The Secret of my life
In a fascinating flashback of his life, Dr Aditya Rattan reveals how the teachings of Rhonda Byrne’s popular book coincided with the stages leading up to his choice of profession
I got my copy of the bestseller The Secret from Janpath Street, New Delhi. As The Secret started revealing itself with the turn of the pages, I was transported to the flashback of my life.
Almost four decades ago, in a sleepy town of Haryana, a boy, whom his parents lovingly named Aditya, was born in a government hospital on a pleasant day of October. His father, who had a great interest in Vedic scriptures, while undergoing his graduation, happened to come across a gentleman, Prof. Aditya. He got so fascinated by this person that he made up his mind to name his would-be son after him, post marriage. And rightly so, I too am proud of this name given by him.
I grew in an era where black-and-white TV was the only entertainment. Another bulky piece of pride, the radio, occupied the centre space, to broadcast the hourly update of the news. Once in a while, some friends of my father would bring in a mini version—a pocket transistor—whenever the Indian cricket team would don the white uniform. But one thing remained consistent: occasionally, there used to be a disturbance in the frequency signals and the one who was adept at catching the broadcaster’s words was allowed to stick his ears close to the speaker. Once the noisy signals settled, the missed portion would be loudly announced, and the crowd around would either go wild or let out a loud “Ohh.”
Technology grew faster than the rate of my height gain in adolescence. As I entered my teens, the sheets of bliss and ignorance were soon shed, and the clothes of ambition and desires were worn. The obsession with the field of medicine and engineering permeated the entire generation of parents and kids alike. I was more inclined to the humane touch and less fascinated by the machines. I must have depleted my entire grey matter in multiple entrance exams for both the fields, but the results showed me lagging behind by a couple of points in each exam.
The calendar rolled to the last entrance exam of the season for the engineering course. I went there so unmindful, that I arrived at the examination hall with a coloured ball pen instead of the mandatory lead pencil. Though I was stripped of my colourful possession at the gate, I managed to convince a fellow sitting next to me to break half of his pencil and share it with me. His half-broken pencil proved to be a lucky charm for me.
The results were announced in the newspaper within a fortnight. I had made it. However my wild enthusiasm evaporated as soon as I got a feel of my father’s mood, as he stood on the balcony. He muttered, “I always wished to see you as a doctor.” I felt my dreams shatter before my eyes in an instant.
The ‘Asking’ stage
As one dream castle was broken, I had to build another with the only chance left. I didn’t join the engineering college, even with the offer letter in my hand. I was ridiculed by many for what they considered a stupid decision. I had to prove my worth now for the bigger task. I was clearly in the ‘Asking’ stage of The Secret.
I literally burnt the midnight oil for my medical entrance exams. The only light to give me company, apart from my table lamp, was the refrigerator’s door light. I needed to munch something after every hour of mental exercise. My face used to be buried deep in the books till the dawn. After many of these ‘facebook’ sessions, the D-Day arrived when I had to appear for the last medical entrance examination of the season.
I had to take the exam in two sessions, separated by lunchtime. Having done well in the first part, I was getting focused for the next one, when some suspicious looking guy approached me and my father and offered us some help in a hushed tone. I got up and moved away, but my father got interested by his associates inside the examination hall wanting to assist me in lieu of money. Before the man could go any further, I shooed him away. In the ensuing conversation between my father and me, I told him I had full faith in the Almighty and didn’t want to build on a weak foundation. He turned his face away from me but not before I could see tears rolling down his eyes—the tears of a father’s pride for his son.
The results were announced before the full moon could turn into the last quarter crescent. I had fared better than all my previous results but could just manage a tie with the last seat available. I lost the tie on the age criteria as the top 70 students of the state were given the entry to the medical college. Ironically, I finished as the first in the list of unsuccessful candidates.
The ‘Believe’ stage
I became the subject of ridicule in my city as I had surrendered my entry to the engineering college earlier and had now missed my ticket to the medical college. But strangely, I was not shattered. I gathered myself and slowly started padding for the second innings the following year. A divine voice kept reassuring me. I would very vividly visualize myself sitting in the auditorium of the medical college, donning the white apron. Somewhere, I always had the feeling: if not me, who else? I had this constant feeling of seeing my name on the register of medical graduates. I had moved on to the ‘Believe’ stage of The Secret.
Strangely, my faith in the divine power had grown while I kept my preparation in full swing. The days rolled into weeks, weeks into months, and months into a year. The divine voice inside hadn’t dimmed even a few decibels.
The ‘Receive’ stage
As the brochure for the next season’s examinations was to be announced a fortnight later, strange news arrived. The Government of India had a nominee seat in the medical college, but this was inadvertently left unfilled by the university authorities the previous season. Out of the blue, they decided to rectify the mistake and gave me a call to join, for which I was required to submit a lot of documents within the following two days. The paperwork to be signed by the snail-paced government officials translated into a month’s work. The divine forces kept me and my prayers alive, and a strange dramatic turn of events saw all the government officials involved signing the volumes of papers within a day. We rushed to the medical college a 100 miles away and submitted them on the forenoon of the last day allotted. After scrutiny of all the files, we were finally asked to deposit the fee for the previous season.
The currency notes were getting wet by the tears flowing from my eyes as I counted and deposited them with the cashier at the counter. He counted them all, got up from his seat, spent a few minutes in the cupboard behind him, and came back with the students’ register of the previous season. He saw the father-son duo hugging each other across his desk as he took the sparkling ink pen from his pocket and entered the last line with my name in a style akin to Brush Script MT—Dr Aditya Rattan.
The Secret of Rhonda Byrne was revealed to me that day in 1992, and it was time to move into the ‘Receive’ stage of gratitude.
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