Life is not about chasing, its about living. All our life, we are chasing things oblivious to the fact that it's the journey which makes life interesting rather than the destination.
Here is the story of my journey so far in this mystical phenomenon called Life. I am Satyadeep and I was born in the year 1991 in a town called Tenali in Andhra Pradesh. After my early childhood in the town, we moved to the city of Vizag in 5th standard.
My story would be incomplete without the story of my parents - because they are the reason, I am standing before you today. My father is the son of a mechanic and he had a dream of becoming an engineer. But since my grandfather couldn't afford it, he studied M.Sc. in chemistry. Though he couldn't become an engineer,as a chemistry teacher for 11, 12th students, he has been helping young students achieve their engineer dreams for the past 25 years (And I am also glad that I am engineer too!)
Let us now go back to the days when I was not so tall. As a kid, my school days flew away very playfully.The studies too went on like a breeze without any sort of pressure. I feel very lucky to have studied in a school in which morals, ethics and Indian culture are given good importance along with sports and activities. I think they have a value for a lifetime. Talking about studies, English was my most hated subject and no wonder it was the lowest scoring subject in all classes. But the irony is that, my mother was an English teacher for 11th and 12th, which many people wouldn't believe seeing my English scores. Hence, I stand as a corroboration to the popular Telugu saying, "Punditha putra parama suntha" which translates as "A pundit's son is the biggest stupid".
I had the fascination for computers and games from a very young age. I was 6 years old, when we first got a computer at home. Those were the days when hard disk was just 2 GB (yes, you heard me right, hard disk and not ram) and 32 MB of memory. I loved playing games like RoadRash kicking opponents' bikes. One thing, I gained out of that fascination are these glasses which you see and which help me to see.
When I grew up to 10th standard - people used to say, beta if you do well, your life will be amazing. I studied well and cleared with a good percentage. But I quickly realized that, the amazing life people said, is not anywhere near! Then, I took up IIT-JEE coaching for 11th and 12th. People again said, beta if you crack JEE, your life will be settled. Though I was not very intelligent, I had put in a lot of hard work burning the midnight oil. My hard work paid off and I cracked JEE with flying colors. I chose Computer Science at IIT Guwahati mainly owing to my prior fascination for computers.
In the first few months at college, I was blown away by the different kinds of people there with varied interests. I made some good friends for life with ever lasting relationships. College gave me lot of potential to hone my hobbies & interests. I discovered my passion for photography here and even made a short film which bagged over 10,000 hits on Youtube. One thing I didn't like about me is that I used to get very angry and frustrated over little things. My friends fondly called my excited state as Satya 2.0 when I was actually not fond any more at that moment. But, I have been regularly doing Yoga and meditation for the last 6 months, thanks to the Art of Living program, which helps me to put Satya 2.0 at bay! The story of my college would easily make up a topic for another speech. To summarize, I had the best 4 years of my life there!
During the placement season at college in the final year, people again said, beta if you do well here, you will get a good job and your life will be settled. Once again, I believed them - I did well and landed a good job here. Coming out of the cocoon into the real world, it feels like it's just a beginning out here and a lot different from the life at college. The people are not quiet even now, now they say, "If you do well here, you will have a successful career and even a good wife!"
Connecting the dots backward from where I am standing now, I believe in Randy Pausch's theme from the last lecture - Life shouldn't be lived as a pursuit of happiness, but as a celebration of happiness. As I said before, it's not the discrete points which constitute life, but the whole line which defines the journey of Life.
Looking forward into the future, I have many dreams like everyone of you - and I don't know the path to realize them, but all I know is that it starts with a small step - like the one I have taken today.
When my life was quickly falling out of my hands and reality wasn't within reach, I felt helpless. I needed to find a way out somehow, someone or something to influence me in a better way by helping me out of the major hole I had dug myself into.
It all began when I moved away from my life in Pennsylvania, and couldn't accept the fact that it was something my parents had to do. I was an emotional mess. I had much anger and no one to vent it on, except my parents, which, most of the time, was pointless. This would just end up being an even bigger mess. So as I began to make friends, I figured why not drown my sorrows in whatever I could possibly find - drugs, alcohol, "fun." I was out on school nights until one or two, planning on not going to school because I thought I had better things to do. As time passed, I began to miss many days of school, causing my grades to fall tremendously. I decided to drop out of the tenth grade. It seemed easier in my eyes, no more waking up at five o'clock - and I could stay out and not feel guilty. I knew somewhat what I was doing; I knew my life was on a downhill slant, and at that time I couldn't do a thing about it.
As my friends from the other side saw what I was doing, they decided to do it too, losing everything they had: respect from everyone, parents, relatives, friends, and teachers. So we went on a fantasy trip, not caring about losing our education or love from people who tried to care. We thought it was great to be on our own until we ran out of money for our adventures.
So, I got a full-time job which didn't last long. I got sick of that too. I couldn't deal with people telling me what I had to do. I rebelled, and got fired. Once again, I didn't care. Then, my friends and I began to get into a lot of mischief, getting in trouble with the police a number of times. Finally, they told me I would be sent to a juvenile institute to get back on track. My friends were in the same predicament. So I went home to try to figure out my mistakes, to try to patch them up. Well, I couldn't - I would just have to move on.
Weeks went by while I stayed home, still out of school. I watched what my friends were getting into, and I couldn't understand why they couldn't see what was happening to them. They were falling apart, just like I was. At that point, I wanted nothing to do with anyone. I needed time to myself, and I wanted my life back to normal.
The second semester of my tenth grade year, I put myself back into school and got a part-time job. I began to do well, still a little on the edge, but I knew it wouldn't be perfect in a day. It took me awhile to get back in the swing of things and live a normal high school life. I give myself credit for doing it on my own. I turned myself around because I knew my lifestyle was wrong and what I was doing was dangerous. I needed time to find myself more than anything, and here I am now, a senior, awaiting graduation. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.