This article was submitted to Ergo by Sivashrita Bhardwaj, a first-year at the NLU-Odisha.
It started out as a homely, not-so-serious discussion about my career. My grandmother wished out loud to see me as a doctor some day. My parents wanted me to pursue engineering. All I did was sit and reflect on how little they know me. I will not say that they didn’t care about my aspirations; they most definitely did. What I am saying is, after 18 years of nurturing me and practically moulding all my emotions and thoughts, their knowledge about my inclinations was surprisingly shallow. I wanted to be a journalist. Or maybe study linguistics. Or kind of lose myself in the world of literature. Well, I hope you feel me. In short, I wanted to do something related to literature. They knew about my love for literature. They used to behave like all typical Indian parents when I used to read Khaled Hosseini or Paulo Coelho instead of H.C.Verma or Himanshu Pandey (yes, I was a science student). To cut the long story short, after a lot of ‘haggling’, both the parties settled on the law. Integrated law, to be precise.
I am not gonna tell you all about my journey from the last board exam to the CLAT exam to the CLAT results to NLUO. No. In a nutshell, I did crack CLAT in the first attempt (surely not a mammoth of a deal, many of us did). And then I came to NLUO. A promising university, with an equally promising scope for a bright future, and most importantly, located in my own state. Seemed like I had landed a jackpot. And to be honest, the glamour of law, the fame, the power, the monetary factor, and all the “good only on the surface” things swayed me away from literature. I literally stopped reading and writing. I don’t have any answer to why I felt that law and literature are two different worlds(now my perception has changed, though). In my first semester here, something happened. Maybe I couldn’t bear to live away from my parents, maybe the fact that I didn’t make friends here in the blink of an eye (like most others did), maybe the loneliness, maybe the guilt of forgetting literature- I still cannot pin down the exact reason for why I did, what I did. The act of giving in to a weak moment, the act of calling my mom one night and telling her that I wanted to leave the university, the act of telling anyone who would hear how unhappy I was here, the act of submission to my emotions. One act and my life changed.
I did go back home for a month. All I could see was hatred for me in the eyes of those people who used to be proud of me. Hatred because I traumatized my parents to the extent that they gave up on eating properly. The pleading eyes of my parents- pleading to change my decision and go back to college- haunted me. And I was constantly reminded of that. To top it off, I was expected to be guilty of taking a decision for myself, of focusing on the long run of my life, of wanting to go back to linguistics. I was guilty- not because of my decision, but because I was getting weaker by each passing day at home. I realised, I was slipping into depression. I was afraid. The fact that a girl like me- so robust, the “lady don” of my school, so lively- was going into depression, scared me to death. I decided to fight it off. I decided to escape home and get back to NLUO. The reason- I realised that law didn’t terrify me, the overconfidence of some people here did. And then it hit me, I was actually the fool here. Anyways, I came back and re-commenced my classes. What did I see here? Mocking smiles on people’s faces, rolled eyes of girls when I answered something in the class, seclusion from all the “groups”. Well, from smoke to smother. Those people who considered me a headstrong girl in the first month of my first semester now considered me a weak-willed and an indecisive person. This was new to me. Even certain teachers chose to ignore me. It was getting difficult to cope with everything here. But eventually, I warded off the negativity. I realised what my purpose here is- to study law and contribute my part to make the society a better place to live in. I began trusting myself again. I didn’t fail in any paper, much to most of the people’s surprise. And with that, I gained back the respect of my parents and relatives. Most importantly, I got back the peace of my mind- my solace.
Being different is not a sin. Deciding to battle for your individuality is not a crime. Deciding not to socialise with the “herd” is in no way ‘un-cool’. Whatever happened to me, must have happened to many others out there. One weak decision cannot change my personality. People considering me weak and inconsequential cannot change my perception about myself. I believe, being an 18-year-old, I have shown a lot of courage and taken a stand- a stand against the negativity. I do not think that the people who made fun of me are ‘bad people’. Everyone is good. I do wish, though, that before labelling me something that I am not, people should have at least tried to understand my mental condition. Had they been in my place, what would have they done?
I wrote about my experience to elucidate on a very sensitive issue. The issue of battling against your own demons. It is very important for us to understand and reflect on this issue because this can happen to anyone. I know, some of you reading this article must be going through a similar phase in your lives. I urge you people to be brave and fight the negativity off. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You will get there, trust me. And to those who know that your friends are having some troubles in coping with the stress- lend your hands to them. Don’t mock at them. A few moments of laughter for you can prove to be a lifetime of damage for someone, you never know.
DISCLAIMER: The views represented above are that of the author alone and do not reflect the views of the magazine, Ergo. No legal liability or other responsibility is accepted by or on behalf of Ergo for any errors, omissions, or statements on this site, or any site to which these pages connect. We accept no responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of reliance on such information.