The year 1999 was a very critical year of my career. It was the last year of my graduation and obviously very important because it will determine my fate of taking up a job and gathering experience or study further for a professional qualification like MBA or C.S. As I was a sincere student of one of the premier colleges of the city, the last year was simply getting claustrophobic because all the young aspirants would walk around the campus with their mission written on the forehead. Some were aspiring CA’s, some MBA’s and some were determined to enter the family business and give it a global lift. Some of them were in their last group of CA and were so sure that after graduation they would be getting their CA degree too. Traumatized as I was, would pity my own self for having a very poor intellect and would sulk day in day out seeing the accountancy chapters. Economics and other theory subjects flew seamlessly in my memory but numbers and debit/ credit would play games with me. My girl gang of friends would solve the accounts sums in a jiffy and me? I would take ages to understand them. I knew it was a mind block but I did try sincerely to understand and befriend the subject but all in vain. In my entire tenure of five years of graduation in commerce my balance sheet would have tallied just once and my friends would so easily tally the sheet. So now picture this, here I am already in self-pity mode thinking how dumb I am and my friends getting so intimate about their tallying of balance sheets!! Ah!! Accountancy practice sessions would be tragic and I would feel I am heading nowhere with all the three accounts subjects. March month was rapidly approaching and so was our board exam. First three papers were of my best subject – Accounts, and all the three occasions I was in deep grief and fear that I will be failing in my annual exam. My mom was all tensed up thinking of the failed mark in a board exam ! Cousins would call to console (had only one or two of them studying commerce then, rest all were science geeks). I would keep thinking of my results. That summer vacation, after the strenuous board exam, I decided to live my life fullest dreading that I might have to prepare for the October exams, which is a repeat exam for the subjects in which you have failed. It was a taboo to fail in my family. My grandparents and my parents would carry a sorry face and people would mock them because I failed. I would count my score every moment in my vacations and would think of the dreadful day.Come June and the rumor mills started churning. One fine day, we got the news that the results were displayed in the university. So all the co-ordination happened on the landlines and I set to see the result with the gang of my intelligent friends. I saw the huge rush on the display board and got worried thinking how I would take a failed mark against my name. I was getting nervous as well as anxious. I was feeling like vanishing in thin air. With cold feet I started the hunt of my name from the pass class list , moving to the second class and was so relieved that I was not appearing in any of these searched lists. This means I had not failed!! And this also means that I had either got a first class or a distinction. Distinction was a farfetched dream and never sought too but yes was happy that I had got a first class. My roll number stood right there on the first class list and with a bold 66%. I jumped on my feet ,shouted and hugged my friend standing next to me . And there I was a “first –class “graduate. I called up home on the landline and proudly told my parents that I got a whopping first class. My mom and dad that day would have been proud of me thinking that they were saved of so many misfortunes. Celebrations followed at our place with my darling mom flashing me everywhere like a trophy to everyone who came to congratulate me. Now the next struggle began whether to be at home and study for a professional course or to start job hunting and be on the move with regards to earning of experience.

 The very next day of the result, I got an offer for a part-time job and agreed to do it. It was comfortable for me to study for the MBA entrance exam and work for experience too. The job was that of an accounts assistant in an architect firm and was offered to me by one of our family friends. I started travelling to the new office by train and then walking it up from the station to office. The road to office was very interesting. Since my office was in the prime Marathi locality I enjoyed watching the old residences. I was doubly observant about the mini walk to my work place. The small grocery shops, the spices grinding machine, the people walking on the footpaths were all the same, busy in from morning to – night. The fruit stall, the Udipi restaurant and the small individual houses were always full of life. It was a 10 minute walk. As I had to reach my office at 12, I would plan my start and would take the fixed scheduled train and then would reach my destination in about an hour. As days passed, I would see the same type of people day in day out who would walk in my opposite direction. I would guess they too were heading to their fixed commitments and they too would be taking fixed schedule commutes. Of which , there was a gentleman who would be dressed in a khadi kurta and a pair of jeans and at a particular junction we would be face to face with just a split second to notice each other. When I saw him for the first few times I tried to strain my memory as to where else did I see him. Of course, he was a TV personality ! His face would haunt me in my walks to work and ultimately I realized he was an aspiring actor and was making his career in Marathi film industry with some small roles. I was very intrigued with his personality. He would also stare at me and I would also give him a wavering look. I had already started my pursuit of getting into an MBA school and my new struggles were already playing mind games in all idle walks to my work place. What I noticed of this man too was that he too was struggling; his walks and expressions said it all. They were all filled with anxiety and hastiness. He also, I am sure was going through bringing something definite to his career. Google did not exist then and smart phones were not known.  So obtaining quick results through search engines was not possible.I would just plug-in my walkman and would walk and would see this man almost every day cross my path. After a few months I got an offer from a bank and decided to quit my part-time job. The last days to work were hasty and of no fixed time and so obviously I did not see the budding star. Today, when I see him in the movies I feel he has come a long way, he is a national award winner and yes that walk really had an impact on my mind. The very sight of him would remind of me of my struggling days, of my progression too from a part time job to a plush private sector bank job. Strange are the ways of life, we all struggle in every phase and we feel that we are the pitiful ones who are fighting it out but fail to notice those in and around people who are also struggling, who also are rushing towards their goal and are also dreaming big while walking towards their destinations. Struggle is inevitable, small or big, challenges are there, either they make you or break you .We have to aspire but never forget what you were then and what you are today, you have always progressed. Did you not climb up the ladder from the lower steps to the higher steps? You may fall or skip a step but success is inevitable if you are struggling and on the move. All the riches come your way and you earn the brownie points in the little forms when you progress in your personal lives. Life attains a balance when you welcome your younger generations and then too you struggle. Don’t you think struggling is healthy if you are getting richer with all such riches? All the best for your struggles and aspirations!! Keep aspiring and keep struggling !!