By Manik Rege

Dear Dad,

I’m taking a drop. And it’s not the end of the world.

I know you’re scared for my future.

I know your generation doesn’t approve this.

I’m well aware of the hardships you’ve seen in your childhood.

You guys couldn’t even afford to take a break, could you? The moment you completed your education, you were told to GET A JOB. Any job. Because job means security. And security means money. Money- A luxury you didn’t enjoy much in your days, did you?

I know you’re not happy with my decision. I know you’re afraid I might lose my focus and I might drift away. I understand your fear and I respect your concern as a parent.

But I request you to hear me out just this once. I’m born in a different time, Papa. I have a different story to tell you.

Story. Remember the story of the race between the hare and the tortoise? That was one of my favourites. I remember forcing you to read it to me every night.

The hare stops in the middle of the race for a little nap, while the tortoise keeps moving ahead and eventually turns out victorious!

“SLOW BUT STEADY WINS THE RACE!” the moral of the story was etched deep into my mind.

I became so convinced that one must keep moving ahead in order to succeed. I began to believe that if I stopped, even for a little while, I would be thrown out of the race.

I developed a fear of commas and pauses. Because pausing is a bad thing, right, Dad? Doing nothing is a sin? At least that’s how I looked at it.

Today, when I failed in my exams for the first time in my life, I learned that reality is very different. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you’re bound to fail. Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you want it to.

Sometimes, even if you’ve given your 100% you fail. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is not rebounding after failure. What’s not okay is giving up. And why does one give up? Because one simply doesn’t have any more strength to go on…

I sacrificed my mental health, my sleep, my physical fitness and my social life- only to go blank the moment I saw the question paper. I stretched myself so much that when I needed to give my best, I had nothing left at all.

I’m not justifying my failure. I’m not saying one should stop working hard and become a lazy person; I’m only trying to tell you that sometimes, one needs to take a break- a pause- to look back at his mistakes and work on them.

Sometimes, you need to take a ‘comma’ in life. You need to take a few steps back in order to go ahead. Every arrow must stretch back if it wants to hit its target with speed. Every bird has to flap its wings downwards if it wants to fly above. Everybody has to take a comma if they want to keep writing the story of their life.

Look, I know what you’re thinking Dad. You’re thinking this is all very easy to preach, and next to impossible to do. You know why that is? It’s because we’ve become so addicted to all the noise around us, that ‘silence’ is something we now dislike and dread.

Society tells us that it’s necessary to speak, to act, to do, to live, to run. Society talks about people who never gave up on their dreams, who always kept moving ahead. Society lies to us about this.

The greats took their breaks, too. They cried after their failures. They took the time to heal, to look back and understand where they went wrong.

They decided to work on their mistakes, and more importantly, they decided to accept that they had made mistakes. And that takes courage. It takes a lot of patience to accept yourself and the truth.

Peace and success don’t come as easily as we think they do. Everything in life takes time and only those who accept that reality succeed in the long run.

Take Oprah for example. The global TV sensation faced a lot of setbacks earlier in her career.

She admitted that she went through depression and crippling defeats. But those failures didn’t stop her, though.

She let them teach her the biggest lesson in life- Always give your best, but never expect anything in return. Because returns, appreciation and success for your work take a lot of time, sacrifice and efforts from your side.

It’s pointless to just keep expecting everything to come to you on a silver platter, all at once…

Everything in life takes its own sweet time and we should, too. It’s necessary to accept your pace and work accordingly.

Einstein once said that if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life thinking that it’s stupid.

Just like that, we all have our own limits, capabilities and a unique set of skills. While it is necessary to challenge those limits every now and then, sometimes, it’s best that we accept our defeat and respect the reality.

If we try to do things we know are not currently possible or are not in our power right now, we’ll only end up being more disappointed and heartbroken.

Rather than jumping directly on the peak, we need to start taking small steps towards our goals. As we keep learning and growing, we can slowly begin to take larger steps. And whenever we feel like we need some rest, I think we should embrace the opportunity and STOP.

Stopping is not a bad thing. Sometimes you need to go on the defence and let destiny take over for a while.

And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to stop thinking too much and concentrate on myself. I’m going to spot my weaknesses and work on them. I’m going to give my wounds some time to heal.

My body and my mind need rest. And I’m not ashamed of that. This doesn’t make me weak. The fact that I choose to acknowledge my defeat makes me feel so strong.

But, Dad, I can’t do this without you. I need you to trust me. I’ll take some rest, have a good night’s sleep and try harder next year.

I’m taking a drop, Dad. And I promise you it’s not the end of the world.


Will you race with me?