2020- Year that changed life for many of us in many ways. Before I start writing anything about myself or what did I do or what changed this year. I extend my solidarity with all the people who lost their lives to this deadly virus and their families. My salute to all the doctors, nurses, police and all the unsung heroes!!! 2020 challenged our physical, emotional, spiritual and even political immunity. 

I had an amazing start or should I say rocky start to the year. I was at Ashram. It was beautiful and life felt full of promises. I met Swami Ji, cried my heart out and he lovingly accepted me. But may be, I had not accepted what had transpired in my life. A part of me still carried the weights of my emotional baggage. However after meeting Swami Ji, I was in a much better position than I was before.  I went back happily from the Ashram with plans in my head for my job, my studies and my exam. 

Though I was fighting with my emotions, my turmoil but at least things were good in my outside world. I had a job to cover for my tuition expenses and accommodation. It gave me a sense of security that my parents won’t have to worry about finances. Staying in Delhi and preparing for UPSC CSE is an expensive affair (trust me on this). However life is not all hunky and dory. Some incidents at my office made me ponder over my decision of preparing for the exam with a full time job. Hence I decided to quit my job. It was not an easy decision and I was afraid as to how would I manage everything in the coming times. I was promised by my office that I would be paid my incentives which were pending for a long time. I trusted them and was quite relieved that this money would help me in my rainy days. I won’t have to ask for a single penny from my parents. Alas! how naïve of me to think this way. I was denied my hard earned money. I really wanted to fight them but a friend of mine asked me to let go (shaant bheem,shaant). He said it was not worth fighting for as I was rooting for something very big. Time was running fast(it always does during exam time) and I decided to dedicate my full time and energy towards my exam. 

I studied hard for my exam. But did I dedicate myself to it? NO. A big NO. UPSC CSE is like a marathon. It requires patience, perseverance and hard work. I studied like anything for it but if you were to ask me did I give my best shot, I would say no. I was fighting so hard my inner battles that I was left with nothing in me.  When I came home after giving my preliminary exam I knew that I am standing on the edge. I marked 3 questions wrong despite knowing the correct answers. I knew that these 3 questions will make it or break it for me. My worst fear came true and I could not make it to the list. I did not cry that night because I knew I was responsible for it. 

I practically risked everything for it yet I could not clear the exam. Do I regret my decision of quitting the job? No. Absolutely not. Of course I miss my salary. I miss my financial independence. It feels bad when your friends party and you are stuck at home reading Laxmikanth. I have to think twice even before buying stationery items(my parents are very kind however I don’t want to bother them).

But this entire journey of preparation is beautiful. I learnt a lot in this one year. I am a more well informed citizen. It is the beauty of this exam. It transforms you as a person. This failure was just a setback. I am more clear and focused. With hard work and discipline, I will sail through it. 

The year has been a roller coaster ride for me. There were many ups and downs. Apart from the syllabus of UPSC CSE, I learnt few other things in this one year:

  • There is a life beyond social media.
  • Better watch Rajya Sabha TV than AajTak or Republic TV. 😛😛
  • Whether you are preparing for an exam or not, give an hour to the newspaper reading( Page 3 nahi padhna).😂
  • Old is Gold. Kishore Kumar and Mohd. Rafi are magical. 
  • Life adjusts automatically to the situation.
  • Everyone has their own timeline in their life to achieve. Believe in yourself and keep working on your goal.
  • People leave and its okay. Don’t force them to stay. It only worsens the situation. Those who are meant to stay in your life will be there by your side no matter what.
  • Everything can’t be executed as per our plans. Life is there to say “checkmate” to our plans.
  • Love yourself. 
  • Never let anyone rob you of your integrity. You are not damsel in distress. 
  • Good friends make your life beautiful. Cherish your friendship.
  • There is no harm in accepting your mistakes. It does not make you less of a person.
  • Time has every answer. It can pull me up or pull me down. 
  • Health is very important.
  • Pick up a new hobby. It is never to late to learn a new skill. I do baking to rejuvenate myself.
  • Books take you into a unique world of imagination(you can be Voldemort, Tom sawyer or balram halwai).
  • Sometimes its better to move on and do nothing.
  • Pain is inevitable. Learn to embrace it.
  • Everyday spend some time with your parents. (Karke dekho accha lagta hai). 
  • Career and money are very important.
  • Sri Hari Bhagwan Ji and Swami Ji are always there to protect us. You can always count on them. 
  • There is always HOPE. It is a waking dream.

Happy New Year

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Nikita Om

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