At 26, I Was The Oldest Student In Class 12 But I Was Determined To Prove Myself

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

Whenever I tell anyone about my life, they say that it is nothing less than an inspiration. My parents had a love marriage. Their first daughter was born within one year of their marriage. My mom wanted a second child but my Dad was not in favour of it.

However, when something is destined to happen in your life, the entire universe starts making the way for it.

7 years later, my mom got pregnant again. My father did not want the child and he took mom to the abortion centre. However, my mother was very clear that she wanted to keep the child. She requested the lady doctor not to abort the baby.

My mother did not have money to give the doctor but she begged her to understand her situation and help her.

Fortunately, the doctor agreed but she informed my mother that she would have to write, “abortion not done” on the treatment sheet, which my father would have to sign. My mother had faith that God would help her and it worked. Miraculously, my dad signed the paper without reading all the details.

Mom behaved normal and returned home. Though her vomiting continued, she managed to convince dad that it was the result of acidity. By the 7th month, her stomach became visible and my father got furious. My mother’s only explanation was, “I wanted this child and God has helped me keep it." I was born in October 1979.

My father was clearly unhappy with my birth and named me the "uninvited guest".

After I completed class 10, I enrolled in a diploma course in Ophthalmology as per my dad's wishes. We belonged to a lower-middle-class family where my father earned enough to run the house but we did not have any surplus money. We were a family of 4 and my dad was the only earning member. Soon, my sister started earning and helped my father until she got married.

After her marriage, I started working part-time with an optician while I pursued my course. My salary was Rs.1200. I'd give Rs.1000 to my dad and keep Rs.200 for my pocket expense. I started working full time in 1999. I’d work with a doctor in the morning and assist an optician in the evening.

By that time, I'd turned 23 and my parents wanted me to get married. A meeting was arranged with a prospective groom and his family. When I went to meet him, I was too naive to understand marriage and its responsibilities.

Spending a few minutes together and asking generic questions like “Do you like watching movies?” “Do you like eating outside?” cannot be the basis to choose a life partner.

When we returned home, my Dad wanted to know my answer. I asked him for a day's time, as my mind was blank. I figured that getting married was the best thing for me at that time as my career had also stagnated. So, I gave in. The next morning, I said yes for the wedding.

My dad said that our horoscopes had also matched. When I asked him for a copy of the horoscope, he was reluctant to give it to me. I forced him to give me a copy as one of my colleagues had mentioned that her father-in-law read horoscopes. I requested her to help me with his guidance.

The preparations for my engagement had begun. During this time, my prospective fiance and I would often meet after work. Slowly, I realized that he loved drinking.

He also made it clear that I would have to give my monthly earnings to him after we got married.

This thought bothered me because I wanted to continue helping my father even after my marriage. Despite the confusion in my head, we got engaged. After the engagement, he wanted to get physical with me. When I refused, he got angry.

He would drink daily and even smoked often. He used his grandfather’s money to fulfil his luxuries, as the money he earned was not sufficient for his fancy demands. One time, I caught him flirting with a friend’s wife. I went home and shared everything with my parents.

They asked me to be patient and assured me that things would change after the marriage.

Somewhere, I felt that something was terribly wrong. I started to avoid him. On the night of 7th October, he called me and started forcing me to come to his house for Navratri. I refused to meet him. I told my parents that I didn’t want to continue the relationship as he was not a nice guy. They refused to listen to me.

Then I approached one of our family friends who spoke to my father and suggested that we do a background check on the guy. Soon, the truth emerged. He and his entire family were bankrupt. Finally, my father decided to call off the engagement. At last, I was at peace though it was an emotional trauma for my family and me. It was also a major turning point in my life.

I decided that I wanted to achieve something in life. And I knew I had to do it by myself.

My job and qualification were not sufficient, as an SSC certificate and Diploma in Ophthalmology had no value in the outside world. So, I decided to study further.

My dad was reluctant because he believed that I'd be a failure.

During this time, I also learned that my father had lied to me about my horoscope earlier. It hurt me deeply. I felt that I was a burden to him though I was helping him in my own way. When I decided to appear for my HSC exams, my friends were a huge support. They have helped me become the person I am today.

It was the end of October and the exams were scheduled for February. I was late for my enrollment but we managed to find a college that was affiliated to the Board. I paid my fees with the late payment penalty and secured admission. I was going to study after a break of 8 years and without any coaching since it was a correspondence course.

I promised myself that I would give it my best. I continued both my jobs and requested leave only during the 8 days of my exam. My salary was deducted for those 8 days but it didn’t matter. At the exam center, I was the oldest student at 26.

