So after failing to qualify this exam called GATE, I did not know what to do with my life. I felt so bad that I sometimes felt I am a failure, or is about to be. But on the positive side, I knew I am a person who was always good at coming up with options when I fail. Some of them may be stupid, and some are out of the world (People have told me this!). And so, I listed out my options. And remember, Masters in Germany was never in that list.
So after 1 week of contemplation, I decided to apply for *remaining* exams in India (BITSAT, MAT at that time) and started the prep for those. Another one week later I realized that there was no progress. I was still in the pain of failing GATE. So I stopped studying. I did not do anything for another 2 weeks. I kept listening to my parents giving and finding more options for me. Like going for an M.Tech at UPES (read huge fees!), and searching for Jobs. While all that was happening, my friend Aslam once messaged me saying why I should even consider India for higher studies. He said many things which led me to consider Germany and France as a prospective study destination. I am really thankful to him for that series of messages he sent that night. It made me think from a different perspective. I knew I had to do this. By the time, many of my friends had got interview calls from IITs for M.Tech. I felt jealousy, and I told them that I was jealous of them and their achievement. 😛
So, I figured out the colleges where I can apply, and their application requirements. One of them was TOEFL. Since I had no or less time, I registered a date for TOEFL just one week after. I split the sections I needed to work on, managed time efficiently, and took many practice tests (something I did not do for GATE). I had to travel to Trivandrum for the test. I knew I had to do this all alone for a home run since my father was not really ready to accept that I could do this. I even had to ask money from my sister and mother to register for the tests and apply to colleges. But once I got the admit from Universität Freiburg (Germany) and Université de Strasbourg (France) for an International Masters, my father got back to his form.
Then came the travelling part. I travelled many times to Bangalore for Visa procedures. Alone. All this was new to me. Travelling alone with strangers. Avoiding them always cos I was told not to take anything from them. Peeing accurately into the hole in the toilet. Phone dying off, cos its a frickin’ BlackBerry. Memorizing numbers of my friend in Bangalore, just before the battery drained off. Travelling to the embassy in Bangalore BMTC bus and back! Travelling from my friends apartment in Bangalore to the Bangalore railway station (Majestic) in bus. All alone. All this was new for me. Back in the day, there used to be someone with me whenever and wherever I went for the first time to show me around. But not during those times. But I still found my way, never got lost, or was never late.
My greatest fear was flying. Delhi – Moscow – Stuttgart. It was the first time, that too international. 5 days prior to this, I had to get to Delhi in a train with 4 bags in hand. Again, alone. 2pc luggage with 23 Kgs each, 1 Laptop, 1 Hand luggage (10Kg), and another cover with snacks for my friends in Delhi. And the most interesting part is that I got in the wrong coach – with all that luggage. I couldn’t even say a proper goodbye to my parents. I was so sad. It was the last time I would see them in 2 years. But that feeling faded once I started thinking of my journey ahead. I had to do this. But first, I had to get to the 3AC coach which was 7 coaches away, and had a pantry car in between. So two people agreed to help me take the luggage to the 3AC coach at the next stop. Once it reached Trissur, they helped me, and I am very thankful to them. I dont know who they are or where they came from, but 2 blessed souls they are. These are the times when I started believing in God.
So, back to my first flight experience. I was tensed of course, and it was 0100 hrs, It was cold. My flight was at 0415 hrs. Even colder. I did not even know what to do once I was in the terminal. But thanks to my friends again, I didn’t have to worry no more. They stood there at the airport till I went through all formalities and reached my GATE. My GATE. Remember? The exam I failed.
Many people have played a role in getting me here (I am in Germany right now, btw). And when I think of everything everyone has done for me, I feel I haven’t given enough in return. Phm. It’s weird, I don’t feel like typing anymore. So in Germany, we say Tschuss. Means Bye. Und bis bald!
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
P.S. I am called George in Deutschland. Here people are known by their last names.