I grew up as an introvert during my school days. So, one thing that I have been passionate about since forever is filmmaking and music. Art was an escape for me; it became the medium to express what I felt. The audience which I got in return became my addiction after some point. I was able to express my feelings without having to talk. Studies have always been fascinating to me, but I wanted to pursue filmmaking, which is why I had applied to the best possible universities worldwide, scored an SAT score of 1380 out of 1600, with the perfect score in two subjects.
There is one thing that I have always practised all my life, and that is if I have my heart into something, I will do anything to accomplish that. Everyone told me that if I wanted to achieve my goals, I was supposed to get a good percentage in Class 12, and I gave it all my heart to score 95 per cent. I made sure that if I failed, I do not regret not working wholeheartedly. As soon as my high school ended, I was introduced to the National Defense Academy's exam. After the written test, there is a five-day-long test procedure called the Service Selection Board (SSB), which is considered the 8th most challenging exam globally, and the success rate is .00008 per cent. I was very intrigued by the idea of being beneficial to the nation. The idea of going out, travelling to endless places and getting the opportunity to discuss your ideas and opinions caught my attention.
I wanted to test my abilities to ensure if, at all, I had something in me; I wanted to see if I belonged to this field. I made it through the SSB thrice with an All India Rank (AIR) of 6, 88 and 240. I became even more confident about my abilities. Then, I started helping people out and advising them regarding their SSBs. Having done that, I always had my mind and heart in filmmaking and music. Then began the first phase of challenges in my life. I was pressured by family and relatives alike, and my dream of filmmaking was belittled, saying that if you have already gotten through for NDA, it was best if I chose to go there. People would ask me to pursue my passion if I already had a secured seat in the Academy for myself.
All Deadlines For Universities Abroad Ended
The decision-making phase took so long that the dates by when I had to confirm my seat in the best universities for filmmaking started to close. Eventually, I lost all my chances abroad and found myself in NDA, Khadakwasla. But, it took me only 22 days in the Academy to realize that I could not possibly give up on my dream so easily. More than that, I realized that I could not serve my country half-heartedly. One notion that I have had in my heart since the beginning is that if you want to be beneficial to your country, you should do it is your best. I wanted to make sure that I followed what brought my heart to fire to be my best.
After 22 days in the Academy, I had the difficult conversation with my parents, which required a lot of convincing. After speaking to my parents, I thought that things would be more accessible now, and I would follow my passion, little did I know that the fight had just begun. After dropping out of NDA, I had become the 'loser of disgrace' who left the Academy to do something as minor as creative content. In the eyes of society, I had brought shame to my family and nation. I became the selfish person who kept his dreams above his family's dreams.
I Became The Loser In Disgrace For The Family
My closest ones have called me out, the people I never expected would judge me. I had had phases when I took admission to a local college in Dehradun, and a bunch of random people followed me to express their hatred towards a decision that I had taken for myself. That was the phase I lost all possible touch with my friends and family. For three months, I was grounded and isolated; I was not allowed to go out. They taunted me that I used and wasted a seat that a die-hard aspirant would have done anything for, but I withdrew from the Academy when the next person in line could still be admitted into the Academy. People did not know that, and neither did they care about the real story, which is why they hated me with all their calls.
That was the scariest phase, and I have received threats on call, death threats on email. People somehow got to know my address and my routine. This continued for a year, and after one year, I had my breakthrough when every bit of hard work and sweat I had been putting in all through this phase made sense. I questioned myself several times if I took the right decision, and every time, my heart would stand by my decision. I never chose to stop because I had given up a lot to pursue my dreams. My first breakthrough was an international project in Bali, Indonesia, and I was supposed to travel there for 28 days.
I now share my experience with defence aspirants. I wanted to make sure that if I have the experience to my name, I make that count as well. After the Bali breakthrough, I met with two consecutive significant accidents, because of which I suffered substantial financial losses. I have been at a stage of life where I did not have ₹20 for a cup of coffee to my name. I preferred to travel in overnight buses rather than staying in a hotel overnight. I know how much I value all the things in my life right now. Today, I have given over 50 speeches across the country, including 3 TEDx talks and a Josh Talk.
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