I had no clue about the outcome but I was focused on achieving something big and proving myself to my Dad.

The results were declared and I passed with 60%. I was on cloud 9! I started looking for a corporate job and decided to study further and complete my graduation. I applied for a BA course through distance learning. In the meantime, I also got a job in a well-known Pharma company as a receptionist.

I was happy; I had successfully taken my first step. My pay was Rs.12000, which was a huge jump for me. My life was moving in a new direction. I worked in the pharma company for two years, following which I joined the HR department of a noted consumer brand. After completing my BA in Sociology, I received an offer from an MNC. It was a dream job and another turning point for me.

I went on to do a Diploma in HR & PGDBA through correspondence. Despite all this, I felt something was missing. So, I decided to pursue my MBA and appeared for the entrance exam of three colleges.

No one knew about it except a friend who was with me since my struggling days, in fact, he was more than a friend; he was my support system.

With God’s grace and the blessings of my loved ones, I got through a noted college for my Masters in HR. My schedule was crazy - I had a demanding job which started at 9:00 am and ended at 7:00 pm. I’d then rush to attend college and reach home only by 10:30 pm. My weekends were occupied with extra lectures and projects.

Life was hectic but I loved the pace.

I funded my entire education after class 12 and I was proud of my achievements. Life was going well when suddenly, my father was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Everything changed. I had to juggle between office, college, and hospitals. Most importantly, money became a huge issue. My friends and my extended family helped with monetary contributions but the cancer had spread. Dad’s condition was deteriorating.

My exams clashed with his surgery, which was followed by heavy chemotherapy sessions. While my sister helped in her capacity, she had to manage her family and other responsibilities too. My mom and I had to manage everything. Since my mom was also old, I didn’t want to burden her.

I single-handedly took over my family's responsibilities.

In my last semester in 2013, I did not have money to pay my fees because dad's treatment was the priority. I decided to drop out but my classmates convinced me against it. They collected money from everyone and paid my fees. God helped me once again.

I also took a loan from my company for my father’s treatment. But his condition was critical. The last time I had a heart to heart chat with him was in August 2013 when he was nothing but bones. He was unable to eat and needed help for everything.

That night, he told me how proud he was of me; he considered me as the son of the family. He felt guilty and sorry for his behaviour towards me in the past. He kissed my hand with tears in his eyes and then put his hand on my head.

Both of us were in tears because we knew that he didn’t have much time.

The doctors had given him 6 months. He passed away in his sleep on 22nd September 2013. My semester 5 exams began on 3rd October. I failed in one subject; it was the first ATKT of my education. But I did not give up and decided to re-appear in September 2014.

Life was getting back to normal when I got another setback. My mother was detected with breast cancer in October 2014. I was aghast; God couldn’t do this to me. I got her treated with the support of my friends and family. Fortunately, she was detected in the first stage and the doctor assured me that she would be fine. I was severely depressed.

When my mom was in the hospital, I stayed with her in her room, as I was afraid to be alone at home.

It was during this time that a friend suggested that I try energy healing for my mother in addition to medication. She introduced me to Mayur (name changed) who was a healer for cancer patients. He met my mom and asked me to continue the treatment while he started the healing. I didn’t have any money to offer him and fortunately, he didn’t want any either. He helped cancer patients by healing them without any fees.

My mom was healing but I was suffering from major depression and panic attacks.

I had to take medical help from a psychiatrist who put me on anti-depressants and medicines to calm my anxiety. Gradually, I started feeling better. Mayur would come home on weekends to heal my mom. In January 2015, I decided to treat him to dinner and buy him a gift as a token of my appreciation.

After dinner, we were walking on the beach when Mayur said that he wanted to tell me something. He looked into my eyes and asked me to marry him! I was surprised; I’d never expected this from him.

He said that he admired the manner in which I’d taken care of my parents and was impressed with the way I was managing my life.

While I was happy with his proposal, I told him that my mother was my responsibility and I couldn’t leave her alone. He was aware of everything and promised to support me. When I shared the news with my mother, she was very happy because she had always liked Mayur.

I asked a few friends about him and discovered that he was an honest man with no baggage.

After my mother gave her consent, he spoke to his parents about me. I met his parents on 1st Feb 2015 and we got engaged on 21st March. My mother was very happy and I’m sure so was my father.

We got married on 26th November 2015 and life changed for the better.

We did not even bother to match our horoscopes.

I completed my MBA and today, I head the HR department of a media company. I stay with my husband and in-laws during the week and spend the weekends with my mom. Mayur is very supportive.

I continue to take care of my mom like I always did.

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