A PROMISE TO YOU
I will become me.
Illustrated by Esther Larisa David.
Dear Dilli wali mausi, Dubai waale maama, and Kolkata waale chaachaji ka beta,
Thank you for always asking me about the dates when my results would be declared and for regularly reading newspapers and forwarding their images to me on WhatsApp to remind me of the fact that Doomsday is indeed quite near.
I know that all of you have been waiting for my results with more eagerness than I myself have. I can only imagine your impatience for my results so that you can conduct a comparative analysis and tell me whether I fit in the baap ka naam roshan karega list or in the naak katwa di isne list.
I am really sorry but just like I have always disappointed you in the past; this time too is no exception.
I won’t be getting 90% marks in my class 12th board exams. The exception being Sharmaji, I believe this hurts all of you, right?
People sitting miles away from me would be hurt but here I am, sitting with an indifferent and an I-don’t-care attitude, writing an article you will never have the time to read. Strange.
No, I am not being an insensitive unapologetic child. I have seen the sacrifices that you have made to raise me. I have seen you embarrassed and insulted at PTA Meetings. I remember the times we did not talk for days. I am sorry for breaking your trust by walking on the wrong paths, by doing the wrong things with the wrong people. I regret wasting my time chasing girls whom I thought could be my “girlfriend” so that I could fit into the cool bunch of the school.
I have seen the hardships that I have made you go through. I have seen a lot. I wish that just for this once, you could see too.
I wish you could see all the efforts I put in. I wish you could see the all nighters I pulled off. I wish you knew that I was not lying when I used to go to Shubham’s house to study maths. I wish you could see in what manner I wasted my time in football, MUNs, and writing. How I wish if you could ever see me play, see me speak and read my writings. I wish you could hear the voices that have cheered for me or see the hands that have clapped for me or meet the people who have been touched by my writings.
As a child I used to dream of NASA and CERN. Discoveries, inventions, works of Einstein and Tesla fascinated me. By the age of 9, I had already read about relativity and time dilation. At the age of 11, my uncle introduced me to programming and I gradually developed a knack for it too. Football had always been my passion and after playing at the State and National levels, I saw myself going places. I started dreaming of pursuing football as a career.
And then amidst all the chaos and juggling between my academics and extra curricular activities, I found the calm I longed for in writing.
Then out of the blue, in times when people fall in love, I fell in law.
How I got here, I wonder.
The moment I tell someone that I want to become a lawyer, what flashes before their eyes is an image of a person chewing tobacco sitting with a rusty typewriter outside courts.
Say you want to be an artist and there’s an image of you sketching people at India Gate.
Say you want to be a comedian and people will instantly break into incessant bouts of laughter.
Perhaps this is what society has taught us all these years. People who stand out are the ones who are not standing in the same circle as the societal robots many of us have been programmed to become. We mock and belittle these people because they threaten our self image and make us question our own identity. Because people who have the courage to express themselves are more powerful than those who just follow what they believe is the right way, they are mightier than those who have lived their lives enslaved by public opinions and societal dogma. We have been taught to limit our dreams according to our abilities which in turn have been pre-determined and evaluated by others.
So, dear parents and all those genuinely concerned for me, I want you to know that I will not let my inability to find the integral of tan x and cot x or my ineptness to calculate the magnetic moment of a closed loop or my incompetence to convert benzaldehyde to acetophenone, determine my abilities.
I am sorry that I could not make it to NASA or to the Indian football team and uncertainty still lingers over the probability of me becoming a successful lawyer. I know I have different dreams than before and I have different people around me now. I may not know what I am but I know what I am not.
I promise you that I will not let the marks I get today, decide my tomorrow.
I am sorry I could not be Einstein, Zuckerberg or Messi.
But I promise, I will become me.
Journeys have always looked upon men and seen them struggling to reach that end, but little did they know about Faizan Ahmad, until he owned the journey and the moments. He's untamed. And he bows to no rules. He simply exists on his own terms and has managed to carve out a niche world for himself.
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