Dear Raghav Pathak,

I watched ‘Chhichhore’ back in 2019, but I don’t feel like I understood what you went through. Back then, I was only a boy of fifteen. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to contemplate suicide over a bad grade. I must admit, I judged you. I didn’t think you were weak, I just felt that not qualifying JEE was not reason enough for someone to end their life. I want you to know that my opinion of you has changed, now that I’m standing in your shoes.

There’s a putrid feeling in my chest. I’m scared all the time. I fear that I’ll never be good enough. I feel like I never did stand a chance. I fear the feeling of failure. I fear that I may have to take a drop year or that I might end up just like you; shattered and heart broken but most of all, I fear that I’m not working hard enough. I’m working, yes, but what if I’m not trying my best? I don’t think anyone else will get this. Hence, I’m writing to you.

I don’t think many people get this, but competitive exams are very draining. I set out on this journey to become a doctor two years ago and ever since, I’ve had more mental breakdowns than I have been able to count. “It’s not fair”, I constantly think to myself as I wonder about my peers and friends when I see them living the life that I could have chosen for myself. They attend party after party, go to a regular college, have regular friends and at the end of this, they’re left feeling nostalgic and overwhelmed by a heartwarming college experience. On the other hand, I’ve lost friends and so many parts of life. I’ve had memories that I cannot recall owing to the stress. I’ve lived through my teen years but I don’t think I’ve had any worthwhile experiences. I hate that I’ll never get to be seventeen again.

I want to be happy for my friends. I want to be able to feel like they deserved getting into a college before I did. I want to feel like they worked as hard as I did, but I don’t think I feel that way.

Raghav, I don’t need people to keep telling me that this paper will be fine and I’ll soon find myself well settled in a college too. I need someone to tell me that, should I need to drop a year for the sake of writing the paper next year, I’ll be fine. I want to stop feeling like failing an exam would be the end of me.

Author: Vedant Vaswani

Editor: Anika Priyaranjan

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