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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What the Deferral from Harvard taught me!

The thousand pages book in my arms was waiting for me to flip through it and study its lessons for my Physics Exam two days later. But my mind was altogether in a totally different dimension, speculating about my dream school- Harvard. Waves of ecstasy and waves of dismay were causing fringes of positive and negative notions in my mind. The night seemed to me like the night of the "Ultimate Decision of my Life". And rather than reading through the pages of my Physics books, I was refreshing the Application Status Portal Page for my Harvard Early Decision Application and was reading that page time and again to spot any update in my Application Status.
Image result for harvard alumni
Pic courtesy: Google Images
I knew that once the decisions are released, either I would be elated enough to betray my physics book and dance in the middle of the night or I would be mourned enough to literally drench the book with tears that would be created by the molten dream of mine. Each feeling was on the extreme sides of the emotion-o- meter, and I was naive enough to not consider any emotion that could put me in the middle of the meter- in a tranquilized state. This quandary was heightening my expectations at one moment and crushing them down the next very moment. However, I knew that this dilemma would end up very soon, with a letter from Harvard and I would be embracing any one of the extremities. 
But while I was hitting the refresh button blindly, on one seemingly unfortunate point of time, I spotted a change on the Portal. And for that moment, that final situation of heightened restlessness and suspense that reality shows try to create, was naturally created for me. But as I read the decision, it felt that the Dilemma Monster swallowed me deeper rather than sparing my life.
The people at Harvard were unable to award me with any decision and I was DEFERRED. I was trying to prolong the natural blinks of my eye so that when I read through the decision again, it might miraculously be in my favor. Nevertheless, as reality crept stealthily into my mind, I was assured that those letters were not going to change until late March. 
But this reality was seeping me into that tube slide that I was stuck in during the Water Fun Tour of fifth grade. And the whole scene made me shiver even then. The ride-keeper had not informed me that the water flow was absent in that tube and had not denied me an Admission into it. And the absence of a surge of water and the material of my swimsuit had contributed to my getting stuck in the middle of the tube such that I wasn't able to pass through the process of sliding through the ride and be Accepted in the fresh cool water that the Tube Slide led to. I was just stuck in the middle and very soon, lack of enough air was trying to take away my senses and I was yelling for help. I was hardly able to breathe in that closed slide. Trying to slide down was all in vain and I felt that this would very soon take my life away from me. I was able to relate the deferral with this traumatic and threatening experience of my life. I knew that if not for the ride-keeper who had just saved me back then, I wouldnt have been able to get a chance to face a very similar situation again. 
But the night was cruel enough to give me moments of seclusion to relate the mere deferral to all such experiences that later seemed in no way anywhere near Harvard's decision. Yet, this seclusion and the world of imagination themselves emerged as a savior for me. 
The dilemma was unending and I was examining all the odds for my acceptance later in the Regular Decision. I was sailing in the ocean of optimism ad pessimism that were trying to decide my course of life. But one thought changed the way I was perceiving everything. "This confused state had actually saved me from entering into the two extremities of emotions that a meditating enlightened person shall detest. I have heard of all the preaching in all religions to maintain a state of tranquility and peace of mind despite gains and losses." This deferral caused confusion in my mind, but I was neither happy nor sad. And no decision in life could have actually portrayed to me the importance of being in the middle of the emotion-o-meter. An acceptance or a denial would have raised emotions and the extremities would have debarred me from thinking such deeply about myself. And by then, all the tube slide analogies and feelings seemed just a null pack of ideas that a restless mind generates. 
Life is about balancing the expressions and staying in peaceful state. These verses 64-65 from Bhagwad Geeta teach us about tranquility.
"रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन् |
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति || 64|"
"प्रसादे सर्वदु:खानां हानिरस्योपजायते |
प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धि: पर्यवतिष्ठते || 65|"
Geeta and all other religious books teach us how overcoming the feelings of sorrow upon loses and happiness upon victories and gains could make us peaceful and takes us close to the Divine. 
So Deferral then, was the only option that would actually help me stay calm and embrace that mantra of life- the mantra which created an inner ambiance within me such that any situation could bring me peace and no other extreme emotions. I simply applied this state of mind into that night. I knew that a denial or acceptance would have hampered my connection with my Physics book. But the deferral soon helped me concentrate on my book and boosted my Mid Year Exam preparations. 
Image result for tranquility
Pic Courtesy: Google Images
So this is how deferral taught me to apply this to any decision in life. This deferral I feel, was not postponing of an admission decision by Harvard, but was a time that I was gifted with to make myself capable of sustaining any decision that could come forth. Everything happens for the good and whether my candidacy was strong enough for Harvard is no more a question for me. It is no more the melting of a dream into nothing. But rather rebuilding of my inner perceptions and refurbishing my dream with a lesson that life seldom tries to teach. 
And with no tone of sarcasm, I am deeply grateful to Harvard for putting me and all other candidates who were deferred into such a condition that would not put us into the religiously detested extremities of emotions. So now, I do hope for the best to happen to me, but I am sure that whatever happens, I am ready to face everything with peace in my heart and my mind. 


  1. A state of mind difficult to reach! Very well-written.

    1. Yeah indeed a difficult state to achieve. Thank you for reading!