In the beginning, there was a preface…
Those were amazing times. I miss them. Everyday, for a year we (Pratik, me and Pratyush) would meet up at Prayag’s place and together would solve math problems from dawn to dusk. It took me from IMA to IIT-Bombay, Pratik to IIT-Madras, Pratyush to IISER-Mohali and Prayag to CMI. We redefined ourselves, rose above “me” and worked towards “us”. The self-centered ego melted away. Here we were learning :
” If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together”
Everything starts slow. There were days, when we could solve only 3 to 4 problems on a whole day. Bartley-Sherbert (Introduction to Real Analysis) and Gallian (Contemporary Abstract Algebra) seemed too difficult. We started by reading the preface which said:
” Dear sir or Madam, will you read my book, it took me years to write, will you take a look?”
Thirty days hence we finished a 500 page book along with all its exercises solved and written neatly. We remembered
“If you feel how depressingly slowly you climb, it is well to remember that things take time”
I learnt that there is no shame in defeat. I learnt to accept the shortcomings and worked on them. I learnt it from Pratik. He could take failures so well and accepted them . Before that I never accepted them. I learnt logic from Prayag, the art of questioning, arguing. He taught me mathematics. He has all the attributes of a mathematician. He is the best among us.
I learnt hardwork from NIran and Indra. When most of us enjoyed the comfort of a bed during our school days, here are guys who slept on the floors of school, sometimes on trees, when a bear came unannounced. They survived on food which would make a billy goat puke. Now one of them is in IIT-Kanpur and the other one in IIT-Bombay. Not a bad place to be in ehh!!.A movie based on this story has national award written all over it.
For a lot of kids in their area who dream of attending a school, these guys are an inspiration, a ray of hope, a light which makes them believe that dreams don’t turn to dust if you are willing to put all you have got. Hell! They inspire all of us. I learnt
“If the will be firmly bent, nothing resists the mind’s intention”
There is no substitute for hard work. Never had the privilege to experience it before hand. After a hard day’s work when the head hits the pillow, the feeling that the day couldn’t have been spent better is incomparable. Here I was learning lessons of a life time which only life could give. They said “Life is the greatest teacher” and I couldn’t agree less. I came to respect a hardworking man. I became more humble. No school could have taught me these.
” It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doers of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; but who does actually strive to do the deeds;who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;who spends himself in worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”
I am not afraid of failing anymore. I just learnt to work hard and the rest will take care of itself. They said:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Again I agreed. We started with a preface. We will write one some day.Nothing in this world is permanent. The journey was wonderful. All beautiful journeys come to an end. Now that we have reached somewhere, all in different corners of the country, I learnt that it was never about reaching the summit. It is about the highs and lows we experienced, the striving as a team, the sweats and tears, the memories we have, the friendship we forged, the lessons we learnt, the darkness before the light. Finally
“The journey is its own reward”
But then every end is a new beginning. Looking forward to another journey with you all again…so long my friends!!