The year 1995. The city Patna. Reeling under the anarchy of the existing political regime, a state of unrest ensued. Women, particularly stepping out of their homes were at their most vulnerable. Yet that didn’t stop us. Fresh out of the dates of the green gates of the citadel, an all girls’ convent school which, till date had done a commendable job of moulding, nurturing and fending us. Now, it was our turn of assimilating, absorbing and putting everything we had learned so far to test in the big, bad world lurking outside this citadel and understandably I was nervous, filled with trepidation but at the same time exhilarated since this day had come to me at great cost. Financial constraints had all but put a spanner on my further education till my lone mother and I decided to tweak things. I decide to do my bit to earn my education so this day was even more of a validation for my aspirations.
No matter how well-prepared we feel we are on our first day at college, the truth remain that straight out of high school , we are still largely naive, artless, gullible in the functioning of the outside world. College, is portrayed as our first step into being independent selves and indeed, it is a liberating experience where the shackles of childhood are set aside and our individuality ascertains itself in the right environment. The first step outside the home on my own, hailing an auto to take me to the gates of the sprawling white campus that was going to be my home for the next three years is still so fresh in my mind.
Everything was just as I had imagined it to be. The influx of new students, the hurried search for the classrooms allotted, the making of new friends, till a moment came in which I decided to change the course of my life irreversibly. I had no clue how momentous the day was going to be till I attended the fresher’s induction class and sat glued to the soporific voice of our reverend Principal looming large on the mic andas I absorbed the full impact of her final partingwords “Let this institution be the tarmac to chase your passion, not fulfil your ambitions.” This chasm between ambition and passion is what I had been trying to figure out all these days and the moment of self-realisation struck me like bolt of lightning that perhaps I was at the wrong place.
I walked out from the hall, went into the admission office and promptly changed my majors from Science to English without missing a beat. It was to my immense good fortune that back home my mother nevervolunteered any opinion to the contrary, on this account , only listening to the confession of what I had done with a ‘ Do well’ pat .
From coming to terms with the fact that ‘jeans’ is strictly prohibited within premises even in such a liberated environment to meeting teachers who would broaden my thinking and opening my mind to unimaginable proportions to making friends who would stick together even after so many years it was a day of momentous significance. My only wish is that let no constraining factor ever inhibit a person, serious about pursuing higher education, from experiencing this day.
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