Its 7:40 AM in the morning, with the sun providing a stint of warmth in the month of October. Students with folded hands are chanting prayers in the morning assembly in a school of a small town in West Bengal. There is a boy in the center with well pressed uniform, his shirt glazing white in the sunshine, the shoe polished black and a slight blinking eyes waiting for the prayers to end. A sense of anxiety passes through his murmuring lips and a drop of sweat flows through his forehead towards his eyes in the pleasant morning, to mark growing tension.
The 11th standard student is Anurag, with completely different thoughts running in his mind. He is one of the eligible candidates for the post of School Captain and today is the day when they’ll get to know it. The imaginary announcement is playing across his mind in loop, with the words blowing silently in his inner ears – “The School Captain is …”
Five years ago when he entered this new school and was called for the morning assembly, he saw a guy standing on the podium. His voice commanded the school and Anurag could feel the 100 students following him religiously. It astonished him. Anurag noticed he was wearing the same uniform as him, he knew that the guy was a senior. But how was he getting the honor of standing on the podium and commanding every activity to regulate the assembly? Anurag being the curious type asked the boy in front, “Who is he?” The guy said “The School Captain.” His eyes lit up with a dream to be that guy in school, in the days to come. This was how he dreamt of being the School Captain. He again said to his friend, “I want to be there”, to which the reply was just a giggle for obvious reasons. Anurag was determined but he knew that it is not going to be easy and it will take time for him to be there as he was still in class six. But for him it was an opportunity of five years in which he could prove his capability to live his dream.
He laid a roadmap in his mind with few milestones in between the journey.
Being the school captain was his dream but to get there he had to bag few achievements under his kitty. Like academic brilliance, vice-captain of his house, winning few competitions and most importantly, being the favourite among the teachers. It seemed like a scatter of some mini goals. But that was the well formulated path with each achievement making its own story. The journey seemed like a video game where you have to get the crown but that is only possible if you pass few levels ahead.
Anurag being the last rank holder in his school at class five, knew that first thing he had to do was work on his academics. So, he worked hard, scored good marks in the half yearly examination and secured 2nd rank in class. Not only the teachers but for a moment even he was in disbelief. He had actually managed to beat some of the smart students in his class and make his mark in the minds of the teacher. Achievement one got completed and level two unlocked.
He started nominating himself from the house to deliver thoughts, news and extempore for the day. That was the beginning of his going up on the stage. The first feeling of him saying something from high up there to all his fellow mates was pleasing his heart. It acted as fuel to ignite the flame and going ahead for the bigger flame. This became a regular phenomenon and soon he was one of the reliable persons in the house whom the captain could trust on even at the last moment. He took part in various competitions for his house and won prizes. Achievement two was complete as well and three was to be unlocked.
Now it was a crucial stage in class 9, where he needed to get selected for the Vice-Captain position. It was the time when he would know whether all his hard work was paying off or no. This one step would decide whether he was on the right path or all his attempts and achievements were smoke without any fire in real. The selection process went for few weeks. It zeroed down to three candidates at the end. Needless to say Anurag was one of them. All three were called for the final announcement by the teacher in her cabin. Anurag was confident of getting the position. But it didn’t go as planned. The position was offered to the other girl who was the daughter of one of the school teachers.
He couldn’t believe his ears and it seemed like the dream was going miles away from him. That ten second when somebody else’s name was announced, he went numb. He was about to drop his tears when he felt the teacher holding his hand. She asked both the other students to go and stopped Anurag for further talk. She confessed, “I wanted you to become the vice-captain, but some things don’t go as per the wish. I hope you would understand my situation and work for the bigger picture. I promise to support you then.” Those words took him to cloud nine. He realized that not everything visible is correct. Sometime the truth is hidden behind the curtains for better good. One needs to forget about the small things and concentrate on the real big deal. He failed level three but he somehow got the keys of level 5 there. Yet, Anurag knew that he needed to work for the remaining level in between.
Stage four was like when a king conquers an area by proving his supreme over others, he has to move over to other places to maintain his dignity. Similar was the situation with Anurag. He won many competitions in School but it was time to hunt bigger and he was nominated for few Inter School Competitions. His first such competition was a debate and he was underestimated by the participants from other school just because no one had won anything from his school before. He listened to few of the good candidates. His confidence was very low. It seemed as if he had already lost the competition without even performing. When his turn came, the only words that came into his mind were, “I don’t have anything to lose. For them I am already a loser but if I win I would set an example”.
His legs shivered when he spoke but his voice confident. He performed well and could manage to win 3rd prize in the competition. He was not the winner but he knew that he has achieved something significant for his school. It would be now that his school will also be looked at with respect in those competitions. When he went to school the next day he was honoured on the stage by the school principal. The applause from the crowd made his day. The significance of his achievement grew tenfold.
After that there were numerous other competitions in various fields in which he took part and won prizes. This level was great success. Achievement four and five were bagged in sync with each other.
Anurag managed to score good marks in his board examinations and once again made his school proud by competing with students of other schools not only in competitions but also academically. He was a known figure in the school not only among the teachers but also among the students. Class 11 was a new journey as the distant dream was just a few months away.
Post class 10, a lot of new faces joined with everyone carrying noteworthy achievements from their past. Now it was time for the real battle as he had to prove his mettle again. Amidst a larger crowd. The selection process started with numerous applications in the beginning which got reduced to the final five. No one was sure about what will be the final results.
And the day was finally here when Anurag was waiting for his name to be called on the stage, praying for it to happen. The announcement was made by the principal. “The new School Captain is Anurag Agarwal,” with huge applause following from the students and teachers. Time just stopped for him as he looked up towards heaven. He could not hear any other sound except, “You did it” ringing inside his brain. His friends pushed him off the line to go to the stage. The badge of School Captain was plugged over the shirt on his chest.
That badge didn’t add any weight but surely reduced a huge load he was carrying from five years.
There is a difference between a dream and a goal. We call something a dream which we think as far-fetched and have minimal chance of fulfilling. But we call it a goal when we are ready to put all the hard work we can to achieve it. Goals are achievable and dreams are what you wish to achieve. Make your dreams the goal but don’t just waste time watching but trying to live it. If Anurag could do this then everyone can do it.