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A Letter To My Student On The Eve Of His IIT – JEE


(Published on

My dear child,

I will be spending the whole of today and tomorrow thinking about you.

Primarily praying for you, but beyond that, worrying. My fears are not about whether you will crack the IIT-JEE or not. My deepest concern is about how you will come out of this phase of intense academic trial that has consumed you so fully.I want you come out unscathed and resilient. And more confident than ever before that no matter what the result of this particular exam will be, you will not stop chasing your dream. Ever.

It’s my greatest wish that you clear the exam and come out triumphant, for you have worked very hard for it. Yet, I want you to believe that the possibility of becoming the professional you want to be doesn’t lie in this one exam. It lies in you. And you are a force that will exist even after tomorrow, beyond this test, stretching into the wide universe, open to all possibilities there are to make your dream come true. It is this force that you must trust. A Force otherwise called God.

I want to share a personal experience with you. This painting of a tiger that you see here is among my best works. I am not a trained artist, but I have great love for colours and I have tried my hand at painting now and then. I don’t know why, but when I draw life forms, I go for the eyes first. I always believed that I had to get the eyes proper to get the rest of the portrait right. So it was with this. But trust me, the eyes just didn’t come out the way I had wanted. I tried many times – glazing, erasing and going over it for days together.

Disheartened and unable to move forward, I was on the brink of giving up, abandoning my first ever animal portrait. It was then that the ‘a-ha’ moment struck. I decided to leave the eyes there and look at the other parts of the picture. The painting was a lot more than just the eyes. The bigger picture on the canvas was waiting for me to bring it to life. Thus the work progressed, with the fur and the face, the whiskers and the nose, all falling in the right places.

In the end, when it was the turn of the eyes, I wavered. It was a tall order, one at which I had failed once. Then I looked at the bigger picture again, and in a moment’s spark I exclaimed, ‘Why, I have come this far! Now can’t I do a pair of eyes and complete this painting?” I don’t know how it came about eventually, but today whoever looks at it on my wall avers that the eyes are as real as they can get. A student who had come for my writing workshop even remarked, ‘It seems as if the tiger is staring into my soul.’ I gave him a star for that creative statement and thanked myself for not quitting that day when the eyes got stuck.

The idea, my son, is to look at the bigger picture of your dreams. They are like my tiger painting. I could have given up when the eyes didn’t come out right and said, ‘I can’t. I am not up to it’. But somehow it dawned on me at the opportune moment that the eyes weren’t the only things I should be sweating out. There were other ways to go about it and complete the picture.

So it is with you. The exam you will take tomorrow are the eyes of the tiger. If you get them in the first shot (and I sincerely wish you would), there is nothing better. But if they don’t turn out well for some reason, remember, your aim is to complete the painting. Don’t stop. Don’t crumble if one stroke goes wrong. There is a whole canvas of life waiting to be filled up. Pick up the brush, dip into the pigments and keep painting till your tiger is made. Trust me, the universe will conspire to make things happen for you, sooner or later.

As the old saying goes, ‘act as if everything depended on you. Trust as if everything depended on God.’

Good luck & God bless. May the Force be with you.

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