Born in the beautiful city of Ranchi, the city of waterfalls and scenic pleasantry, Rounak has always been a cherished child. Being the eldest son in his family, the weight of responsibilities never left his shoulders but as Newton’s third law says: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction; his strong will and determination pushed back equally and he rose up to shine brighter than Sirius. Let’s read his story in his own words –
“Dreams are the ones you see while sleeping but true dreams are ones that won’t let you sleep at night. It took me too long to realize this but the journey to this realization is what makes me grateful for every bit of it. Being the eldest son, I was expected to live into a predefined frame of idealism. However, life is no bed of flowers; if it is, they don’t come without thorns. I faced incessant bullying throughout my school life for my obesity. Did I forget to mention that I weighed 106 Kgs at that time? I must have because it wasn’t what defined me but for people around me, it did. Despite being a school topper, I had very few friends and even in that small circle, I felt insecure and underconfident. The constant casual remarks on my weight pushed me on the verge of depression. My mental health suffered and I cornered myself even further.
I remember I walked to the mirror one day and couldn’t recognize myself, those hopeless eyes, and constantly tired posture. That was the day I knew this needed to change. From the next day, I started working out and spending time with my family and close friends. With time, things got better, life felt more lively again. My excelling academics fetched me the post of school captain. I was on cloud nine.
In this buoyancy, I decided to appear for JEE Mains and qualified in the first attempt but due to constant bullying and scathing criticism, I lost self-confidence and subsequently lost motivation to sit for JEE Advanced. This incident was a turning point in my life, leading to the daunting realization of how I let other people’s opinions affect my life and close the doors of opportunities. With the motivation to prove myself and open the closed doors, I gave my best to improve my personality and garner self-confidence to capture my dreams. I ended up losing 40 kgs in six months, started socializing, and worked on enhancing my self-confidence.
During my undergraduate, I started volunteering at an NGO in my aspiration to serve society. We started providing clothes and books to underprivileged children, arranged sporting events like cricket, marathons, and intellectual games. We even organized some sessions to help them boost their self-confidence, providing them inspiration through real-life stories of failure to success.
I even joined the Rotaract club at St. Xavier Ranchi, where I am the director now, in my aspiration to give back to society. Here, we offer dedicated sessions to women on hygiene maintenance during menstruation, provide medicines and other health services.
While I was content in life, I wanted to think about the future. In this, I decided to appear for CAT and began my preparation in my penultimate year of college. With limited access to study resources in my city, I decided to prepare on my own. The first few mocks were very demotivating and the lack of proper mentorship made it even tougher to stay motivated. I still took out time outside my academics to continue my preparation. The time went with lightning speed, while I started focusing on my weak areas. DILR gave me a very tough time and was affecting my overall score. I remember there was a time I was doing 20 cases per day and still wasn’t confident enough. The last few days were very daunting and I felt really nervous.
The D-Day was full of anxiety but the support of my family and friends gave me a streak of optimism and self-confidence, with a mixed fear of failure. The next 2 hours of the exam went by like a frisk of air. When I stepped out of the exam hall, I felt happy after a very long time. I was content with my performance. What further added to my elation was a 99.40%ile in the DILR section. I had overcome my biggest fear with shining colors. The path ahead was still tough; Preparing for GD, PIs, and finally giving my best into it.
There are some days when you can just feel the possibility of life. The day that I got the acceptance mail from IIM Rohtak, Happy, ecstatic, and relieved are the emotions that I felt. That day was the one that I anticipated for days, months, even years. Every ounce of energy that I had poured into studies, clubs, sports, and volunteering was all in preparation for this single day.
I had been a star performer throughout school and college and also accomplished some big things. I did have some heartbreaks and some very big disappointments, but I feel nothing among that can come close to this.
I felt this story is important to share. I owe it to every child who got bullied just because they didn’t fit society’s lens of standards. Life is tough, you’ll see difficult times, you’ll feel like giving up but don’t. Garner the last ounce of motivation you have and start walking through the tunnel, because trust me, the other side is brighter and prettier than the northern lights.”