The underdog

1:30:00
1:29:59
1:29:58 …
The countdown ticked reminding me that it was near at last. I couldn’t recall a time in my life when I felt what I felt now. In this moment of.my life, the struggle I had the past few months flashed before my eyes.
Few months ago
 
“… I’m the underdog, live my life on a lullaby… ” 
Kasabian’s underdog was playing in YouTube. I don’t remember browsing for that song. Probably autoplay triggered it.

I believe that there is nothing called a coincidence in our life. Every thing that happens, happens for a reason. And I believed the thing when that song played.

“… I’m the underdog, live my life on a lullaby… ”
It was playing. I was preparing for IES(Indian Engineering Services) at that time. I lost hope on GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering), and although I had a job fallback on,  I wanted to have sometime more (human desire, isn’t it?)
And my mind got fixated on IES. Since then, I started preparing. Those wonderful, terrible days. Only if my friend wasn’t there  to help me through this crisis, I wouldn’t have known where I was. Not that I know now, though. To tell about my friend, I guesswork are enough for now. Not that he is like that, but any gesture I make here, you can’t see them, right? Anyway, he’s the kind of guy whom you see chilling all day, but still get a decent grade(he had wonderful grades in each subject though). He had a poor choice in friends (actually everyone was his friend). He focuses on all that relationship shit, blah blah… But he was the guy I need right now.
After listening to that song, I closed down my laptop, took my book of doubts, scribbled something in it and went to him. There were nearly 2 pages of doubts in it when I went to him (that was his condition when he agreed to clarify my doubts).
He started to go through each of them and  started explaining them to me. Although I always preferred doubts from the topper, not him, I never used to completely understand what he told. The topper used to clarify that in an exam point of view, but not the actual theory. But this guy, he clarifies everything so patiently.
At the end there is one question that I wrote down. “What is an underdog?” He replied ” Underdog is someone who is unlikely to win.” Then I asked him “Am I an underdog?”
He paused there for a while. Formulating an answer, I guessed. “Do you think you’re an underdog?” he asked. Suddenly.my flow of thought interrupted by him asking me when the results were out. I looked at the countdown.
1:01:26
1:01:25
1:01:24 …
“In an hour”, I replied.
“Wanna get a coffee?” He asked. His way of passing the time. He usually doesn’t drink coffee, unless he’s tended. Sure, and we went for a coffee. My mind raced back to continue to relive the moment.
“I don’t know” I gave the answer. Honestly,I wanted his answer. Not another question. “Tell me either a yes or no. Not a diplomatic answer to me” I replied, rather harshly. He was taken aback. I could see that in his eyes.
“Dude, chill. I, never for even a second, thought that you are an underdog. You always were capable to win. It was that you focused on something else, which is the reason why you feel like that. Not because you’re unlikely to win. Now stop asking these rubbish questions and focus on the task at hand. Any other doubts?” He said. It was my turn to be taken aback.
“No. Well, thanks” I said. I could see that he sensed a little sadness in my voice. Then he put his hand on my shoulder in an assuring manner and said “you can do this.”
“How could I? I don’t have a decent grade, I never attended classes. I never even bothered to study. How do you even believe I can do this?”
“It’s not because you haven’t studied or haven’t attended classes. It’s because you are dedicated towards it. Let me in on a little secret. You’re one of the most dedicated person I’ve ever known. And this, is from my heart.”
That gave the push I needed. My whole life had changed. “Dude, your coffee.” He shouted. This brought me to my present. Taking m coffee, I saw it was cold. How long was I been thinking?
Check out the countdown” he asked me.
31:23
31:22
31:21
“Another half hour” I replied. So around 20 minutes, I was out in my thoughts. Really long time, I felt. Let’s watch a sitcom, he suggested. No, I wasn’t in any mood to watch anything then. “Let’s go for a walk,” I replied. back to my thoughts.
I never understood till then why did whenever bother hanging out with me. He had friends whose thing in life is to do awesome stuff everyday. But he still chose to hang out with me, the guy whose life is mundane to even be bothered about. But whenever he came to.me, yelled at me, told me funny anecdotes, failed love.stories, I could lot help but smile at what he used to say and at the fact that he trusted me.
Successfully, the countdown was nearly five minutes when we started running back to our rooms.
0:53
0:52
0:51
The last minute. It is arriving.
0:03
0:02
0:01
The countdown started beeping indicating that the end has come. I kept refreshing the browser page, till I got the login page. And there it was. The final barrier to my result.
I logged in and pressed submit on results.
After the results were displayed, I yelled my result to him even thought he was just beside me. “Is it real?” I asked him.
Yes, yes, it is. You have done it. He said.
I could only jump in excitement as I left to run in the hostel to come down to ground. The only thing I could see on my screen was AIR 12 (All India Rank)
I’m not the underdog.
Surya.
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