Coming into Existence 19
The miss at athletics
I had been running for years now. Although my physical build did
not support competitive athletics much, I wanted to try my hand at
athletics in a track event one day. I might have been running and ex-
ercising a lot and working hard but the best were still better than me.
I had to work very hard to be able to compete. I felt the 1500-metre
track event would be the best bet for me. I had practised for it well.
One day I came to know that the trials for the school team were to
take place in a stadium in a short while. I was not prepared. I did
not have my athletics or running shoes with me. I ran home to fetch
them. When I reached home, I saw that no one was home and that
the door was locked. I did not want to lose this chance. After contem-
plating for a while I approached one of the windows and punched
the glass of one small window with my fi st. My knuckle got cut and
bled badly. I tied a kerchief over it and put my hand in to open the
latch of the window. I squeezed myself through the small space be-
tween the patterns of iron grill and got inside. I picked my shoes and
ran to the stadium just in time for the trials. The fi rst two runners
would be picked up to represent the school in the inter-school, zonal
athletics meet. I came in a close third.
The Pressure Phase
As I headed towards the senior classes and the end of my schooling,
a lot of pressure came on me from all circles for getting into a pro-
fessional course. It was a time when getting into a professional
course was made out to be the best and the only goal of a student's
life. Everybody would try to pull you and direct you into different
directions and usually successfully too. I wanted to do so many
things in my life. Picking up one or dedicating my entire life to one
20 In Quest of the Last Victory
seemed like a bad idea most of the time. One could aim to become
a doctor or an engineer or join the army as an offi cer. Other careers
meant more years of study and an uncertain future. A career in the
corporate world wasn’t a common choice then and getting a job
wasn’t easy. Suddenly I found myself faced with so much pressure
to decide the goal of my life and make a career choice that I wanted
to break free.
As a child I had got used to making my choices to suit other
people’s expectations from me, the good child that I wanted to be.
This pressure really got to me. It made me make choices I did not
want to make. In fact it was others who were making the choices for
me. When the choices were being made by others all factors were
not being taken into consideration. It was I who was better aware of
my interests and abilities. Others were not. Having been a sportsman
I had had to deal with successes and failures in the past. I knew
for sure that success was improbable if not impossible with such an
unclear vision. I wanted to do things with defi niteness and certainty
but no one was letting me do that. It was also a time when I had
started thinking about ‘life’ and there were so many things to think
about and so much to do. It was an analytical approach that had
made me improve my performance in sports and other academic and
non-academic fi elds. I started adopting an analytic approach to life
too. However, I did not have enough time. With the school-fi nal
board exams approaching, there was a sense of urgency to choose a
career path.
Answers were needed and there weren’t any. I was at a point in
time when I could look back at life and also look forward to it. It was
one of the most crucial thresholds in my life, not only in terms of
career choices but also regarding personal choices I would be required
to make. I wanted to grow as a person. I wanted to get away from home
and face the real world. Like most others of my age, I also wanted
to do something meaningful with my life. But would I be able to?

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