Life's most difficult phases often coincide with its most irresistible temptations. When I was due to write my matriculation examination, I wanted to do anything but study. Though storming through the pages of one's syllabus, is the most required indulgence at that time, it would take tremendous amount of will power to break free from the throng of temptations, garbed in varying facades and manifestations, that often swirled about my study table, and focus on something that was the most obvious and expected. I later found out that my peers and friends underwent the same predicament. It was then that I'd realized that life's most trying times often come wrapped with the most distracting allurements. Allurements that dissuade us from overcoming those trials that life puts us on. One must therefore fight those enticements and seek to stick to the blessed path as the one advised by elders. Easier said than done. It was only when my mind found an adult peace, that all this made sense. Otherwise I fought and revolted against advise of sticking to that path away from the seemingly wrong one. I don't refute the charge that I was irresponsible and careless. My matriculation exam result spoke for itself. It was a chaotic ordeal that followed thereafter for a stint of three months till I secured a berth in a college of acceptable standards.
Did I learn anything ? Heck No !! I fared even worse in my 12th standard examination than I had done in ICSE. The remnants of faith that my folks had nurtured, after my matriculation debacle, concerning my academic abilities shattered completely. That's a different story. Though my mind was alert with alarm regarding past failures & mistakes, I effortlessly repeated those in my college board exams. During the preparatory days, there was this impending anxiety of revisiting those miserable by gone days post 10th exam, which kept me on my toes. But it was also accompanied by endless deputees of temptations that life inexplicably employed to dissuade, or let's say test, my adolescent mind. Why only temptations, there were ideas, desires, conflicts that were infinitely storming inside my head, which if I now look back upon, I almost blurt out laughing. Well, mostly. (Certain gales still blow peace out of my head). Add to that my zealous interest in lives of friends and peers. Their problem was mine. I was busy ripping off my finger nails during round table conferences, that seemed indispensable at that time. After those strenuous and exasperating days in college, I would spend my evening with a bunch of cigarettes, introspecting and at the end of the packet, deciding that I'd act more responsible, more focused from that moment onwards. And act I did, only to find within hours, my will according space to its original claimant, the interest in myriad avenues of life, except the college syllabus.
In the next phase, when the time came to choose wisely a stream of study that would earn me better prospect of securing a job, I was again visited by an alternate allure of pursuing something else as a career. Everyone wanted me at one place and I aspired to be at another. It was pandemonium. I didn't give in. Neither did they. So a middle path was chosen, something which I'd then told myself was the best choice, given the circumstances. What needs mention here is that how long hours were spent by me, indecisively pondering over the choice I was hard pressed to make. Flashes, bright & dim, from alternate futures filled my mind. I couldn't tolerate the grim ones yet found that those of the future I wanted were not without disheartening consequences. So the question always came down to the point where I had to choose between my wishes on one side over those of my loved ones on the other.
I've admired my friends who knew what to do in life from early days. As for me, I was one who was fidgeting with reconciling the hiatus between my aspirations and family expectations. I eventually settled for the latter. I have faced cynicism from various quarters, all meaning well, for not being courageous to pursue my dreams. I could never explain to them how agonizing it is to see your loved ones pleading with you to take the surer road to success.. Obviously success being a relative term, it was what they identified as success. I did confront a long term provocation, a deep calling, a perpetual pull towards a different direction in life, but I gave it up when I realized that it was pointless to see my loved ones bear the brunt of my struggle which was inevitable in the path I'd chosen. Things weren't quite bright in my father's career. My family hadn't seen prosperity and God knows I wanted to give them that, in my own way. But that wasn't meant to be. So when time was ripe to pursue my heart's cravings, I met head on, the gravitation of the other side. A side which offered a quicker and a more conventional means to 'settlement' in life, only ofcourse if I persevered in an entirely different manner than the way I'd have liked to. Eventually I did work at it and by the grace of the Lord Almighty our prayers were answered. I write this not for inviting sympathy or claiming martyrdom. Instead to depict the inner conflict that I underwent at that stage of my life. It was a stage where I confronted the temptation of following my dream and the collateral anguish of sacrificing the hopes of my parents and alternatively the conscience to cave in to parental aspiration and see my dreams die. Both, my dreams & my folks, were dear to me. But I had to comfort myself by telling that my dream would eventually find another abode, but my parents, they couldn't have found another hope. I'm not saying anything against those persons who have traveled on the path that they chose. They have my respect and reverence for the courage they must have shown in sticking to that decision. By the way its now an adage that travelling on the road not taken will make all the difference. So I don't think that's the point of discussion anymore. But it is likely that they too must have dealt with the temptation of giving up on all of that and taking the other path.
The point therefore is that we deal with temptations all the time. Degrees vary, places & time vary. Conflicts rage. Fire and ice will forever keep rubbing themselves upon us & make life the remarkable journey that it is.