I had never been a good student. I feared science and maths and, quite understandably, wanted to pursue arts in Intermediate. But precisely because of peer pressure I opted science (biology) and did everything in the coming two years except study. There was only one option before me — skip the exams.
It was a mistake. I should have appeared and known that I did not belong. Another year rolled by and I did not even notice. Needless to say, I did not study this time around too.
The inevitable happened. Single-digit marks in some subjects made me feel like vanishing. Every single person reacted to the disaster in his own way. Mummy did not get angry, which was very surprising. Bhaiya ridiculed me in the worst possible way every now and then. Friends could not do it but were very surprised as I might not be very studious but everyone around always thought of me as someone sharp and intelligent.
Next year, I put in a lot of effort. Not only did I pass and get good marks, I was confident about so many subjects for the first time. The failure proved my biggest success. I heard hard work always paid. Now, I knew it for a fact.
Three is a crowd, not always
Some years later, about a couple of months before the IIMC entrance test in 2005, I reached Delhi. Harsh and Shakti were already staying there in a room at Laxmi Nagar. We shared the room rent and other costs. Harsh had to attend his NIIT class and Dada used to study with me the whole day. I gave my everything. I did not want to lose this chance. At night, we would go out, have dinner and ice-cream and talk about several issues. While sleeping, I would often dream of making it to either IIMC or Jamia.
Since both Garimas were at that time doing internship in Delhi, we would often talk on the phone, go to the movies and spend time together. During my stay in Delhi, I learnt to use the Internet. At times, I would feel lonely and go to a nearby cyber café and write mails.
On top of the world
After the written test, I returned to Dumraon. On getting to know I have cleared the test, I again went to Delhi to prepare for the interview. I put in a lot of effort. The routine was almost the same. Dada would take me everywhere as I did not have any idea of bus routes in Delhi. In fact, I must thank both for showing me around Delhi and taking me to important places. While I prepared for the test, looking for a job was also a priority.
I met a few people and asked for a job giving the reference of people known well but to no avail. No one was willing to entertain a youth who was just a stringer. It was a good learning curve. They took me everywhere. Even after the interview was over, the final results got delayed for some reasons.
When I was about to leave Delhi, a got a message telling me that I had been selected but for the Dhenkanal campus. I and Shakti were waiting for a bus when I received the message. I soon hugged him. I called mummy, a few relatives and people I knew. We planed a party. Harsh, Shakti and the two Garimas got a treat and we went around the city. I returned the next day. The two girls also came to the station to see me off. I was very happy.
Getting the act together
Prior to I went to Delhi for preparation, I was in Patna for the same purpose. I stayed with Ataul. I followed a tough routine and hardly did anything except study. Before coming to Patna, I once heard a radio programme for those aspiring to get into a journalism institute broadcast by the BBC. Anand Pradhan Sir of IIMC Delhi was on show giving tips on how to prepare for the task. When I came to know that Gopu Bhaiya was his friend, I got his (AP’s) number and stayed in touch for a while. In Patna, There, I stayed in touch with him through mails. The communication helped me immensely.
During my stint in Patan, I stayed away, perhaps for the first time since I began working for HT, from my daily routine, local friends back home and the excitement of being there and almost doing that. I had sent a mail to my office informing them I was out of station for some personal reasons. I did it even as knew full well no body really cared for stringers in districts. They are remembered only when something major happens in their area of jurisdiction. And this was more than evident from the fact that no body bothered to reply. While studying almost around the clock, I did get to see some events taking place in Buxar and its adjoining areas. And I almost felt like covering those issues. It’s very difficult to stay away from work if you have been a reporter.