‘Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let your life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?’ Shams thought about one of the Forty Rules of Love, when I put the bookmark at page 101. The words by Elif Shafaq always left me mesmerized and wondering if ever I could apply all these forty rules in my life.
Being someone who has never left home even for a single night, it became extremely difficult for me to adjust in the new hostel life where I am not known and I know nobody. The thought of independence excited me always and not a single day in my life has gone without the enthralling thought about living on my own. There is a lot more to the word independence than freedom, freedom is not something I seek. Its independence that fascinates me. But coming here, I realized how difficult it is.
I didn’t want to stop reading the novel but I couldn’t resist watching the section wars- basketball match between two sections of my seniors at Institute of Management Technology. I wanted to play but I was scared of the humiliation that I will have to face because I have never played any sport in my entire life. The match was coming to an end, the ball had to touch one of the basket nets to decide the result. And they scored!
While everyone had already wiped off the sweat of efforts and hard work and breathless players had almost left the court, there was one of my seniors still playing there, alone. I sat there with the sun setting down and lights around the stadium began to light up one by one. He came to me sensing my willingness to learn, I suppose and I told him that I am afraid of being too bad. He asked me to pick up a stone from the ground and throw it in the fresh mud puddle right across the court. I laughed but looking at his serious face, I did it. I sunk right in.
“If you can manage to throw that stone right where you had to, you can play.”
“If it wouldn’t have gone in, then what would you have said?”
“I wouldn’t have said anything because without me saying anything, you would have picked another one and threw it in and would have continued till the time it didn’t hit where it had to.”
He was right. The very moment, I went to the court to play. No friends, no known faces and here I am, playing with someone I barely know. I was too afraid to be judged but it took me no time to realize that all those eyes that saw me playing were either the sparkling eyes of those who waited for their turn, like I always had or the eyes of those who had been through the jittery feeling of having to learn something even after being afraid of something or the other. They didn’t care how I played. Actually, they did because these are the people who were calling out the cheering screams and encouraged me. I left a family of six when I came here and found a family of 720 instead.
IMT taught me a lot. From the crying alone on the terrace to frequent calls at home, I learnt that I have learned a lot. The red bricks seemed more like a shield protecting me from the outside as well as from inside, making me stronger, newer. Three months in the campus, today I boarded the flight for home and I finally know that I am on my way to being an independent woman. Remembering those nights where I had no one to talk to and felt that I am falling down a cliff, here I am, sitting alone in this flight, flying high. Today, I know that the girl who fell is not the same lady who got up.
Mansi Rayat | PGDM 2016-18