“I felt like frog out of the well” when I entered the land which I imagined will change my life and it did, but not the way I thought it would. I belong to a middle-class, conservative family from a small but beautiful town, where people are pure deep inside but are not modern and open minded. There are limited opportunities to explore. At first I had planned to do law and whenever I disclosed my plan to become a lawyer, people used to say, “being a girl you should not do law as it will have a negative influence on your matrimony”. But my family supported my decision and did not give heed to those people. So, I took coaching for CLAT for Rs. 50,000 (which is a huge amount for my family). People were not done when they demotivated me through their previous interactions, they went on saying “would you be able to crack the paper, I mean do you even study?”, “why did you chose such a field, why not b.tech. or something else, you must know that vocational courses are not good”. But again, I preferred to ignore them and finally got through I.P. university, Delhi and one of the best university in my home town, I took admission in latter and paid Rs. 35,000 as fees. Everybody was very happy that I got admission in government university which was affordable as well as near my home.
But destiny wanted something else, something which changed my life completely. 25/07/2016, supposed to be the first day of my home town university but became the turning day of my life. I went to O.P. Jindal Global University for admitting one of my known in that university, but who knew I would not come back myself. That ‘national flag waving above and yards waving down’, the infrastructure, the hospitality of the people, delicious mess food, sports court, the hostels, gym, everything enthral me deep inside, that at once, I forgot the length of my legs. I started dreaming in vain, and went to admission office to know if there was any chance that I can take admission in law without having given entrance test. But went home disappointed. I told my mother everything and blamed her of not letting me to fill the entrance exam form of the college. She made me lay down on her lap and explain me by waiving her soft finger through my hair that …
… “I also wanted my child went to the top most college, shop branded clothes, live a luxurious life, but we are restricted by our financial condition. We cannot afford to pay 7 lakhs as your fee. If we were able to then why would we stop you then”.
I kept dreaming to get an admission in that college, and that is the only way I thought, I could leave my home town and the government university of which I was sure will not provide me any opportunities to open my wings and discover myself. I went to O.P Jindal university again, my heart started illuminating and it seemed much more fascinating and lively. I could see people were playing, preparations for the DJ night were going on. I could imagine my life, I could see myself studying here, engaging in tasks which will help me to open up and discover my abilities and moreover I knew that I will live here happily and peacefully. I was determined to study here, so again I tried my luck and went to admission office and asked people for any other alternatives by which I could study law in that university, I wanted to take admission in this university in any way. So, they suggested a way out which was completely new to me, “to pursue B.A. international affairs”. So, I asked people about process for admissions and that can I take the admission now, because classes were going to start from the day after. They gave me a positive answer and told me the whole procedure. I finally took admission and got scholarship. When people around me got to know about this, all were very sceptical and no one appreciated my decision.
“Is she mad, that she chose a private university over a government university and left for which people are dying to get admission in”, “she got very good marks in 12th then why she did not apply for DU, why is she doing B.A, of which doesn’t provide a straight path for her future” “she is very immature to understand her family’s condition and is a burden on her family” was all I got from my relatives and neighbours.
I was very optimistic and was indifferent what people thought about me. I asked my parents to let me study there by taking a study loan. I took admission with the responsibility of the repaying loan and to fulfil my parent’s expectations.
I never thought what future holds for me. When my life started away from my protected zone, I realised why people say life is not always bed of roses.
Every single moment spent in this university taught me something. Everything was new, from social life to academic life, from people to environment. At times, I felt out of place because I felt different from others in the sense that I did not belong to a rich and high-class family, I did not listen songs or watch movies. I am not the person who shows off, as like others. So, I was not able to engage with the people for the first six months. The first six months were a challenge for me and I introspected myself and analyse the reality of the world. People hardly talked to me, even if they did, they only made fun of me, of my English, my dressing sense, and my personality. Sometimes, I heard people gossiping about me to such an extent that it wounded my heart. But that taught me to be patient and to rise above all the oddities. Being from a conservative environment, it was very difficult for me to adapt to the environment where the couples made out in open, used abusive language so frequently, consumed alcohol and drugs usually. I came to know that, this was the case not only in my college, but it was same at every place. I felt so low, depressed and backward that, at times, I burst into tears and there was nobody to wipe it off. Sometimes, I regretted my decision of forcing my parents to let me study here. I recalled my school days, where I neither felt inferior nor did I feel isolated because I was surrounded by my kind of people, the people from my locality. But my college made me realise that these feelings cannot always be foreign to me, this experience taught me how to adjust with the people from heterogenous societies. Of course, initially it was difficult to adjust as I used to have food but alone, which made it tasteless, ‘wounded’ but no one there to take care, excited for the events but no one to accompany. But someone rightly said that, ‘no one is alone, God is omnipresent’.
Next semester was a period of transformation, when I met people who were like the light bearers of my life. They lifted me up from the isolation and showed me a path to explore my life. They showed me, my strengths and weaknesses, and helped me to overcome on my weakness. They carved out a new person from me.
I felt like a ‘mountaineer’ now, who worked hard to ascend the mountains and later some people helped him to start and he rises without looking back. “There is reason behind every action” and I got the purpose behind my taking admission in this college. I found a new person in myself. I grew up in a very protected zone and never went outside my home alone. But now I am much more independent, experienced and matured as from my home town friends. Even though I learnt a lot, I knew deep down inside that it was just the beginning.