Saturday, January 17, 2015

#UseYourAnd - A Journey from OR to AND

'And' is such an interesting word.
At a people management course, I was once asked to replace 'but' with 'and', and suddenly things that you disagreed with became things that you could potentially agree with if improvised upon. Now Gillette is asking us to replace 'or' with 'and', and you no longer need to compromise.
This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus.

When I decided to write about my journey from OR to AND, I thought about it and I couldn't come up with a story. And then I realised that, I had shut my ears to anyone who told me that OR was an option. It wasn't. I had been taking the route of an AND since I was a child.

Schooling defines who you become. I absolutely love my schooling and my school friends. It is the place where I grew up and learnt to have confidence in me, to speak in front of people, to lead people. I owe my school a lot. But it was not always the case. There was once a time when it was necessary for me to change schools. And my parents were trying hard to get me admission into a good convent school which my older sister attends. But the convent school had little faith in my previous school and agreed to give me admission only if I repeated a class. My six year old self refused to even consider that proposition. Following that my parents had to find me another school.  And this time, I attended the school for 2 days, came home on the second day and told my parents that I am not going back. And yet again I had to move but this time, I stayed on for the next 8 years.

Fast forward a decade, I woke up on the day of the IIT JEE results would be announced. I know there was a lot of pressure on me because my older sister was already at IIT Madras pursuing her degree in computer sciences, and I have been among the star students at my coaching centre and my parents and teachers are expecting me to perform incredibly well. I thought for a couple of minutes about what I was going to face that day. I knew it in my heart that I would not clear because I knew that I had performed badly in one subject. But I also knew that I had performed incredibly well in the other two subjects. And I considered my options and decided that I did not want to let one bad day in one subject ruin an opportunity that I have been working for and I shall appear again for the exam a year later.
The results came in a few hours later. I did not clear it. When I told my parents I will clear next year, my parents tried to console me and said it's too soon to make a decision. As it goes in India, I have also written other competitive exams and I was bound to get another good option. The following few months, I was counselled by many of my well-wishers regarding all the other options that I had. My friends thought I was crazy to "waste" a year on a "wild-goose chase", especially when I had other options. But I honestly could not see another option.
If I didn't drop a year to go to IIT, my life would have turned out alright. But if I did not follow my heart, I would have always wondered if it would have been different and would have blamed the world for it. At least if I made my own decision,even if I failed, I would only have myself to blame. As I said, I would have been alright if I didn't go to IIT. But it was in IIT Madras that I spent the best four years of my life and made friends for a lifetime. It's also at IIT that I started my blog!

Here is a picture of me in my hostel room, during phase when I just went crazy with my camera clicking everything I saw. Read more on the IITian life label on my blog.
[Update: Turns out this is the 99th post labelled the IITian life! Cheers to that!]

I think it's a great campaign. Check it out. And UseYourAnd. I would like to tag  "qurious quester" on this quest from OR to AND. She has inspired me in many ways and I hope she will inspire many more with her extraordinary story.

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