Dear Batch of 2017,
Before I begin, let me convey my heartfelt wishes to each one of you.
Heartiest congratulations to you for making it through one of the toughest examination against all odds, against all failures and against all hopes of those who thought you cannot do it!
So, how are you all doing this morning?
I know it is quite chilly these days in Mussoorie but then you have to blame yourself for being the brightest among the bright and deserving a seat here in this auditorium of LBSNAA.
Just the other day when you all turned up for registration at the Academy, I had a chance to interact with few amongst you and the otherwise cursory introduction drifted into the stories of your struggles, your perseverance and your unflinching resolve to be here. And though unprecedented for an induction programme but that is exactly what I am going to talk about here today.
Let me begin with the story of the one amongst you who was conveniently labelled a non-performer, a good-for-nothing fellow who had already flunked at the Mains thrice but still would not stop himself from working even harder. And finally this year he did it. He did it because, he had no other choice but to do it. It did not matter that he was not an IITian. It did not matter that he belonged to a remote village where electricity is a privilege. It did not matter that he had to borrow books. It did not matter that he had to face the scathing comments on every failure. The one thing and the only thing that mattered was his resolve. His resolve to do it. And he did it.
Sitting two rows in front of him is a teary-eyed girl whose story itself is not an iota less remarkable. In fact, for her it was even more arduous. Born into a family where marrying off the girls at the earliest is the norm and where a girl who dares to study beyond high school is thought to have become ‘non-marriageable’, she not only had to fight the world outside but even within. She had to bear the vitriolic “Yeh Collectorni banengi”, “Shaadi karo aur ‘iske’ ghar bhejo”, “Ladko ke liye naukri hai nahi, inhe aur chahiye”. But today she is sitting amongst you. She too did it. She did it because she became deaf to all the voices who said she cannot do it. She did it because she became oblivious to anything that tried to take her eyes off her target. She did it because she believed she can.
Each one of you is an example of indefatigable determination and unquenchable desire to be here. You marshalled all your courage and all your resources to single-mindedly focus on your goal. You did miss those weddings of distant relatives, birthdays, anniversaries, hug day, chocolate day and what-not day but now you know that your absenteeism in any of them did not make any difference to the world. But since you sacrificed it all that, you are today among those lucky ones who will make a world of difference to the world!
Favourable situations did not make you successful. As is the case, they were not conducive for hundreds who still made it to be here. No universe conspired to get you what you wanted. You forced the universe to give you what you wanted.
You could do it because you knew you don’t have to live an ordinary life till it ends and that for an extraordinary life, you have to make an extraordinary effort. And you did make that effort!