What we don’t realize is success is nothing but an amalgamation of our learnings from our failures.
Today if I have to look back at that starting phase of my teenage, the time where every Indian child is asked that one question: “what do you want to become in Life?” I know that I was as clueless as any other teen of my age. Just like any other child, I would answer, “I want to be a Scientist, or a Doctor”, people used to laugh and say you’ll get grey hair! Watching too much of Bollywood made me think I want to become an Actor. I never thought of becoming a Writer. But recalling the incident that changed it all – was that one day in this small-town Indian fifteen-year-old girl’s life where the tables turned.
I was that one special student whom neither fellow classmates nor teachers recognized for the longest time until I started excelling in English and other languages; while also beating the toppers’, I was somewhere between the ascending order of an average and a bright student. One fine day, a grumpy substitute lecturer came in and roared that the class must “Shut up!”, and as fate would have it – a pimple popped on my face and there was blood all over my face and hands. Daring immense courage, I got up from my seat and walked up to him. He roared again, “What do you want?” and looking straight at his fiery eyes all I could mutter was: “Sir…pimple…blood…washroom” as I stood there with shaky legs. He gave me an amused look and smirked; while gesturing me to get out. As I took fast steps to wash my face – I heard a long outburst of laughter. And when I came back, the class was still laughing; some girls pointed their hands at me and laughed as if it were the best day of their lives. I was already feeling ashamed and tears were filling up my eyes. After a while, I asked the only girl who wasn’t laughing about what happened and she said, “After you left, Sir laughed and said, ’can’t even talk English’ and the whole class joined him.” I was shell-shocked embarrassed and prayed that earth swallows me up!
I’ll be soon entering my twenties and although today this may not seem like anything; this was a highly shattering and humiliating experience for that fifteen-year-old girl. The people who themselves never spoke even broken English, neither tried it – were laughing at me just because someone caught me while I was vulnerable. That time, I couldn’t convey to anyone about how shaken I was – except scribbling on a piece of paper from the notes section of my school diary. The very next day, some girls smiled at me, I don’t know whether it was out of the previous day’s incident or just a fake and formal smile. But I know that during those two days, I learnt something about myself and the world; and storing it in some pages felt good then. Soon, the pages of a diary became my best friend. I could express anything and everything there and forget it the other second. I found my catharsis and a way to let go of my teenage angst. Ever since then, each day, I’ve been writing and keeping little memories of me and my experiences locked in a diary.
Having opted for science in +2, those two years of staying stuck somewhere between formulas of molecules and math made me realize that this wasn’t my calling and I had to go back to that beautiful world where only stories surround me. I swear, I love literature, languages and stories. The times of rebellion hit me when despite having my 12th physics exam the other day – I was jotting down a poetry a night before it. I knew that I had to write. Just as these dreadful exams ended, I started sharing poems and quotes on my Instagram: @officialkirtichanglani and I even started book blogging and reading a lot! I changed my stream from Science to a commercial arts field – Mass communication – the social reluctance was so obvious. Being a wallflower of my college, I used to sit back and observe, keep observing everything around me – and eventually used to pour my heart out on my blogs.
Now, college will help you enjoy and have fun – but these three years are where when you must also find your passion. Thus, I mustered enough courage, gave interviews and got a writing internship! And again! despite tasting that new ‘technical writing’ thing, I still felt something was missing. And I questioned myself, “Am I really following my dreams?”
That was the last straw and one fine night, I wrote the outline of my very first book. I didn’t have a personal computer…but I typed it through my phone, running in cyber cafes and lending laptops. So, you see, you eventually do something if you have the determination to. It doesn’t matter If you have little or no resources. I am grateful for several factors which drove me to this point: writing short stories since a young age, being a reader, having the blessing of social media, and that slightly overwhelming emotional and sensitive nature.
I’m slowly gaining my esteem and the power to create back. It all was fading away from me during the time I was fulfilling my social roles. I know, I failed to stand by the norms; I failed to fake my strength and I certainly failed to have a stable façade in the eyes of society. But I know that I found myself with being unconventional. I found myself in those vulnerable moments – knowing that I stand at a better side of being a human; and certainly, I am slowly becoming myself as I am shredding it all of what I was expected and overestimated of. I messed up a lot of things! But life is eventually finding yourself through that mess.
If I were to reflect on this, I know that I had those storyteller instincts. Be it – cooking up stories, enacting them or being highly creative while I was making art. It’s just that, the signs are never recognized so easily. As our society believes that if a student is bright, he/she must opt for medicine. But I don’t blame this social structure, you see, there’s no way to tell if someone will become an artist. Only your soul can whisper that to you!
Fast-forwarding to today, I truly believe had it not been for that one day, I wouldn’t have been able to become an Author at the age of nineteen. Oh yes, I published my debut book “A Life, Less Ordinary” in the autumn of 2019. By God’s grace, it has been shortlisted for the “Top 100 Debut Novels of India 2019” by LiteraturesLight.
This one life seems very short, there is so much we can try, sip and taste – but only when we change our perspective from what the world around feeds us. And define our own world thereby. So much of life can be explored in creating art, writing little poems, discovering ourselves, the world, and romancing with nature.
I would like to conclude with saying that we must never regret anything that happened in the zigzag pathway of our life, but be grateful that it happened and helped in shaping us. If you know what you want to do is something different than what you are doing, then sit back retrospect and reflect. “Connect those stars” sweeties and if you feel this is not where you wish to be, then take the other turn and run.
I know that success is super sweet but remember it is made-up of the bitter most failures and lessons which remain hidden, its upon you to decipher them.
There’s more to life and there is so much more to happiness. Be grateful for your present. It’s a Gift!