Travelling through the Extremes

Growing up, I was an active kid, with life happening all around and filled with exuberance. I had friends with whom I could play and study, but most importantly, ones I could rely on. Coming in from a village unknown, I was distant to the next world things, even oblivious of the fact that IITs existed! Rarely did I ever leave my village before coming here. When I got to know about them, I took a drop and started preparing for it. Soon, I landed here — being all tensed and a nervous first-year kid — at IITK in the EE department.

My early experiences were fun, surprising and embarrassing for sure! This was me:

“30L package toh pakka lagta hoga. Kaafi paisa kamaunga mai!”

“Sab maggu hote honge aur kuch aata bhi nahi hoga shayad inhe.”

On the day of PE trials, I was lined up with others to showcase my bowling skills. Casual talks resulted in me knowing that the guy before me was a National Level player and the one behind was State Level. My pride and ego were at stake, “Mai District Level player hu”. You can guess how the story proceeded ahead, a wide on the pitch and a kick on my butt aur mai bana “Sainik” (NCC cadet). I did not stop embarrassing myself here, I shot the volleyball behind me during the PE trials, forgot the things that I bought with my scholarship money in the mall, expected an A* in MTH102A only to realise that I forgot to check the backside of the question paper, you could bet I did much more but can’t post them here.

Life was not all rainbows and unicorns. After surviving and having fun through my first year, I started giving myself some “rest”. Movies, series, extra-currics occupied my time. While my batch mates were rushing to the classes, labs and whatnot, I was living my life. This resulted in me ending up with five Es/Fs out of seven courses in my third sem. “This was a blow” — is an understatement, but I held my own. My academic status got pushed to “Warning”.

Starting out in the fourth semester, I opened up to a few, and they listened to me and that helped me a lot. There was this person who asked me not to think low of myself even if the world started looking down on me.

But I did what I did before; I started losing interest, quizzes and mini-quizzes did not go well and I put my hands up. I remember motivating the junior batch to perform well in the Galaxy, while I was barely hanging on to my dear life. It was hard. I barely understood myself. The mid-sem results came in and tumbled my world into the topsy-turvy land. In the week after the results were declared, I got myself acquainted to alcohol and cigarettes, I was set on this perilous path. A few days later, seeing me in this state, my bhais and baapu took me to a counsellor, from there I was taken to Dr Sanjay Mahendru. They diagnosed me with Bipolar Syndrome. I stayed in the hospital for a few days till my dad came for me. I was advised to take a sem drop. I did not resist, maybe I needed that break. It lasted for four months, as I took leave in the summer term as well. I worked on myself during this time, got help from my family members, friends and Counselling Service. The student representatives used to message me and kept a check on me, while I visited Dr Mahendru for my once-a-month checkup.

With a refreshed mind, I motivated myself with the idea to give my best and not waste my time unnecessarily. As a result, during the fifth semester, I did well. Little did I know, that the sixth semester would be a completely different ball game. This time, I tasked myself to do exceedingly well. Helping in Galaxy and studying heavily during late nights, I could see myself doing well. However, I failed to see that I had burdened myself too heavily under my expectations, forcing myself over the edge. My study sessions turned into manic episodes. Thankfully, someone I knew conveyed about my late-night manic study sessions to Dr Mahendru. During my regular visits, it was confirmed that I was in the manic phase. I had this option of taking yet another drop or asking my parents to come over and live with me. I took that drop. During the rough period, I used to spend my time with Bhagvat Geeta and would chant Hanuman Chalisa regularly. This was my much-needed support.

After this, I started living with my parents starting from the seventh semester. I was in constant touch with Dr Mahendru and with the student wing of CS. There was a sense of security as I could feel Dr Mahendru was worried about my well-being. I also found support in my friends, and started doing reasonably well in the semester’s work. It was again in this trio of family, friends and CS that I found the means for boosting my morale.

  • “Kabhi bhi life mai problem ho toh family ya friends ko bata zarur dena. Hold onto something, this too shall pass.”