Graphic by Anirudh Bhattacharya

I have always had plans, agreed that I am not a micro planner but I have always had a general idea of where I saw myself in a few years and these ideas have always been accompanied by general plans, like colleges I want to go to, degrees I have to get, internships that I definitely have to do, cities I have to visit and skills I have to develop. I like sticking to those plans and I have been working towards making them a reality from a very young age, and even if the plans kept changing, I would always have a path ready to walk on, a path that would inevitably lead me to the end goal.

I was in Class 8 when I knew that Humanities was the stream for me, that my interest lay in the mysteries hidden beneath the ground, in the human mind, in plain sight, and unfortunately for me, in the gross domestic product of made-up nations. On track and in tandem with my plans, I graduated from school with flying colors and a score good enough to get me a seat in the premier institutes, however, life and universities of India had different plans for me. In 2018, riding on the high wave of my board marks, I had only applied to four universities, one had a super competitive entrance exam and I couldn’t get in by one point, the second one had put a stay order on admissions until further notice and the third one conducted the interview on the same day as my rescheduled Economics board exam, which left me with my fourth and least favourite choice, University of Delhi. I remember feeling nothing but dread at the mention of spending the next three years in Delhi. Even if somehow I made peace with going to the University of Delhi, there was my desired degree to consider. My entire plan was derailed and for the first time in my life, I had no idea what I was doing or how things would fare out. A month later, I moved to Delhi, to study a subject I had no idea about, in a college that was far from the brick corridors of my dream college. A hasty decision and zero preparedness later, I was there, sitting in a class that couldn’t even accommodate all its students and with fans that didn’t really make a difference. 

It took me eight months, eight months of constantly crying, feeling like a failure, and barely functioning to get over the fact that things had not gone my way. Three years later, with my graduation less than a month away, I think this derailed version of my plan is the best thing that could have happened to me. After all, it was in Delhi that I found the things worth fighting for and causes I believe in. It was in Delhi that I realized my love for theatre and old ruins, my love for traveling, and rediscovered my knack for writing. It was here that I found a lot of myself and my voice.

I have never been the kind of person who sees the glass half-full, believe me, I have tried, time and again but I do have faith, after numerous things working out in the most unexpected ways for me, that life finds its way and whatever happens, happens for the better even though the 13-year-old me would disagree vehemently. 

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