There has been a lot of buzz in our little world lately. COVID cases are skyrocketing, a lot of people are suiciding, scams, class 10, and 12 results were published and more. 

It has been 10 years since I got my class 10 results. I remember the buzz and the excitement and the relief of knowing my results and knowing that they met everyone’s expectations. Little did I know then that it would be the last time I reached or exceeded the expectations of my family and well-wishers. 

By the time, my class 10 results were announced I was already in the coaching class- a tiny person in a tightly packed class. I should have known from the very beginning that I did not fit in there and that coaching class was not compatible with my learning style. But no, I had read self-help books and decided to muster the last of my energy in surviving the ordeal of those two years. And I did survive-barely but surely.

Two years later I had my first shot at entrance test, something for which I should have been prepared considering the two years of “coaching”. But it was nothing to write home about. I got admissions to good colleges, but they weren’t “great” and my board results weren’t “spectacular”. So, I did what I felt was right, I set off to right the wrong. Another year of coaching- another mistake. The second shot at entrance was no better and I meandered my way into engineering. Throughout my engineering course, I had only one motto- “don’t be an embarrassment”. So, fun was not a priority for me. I kept my head low and focused on getting through B.Tech and when I got a “decent” placement I was happy. But then again, the offer package wasn’t “amazing” or “fabulous”. 

So, I did what I felt to be the next right thing. Prepared to bell the CAT. Again, in my first attempt, I only managed “good” colleges and in my second attempt, I landed a “better” college. I was happy when I got my admission letter, but that happiness was short-lived because soon I was on the pursuit of “being good enough” at the prestigious college. I continued doing what I felt to be right only to find out that I was wrong more times than I would care to admit. In the end, I got placed in a “good” company, nothing great mind you. I hoped to get something better as a dream company, but those dream companies never came. And then I came home and shut off all thoughts about job and immersed myself in simple pleasures of life. Then corona virus and COVID-19 created unprecedented panic. I was happy when I finally got my offer letter from the “good” company because it has been a wave of revoked offers and people being asked to step down. I felt happy to have a job.

And then today happened, after all this time, after over 10 years I couldn’t help but look back and sigh at the many twist and turns I took. I couldn’t help but wish that my life was more of Dijkstra’s algorithm (which is an algorithm for finding the shortest paths between nodes in a graph) and not the meandering river that it has been. 

Maybe I’m overreacting, or maybe I’m genuinely lost. I don’t know. Self-help books might suggest that I count my blessings and honestly, I have been blessed, but then I have stopped dealing with self-help. And I can’t help feeling empty, lost and miserable…

In hindsight, there were two major problems in the last 10 years. The first one was learning style and the second was not knowing what I wanted. For the first ten years of my formal education, I was taught to commit facts to memory and reproduce it for exams. And forever since 2010, I have been expected to “understand”, learn, remember, and reproduce. Honestly, I had a hard time adapting to the new learning model where the emphasis was on learning yourself and not on spoon-feeding. 

In 2010 I did not know what I wanted to become i.e., the choice of a professional career. I imagined I might become a doctor, but I became an engineer and then a management graduate. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the life I’m living now. Today if there was a shooting star or a wish granting fairy, I would ask for knowing what I truly want. What would make me happy? What would make my heart go racing? What would make me contented with my life? 

I guess the reason why my life was not Dijkstra’s algorithm- the shortest path from here to eternal happiness is that I did not and still don’t know what happiness is and what success is. It is said that “success is not a destination but a journey”, my problem is I did not know which road I should take.    

Hoping for a better tomorrow and some mental clarity.

Signing off,

A meandering lost soul.

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