucknow. Also, there was no comparison to Delhi, whatsoever.
Delhi was my dream destination for my higher education. I had been planning and thinking about it for past three years of graduation. But now everything was getting washed away in my tears.
No, I won’t cry any more. I won’t let it go. I have to do something. I decided to sit for the entrance exam of JNU not only to test my academic competence but also to test my luck and faith in God. I wasn’t demanding anything wrong, then why should I be denied this.
This was going to be tough as all this had to been done without letting my father know about this. My mom and sister would be of no help for it was a direct challenge against my dad. I was all alone in this.
From where will I get money to buy books to prepare for entrance and money for form filling?
Well, as Shahrukh Khan famously said, “Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho … to puri kainath usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”. A friend of mine, Akansha, decided to give away her books to me. My resolve found strength now.
My final year graduation exam dates were overlapping with entrance exam. I couldn’t afford to foil any one of it. I somehow had to manage both. I would study for final year exam till 12 in the night and from 12 to 3 or 4 in the morning, I would study for entrance exams.
“You are studying for long hours these days”; dad asked one day.
I skipped a beat. Did he somehow find out that I am preparing for entrance exams?
“I want to do really good in final year exams so I have to study hard”, I replied and thankfully he seemed convinced.
Entrance exam day was declared. The problem now was on what pretext to get out of the house for a few hours.My friend Swati and her fake birthday came to my rescue.
After hours of dialogue practice, Swati finally managed to call my dad. With trembling voice she said, “Uncle, I am throwing my birthday party at my house tomorrow noon. Can Gitanjali come? My brother will drop her back safely.”
My dad agreed.
I was set for the exams.
I passed the entrance exam. I approached my dad with the results.
“I knew you were upto something. I was testing you. Had I not put this challenge, you would have never got the push to study so hard. I am proud of you”, dad said.
What, are you serious? Will you let me study in Delhi?
Yes, I will.
This is my story of taking a bold step towards pursuing my dream, against all odds. I am a proud pass-out of JNU which I will cherish all through my life.
You too, take a bold step and follow our dreams.
This story was inspired by Start a New Life initiative by Indiblogger.