Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life changing moments, really?

Our lives are governed by a random set of fleeting moments that, with the passage of time, it is rather easy to realize which of those are going to assume significance. It is the way we play these moments that propel our way forward, for good or bad. These moments, when viewing in retrospect, define whether we have moved well in time. Of course, whatever happens, we move ahead in time, but the way we move forward rests exclusively on these testing times.

As I bring back these nostalgic moments in life, moving back and forth, with a chain of events that has transformed me considerably in the last so many years, I am not sure whether I could have altered my life by taking a different course of action. Looking back, it is easy to say which are the right decisions, and which of those, if I had gone with the other choice, could have got me in a much better position. I say, one or the other, because all important decisions are taken from one of the two choices that we are presented with. The others cancel by itself.

School life had taken a toll on me, as I wound my way through the much dreaded public examinations. I was fed up of listening to the This is the most crucial examination of your life. By the end of the exams, I had come to a conclusion, that this indeed is the most important moment of my life. As friends and alike poured through books and project materials to find out what exactly happened in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was a sheer battle of will to find out details about tiny nuances of the past that was actually, shaping our future. What do I care how the climatic conditions affect the rest of the world? In any case, I could predict rains on the days I went out, because the going outs were rare, and so was the rain. Magically, they seemed to coincide beautifully. I always had this heady feeling that I was a cool dude when it came to Mathematics, only to realize years later, during my Masters program, how easily, that I could change opinions on things that I was absolutely sure of years ago.

As the results of my tenth exams were announced, the possibility of getting into college for I PU and II PU left me with an exhilarating feeling. Now, nobody can question my authority; after all, I have entered college, I thought. I could not take even the first year easy, and in the second year, I slogged like as if there is no meaning in life, if I got anything less than a fantastic percentage (don't ask me how much I got though) in exams. Again, this is the important exam in life, surfaced repeatedly, much to my annoyance. If you can get into a good Engineering college, you just don't have to worry for the rest of your life. Now, I could not understand why tenth results were so important, because, irrespective of which college you went to, tuition classes ruled the roost in the second year. Luckily, there were no subjects apart from basic sciences, but you just had to see the general attitude when it came to handling language classes. Nobody cared for it, as if studying languages was a sin. Just concentrate on PCMB (Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology); why worry about overall percentage, when only PCMB marks are counted for professional courses. Get a good rank and get into a top college; placements will be a cake walk.

I don't have to say how my Engineering life went ahead, with the usual cliched dialogues, and the life changing importance talk given by the general public. After having written well over five hundred exams and tests in my twenty years of the Indian education system, I felt liberated, after having had to get through the grueling system of theoretical studies. Studying for engineering exams was way different from school and college exams. The way I used to prepare for the exams, I doubted whether I could retain any subject knowledge even one second after the exam.

So, at every stage, even after I joined work, and moved on in life, I always wonder how many choices we actually have in life. All that I have done till now is to choose one college over the other or one job over the other. Nothing more than that, really! I think our real decision making process rests once we come out of education. Maybe I just have to wait and watch to capture that one moment that can change my life altogether!!!


  1. Yes, yes, yes!! the thing about people telling you that tenth n 12th are the 'most crucial' exams is soo right. I really don't understand why though!! i was the kid who never studied hard in my life, n after 10th, when they scared u so much, you started working harder like 'there was no meaning in life' yes....now even i wonder, was that worth it? rightly said!! (an the part of languaes being ignored it right too!)

  2. Yes !! I have had tht "crucial stage" talk given to me by various people!! And later I realised that it was not so crucial afterall... every year right from 10th to final year B.E. seemed like if I messed it up I would be no where..But then in the end all worked out quite ok...And that's not where it has ended. There is so much more coming...So in my opinion..I am just gonna tke it as it comes...and enjoy while I can :)

  3. very well written praveen..speaking in a broader context, i think there's always something that one is going after, just to realize that it was just one stage and the next goal is already setup..the only thing is ur elders force u, when u r a kid, and when u grow up,circumstances force u. but as u have aptly concluded, its after coming out of the education system, that one really gets a chance to exercise a choice ( in the real sense :) ) although, many of the decisions will have limited influence, one will come across life changing moments ( and u know what i mean :D ), when u go for the kill. So just bide ur time ;) ( wishing u a bullseye!! :) )

  4. it is rightly said...don't let your schooling interfere with your education...:)
    crucial decisions made are usually based on education rather than schooling...

  5. It is good to know that everybody feels that way, and that I don't gave to feel like an odd man out!!! Sameer, am not sure how much of a say we will have in other thing as well..Knowing us, I guess you know what I mean :-)

  6. Praveen,

    I definitely agree with you, in being led to believe that exams were the most important thing in life in XI and XII and that life will be in dumps if we don't succeed.
    I do agree with you about the mindless tuition going and so many tuition exams and stuff.
    However, pal I feel today we are able to make such comments of meaningless exams standing on the better side of the picture (The grass is always greener on the other side :-)). Probably there is something on this better side which people on the other side don't have (and envy) and we people don't know or feel too trivial to appreciate.
    This darker side might have been seen by people around us who in turn led us to believe all the blah blah... and make it to the better side.
    Either way, we are on the better side and let's hope to be there for as long as we can!!!!!!