Ayisha is a well known spokesperson and she is chosen to speak in one of the most renowned colleges. But things weren’t this happy for her seven years ago. She has been through rough patch but she has made out of it and now she speaks about it.
It was 11:00 P.M., Friday, when Ayisha got an e-mail from one of the renowned colleges of India. She was asked to be a spokesperson in one of their events and the topic she was asked to deliver the speech on, was what she was now known for, ‘Career Dilemmas’. She had experienced this in her life like any other teenager but what made her stand out was what she learnt out of it and how encouragingly she went on to impart her knowledge to others, with a hope that there would be at least one student today who would be saved from doing the mistake as hers.
It was 7 years back when Ayisha’s life had a setback. She passed out of school with 89% and was almost happy with herself. She wished she could score more but consoled herself saying that in her choice of career, her 12th result held no significance. Weeks after her result declaration she entered the college phase but that did not seem to make any difference in her life as for then she had already begun her journey on a major career path that she had to choose even before her 12th board exams and her college played absolutely no role any more than an institute that would be giving her a bachelor’s degree, which she couldn’t care any less about.
All this while, Ayisha thought she had everything figured out. From what she wanted to study to what she wanted to become. The bits and pieces seemed to complete the major puzzle of life ‘Where you want to be 10 years from now’. But thinking this was her second mistake. What was her first one? Well, planning everything without exploring everything.
She often thought to herself how absurd it was to decide on one thing before stepping out of school and pursuing it for the rest of her life, or at least that is what it seemed like initially.
She was aware of people who changed their fields, people who ended up doing something extremely different to what they studied in college and people who followed their passion either since the beginning or whenever they got the opportunity to. But it wasn’t all so simple for everyone. She felt the people who could do such things were actually blessed in life, that they were the people who did good deeds in some past life and now are getting it all back.
The door bell made her come out of her thoughts. It was her younger brother. She had mixed emotions for him. She was happy for all of his achievements and envied him for the same. He had everything planned out in his life just like her but it was all working out for him unlike hers’. She remembered the time when he was so supportive to her. Even though her depression phase lasted for not more than 6 months, he was always there for her every day, every minute. He stood up with her every time she said she wanted to do something else in her life and every time she said she will run away, he asked her to take him along.
“Do you’ve any plans for next week? I was thinking of going on a trip.” He said.
“Sorry, I have to attend this event next week. I mean, I haven’t RSVP’d it yet but I’m sure I’m going to go. It is HUGE!”
“That is nice. Where is it?”
“IIM Bangalore” She said with pride.
He couldn’t believe what he just heard; but she would never lie about this. Delivering a speech in IIM was a big deal. People who had an experience of 15-20 years and huge celebrities were seen there. He hugged her and she disappeared in his arms. Even though he was the younger one, it never seemed like he was, since he was almost a foot taller than her. He was proud of her tiny sister. After having the brunch with her he left for his college.
She sat back in front of her laptop reading the e-mail again; even she herself couldn’t believe it. She felt blessed today. She remembered those days when she was constantly questioned about her future plans, about what she would do in her life, if not what she had already begun with. She never had any answers, how could she assure her parents when she couldn’t even assure herself. Everything was vague, uncertain and gloomy back then. It did not make sense to her; her life. She knew where she wanted to end up, she knew what she wanted her life to be 10 years down the line, but she did not know how to get there and she couldn’t risk it again. She was scared. She was allowed to make a decision once, which she did but she failed in it. What took some people half of their lives; it took her just a year and a half to realize. It is not about fitting in, it is about belonging. Now she was scared of making another mistake, taking a road which would again lead her to a place she did not belong to.
I’m delighted to confirm that I would be attending your college’s event next week.
Looking forward to discuss further details about the same.
Ayisha had spoken in many colleges before. She even wrote a book talking about her experience. But this was different. The call with the managing team made her realize that this time she would be speaking in front of thousands of people which would be a mix of students and different professionals. Her earlier audience ranged from a hundred (or less) to six-seven hundred but never ever even near to a thousand and these people assured her this time it will be more than a thousand. More than a thousand, she tried imaging how big the crowd was going to be. Chills went down her spine. She was anxious but not scared.
Her event was scheduled in the evening. She was waiting back stage with other team members, watching them coordinate to put a flawless show. This made her zone out to that night when she gathered all the courage and told her mother that she was done! She wanted to do something else. That she was drained and there was nothing left in her to be drained out anymore. That she was unhappy. Her mother, not unlike any other typical Indian parent did not understand what she meant.
She was doing a well respected professional course; she even cleared the second level. What possibly could make her unhappy in this? Her mother failed to see. That was one night and this is one. 7 years from it, now she was going to help those thousands of people sitting out there, clear things in their heads, motivating them to gather up the courage to go and to stand for what they believed in and do it.
“I’ve read your book. I have even attended one of your events before” A girl wearing nerdy spectacles spoke sitting next to her. She looked older than Ayisha, a year or two may be.
“You may not know but you’ve helped me a lot. After reading your book I realized that I wanted to do MBA in marketing and not finance. I was in same delusion as you were. I thought finance would get me everything but 6 months into it and I wanted to quit the whole idea of MBA altogether.” She added.
“So, how did you change?” Ayisha asked looking at the girl. Sadness and happiness crossed her face at the same time.
“I went up to the dean and asked him to transfer me in the marketing section. He knew me well, my scores were good but he said I’ll have to wait for the session to get over and only next year could I join into the marketing section. I agreed. The rest of the 6 months were the worst and best 6 months of my life.” She said smiling.
“Thank you so much. You saved my career. You helped me see that there isn’t just one road for us all. That all I need is to look for the other one and travel there. Travel and walk on the road which would take me to the place I not only fit into but even belong to.” She hugged Ayisha thanking her and left.
It was time for her to impart the same to the people awaiting her outside. She went up the stage; all the other lights went dim and the spotlight was on her one more time.