You did it! Your months of preparation for the entrance exams and interviews, has paid off. We are excited to welcome you to S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Class of 2023”
The message flashed without a buffer on the screen that it almost felt anticlimactic. The feeling of settling down after months of effort transcended upon me finally, and the next work mail was met with a dissonance uncharacteristic of my perceived demeanor. Engrossed in their happiness like me were almost two hundred more people scattered like specks in the Indian subcontinent. It was surprising that completely different journeys culminated at a common destination in SPJIMR Mumbai. My emotional vocabulary was still not extensive enough to express all the emotions that I felt and wanted to convey. So, I went to bed early that day feeling like an overnight sensation with a sudden clout. Early next morning, scared that it may have gone away I cautiously looked again at the message. It was there and so were the thoughts of the previous night.
The message on the screen almost metaphorically whispered in my ear “Don’t stop now, you are getting there”. Almost in an impulse, I cross-questioned as to what it was referring to? I got an answer – it was the ‘key to a horizon of possibilities’. A bridge between me and a beautiful triumphant life at the other end which was closer now than ever before. I could feel a rush of dopamine in my veins making me feel reinvigorated after a monotonous life of logging in and out of my work computer. Realizing that I was already late in starting the day, I jumped out of my bed and got ready to go for a walk in the park. At the gate, I noticed a well-built boy helping two elderly people (I am guessing his parents) through the gate. Looking intently at this inevitable role reversal, I thought about all the people in my life who had contributed to my journey thus far. Sleepless nights of my parents, love of my siblings, compromises of my friends; a ladder of sorts which helped me reach to the supposed ‘top’. Suddenly, I felt an obligation of giving back to all these rungs of the ladder which supported my weight.
Engrossed in my thoughts I had already completed one round of the park. When I was reaching the entry gate again, I noticed a dog with a broken left leg leading a pack of puppies across the moist ground. The tender limbs of the puppies got frequently entangled with the pits in the ground and one of them fell into a pit. The dog leading the pack stopped, realizing one less whimper behind it, turned back and helped the puppy out of the pit with the use of its mouth and right leg. With all puppies back in the pack and a small group hug, they started the journey again. I was impressed by such teamwork propelled by the pure intent of the canine leader. This brought back some memories of my managers whom I looked up to. Even though they were under pressure to get things delivered, they adopted a ‘team first’ approach by deploying empathy as a tool of choice. That dog was like an effective leader who didn’t leave the puppies behind in spite of their challenges.
After two more rounds of the park, I sat on the bench in tranquility. The turmoil in my mind had finally subsided with the pleasant news of me getting an admission to my dream institution. The pieces of my life were finally falling into place. I realized that I was inherently scared of transition as the existing inertia had become a comfort zone for me. It was a lot of responsibility to initiate a fresh journey for becoming a management leader and facing the plethora of obstacles that lay ahead. At that very moment, I recalled a quote by John C Maxwell who said, “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn, but for either of those you have to try”. My eyes went towards a flock of milky pigeons flapping their wings and majestically taking off into sky. A smile crossed my face and I briskly walked out of the park.