Failing the failures
"If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with something original"_Ken Robinson
I was a normal school kid, topper in every class and brilliant in extra curriculars. In CBSE Xth Board Exams, I was as usual the topper of my class. Although, being an introvert from all these years had created frustration in my mind. Plus, the over-confidence of being a topper throughout my school life, made me careless towards studies and I started enjoying my life as a teenager. The XIIth CBSE Board results came out in 2012 and I scored nearly 20% less marks as compared to previous board exams. Although, I didn't feel bad at all because my dreams were big. I always wanted to get admission into the top premier Engineering Institutes known as IIT's in India. In 2012, I lost the IIT cutoff just by 5 marks and therefore took an year drop to appear for the exam in 2013!
I was confident that this time, I will definitely get into one of the IIT's and therefore from a small city like Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, I shifted to the "City of Dreams-KOTA, Rajasthan". I was working hard to achieve my goals, leaving all the home sickness and emotions aside. But, one fine day I got to know that the whole pattern of IIT and AIEEE has been changed and now they are combined to be known as JEE-Mains and JEE-Advanced. The sad news was that, only students who belonged to the top 20% of the students in CBSE Board Exams were eligible to sit for the Advance Exam. This broke my heart, I was only 2% away from what I always wanted to be and like me all the other students were sad. A chaos was created at all the premier coaching institutes in KOTA and everyone was taking their money back from the institutes and were returning home. This was "Failure No.-1" of my life, when without thinking anything and waiting for further decision by Education Ministry for recently pass out students, I returned back to my home town. I appeared for the CBSE Board Exams again in 2013 along with the JEE-Mains Exam. I failed to crack even the Mains exam because of the trauma I went throughout the year and people even said that I have failed in board exams and therefore I am sitting at home doing nothing. All these rumors and the fear of failing, didn't let me crack the exam and I landed up into some random college at Nagpur, India.
At College, I used to feel depressed each morning because of my decisions and carelessness that I got admission into this college. I used to feel that, my frequency is not matching with the other students and I ultimately lost interest in attending classes. After first year exams got over and before the results came, my father passed away, leaving behind a 13 YO brother and a housewife mother. In that year, I forgot about my college, my studies and everything. I used to travel back home from Nagpur to look after my mom and my brother. We (my brother and I) taught everything to my mom like withdrawing cash from ATM, riding a moped, paying bills etc. She finally took up a job and learned everything from scratch. Her confidence and struggle made me realize that nothing is impossible unless you are willing to do it. I started doing virtual internships with startups to earn pocket money. I ended up interning with more than 15 startups and 1 big giant in the industry. I also did, 10+ campus ambassador roles with different colleges and websites.
One day I got a chance to attend "International Women's Day Celebration" at Google, Hyderabad and I got to meet my awesome women,not only from India but from abroad too. This changed my vision about Technology and specially how more women from small cities can be brought closer to these opportunities. And therefore, I organised first ever "Django Girls Nagpur Workshop" to teach women about how to build websites using django and python for free which was a part of DjangoGirls.Org (an international organisation to promote women in technology). It was very challenging to organise such an all-women programming event in a tier-two city like Nagpur but ultimately I did it. I received a lot of praises from people inside and outside Nagpur. I also started my own Mozilla Club (Mozilla.org) to promote web literacy and taught school kids and teachers.
Finally, I have made my passion to teach and to organise events into a profession by launching GirlScript Foundation. GirlScript is an Indian organisation that helps women in technology by organizing free events and workshops for them. In a month only, we established two different chapters in two different cities namely Bhopal and Nagpur. We are also up with Pune, Ahemdabad and Delhi Chapters now and soon will be launching GirlScript there. When I get positive response from any attendee of the workshop, it makes me feel good and today I have forgotten about all the failures of my life and decided that there is no looking back now!