I am Tarun, a 22 year old guy, born and brought up in Dubai. I recently completed my engineering from one of the best colleges in Delhi. I share with you my story of the past 4 years – I have been through college pressure, utter dejection, alcohol addiction, therapy, counselling and total recovery.
My parents have been staying in Dubai for more than 25 years now. I was born, brought up and schooled there itself. Post schooling, I decided to move to India as I was highly interested in cricket but had not got the right peer group. Also, my family believed that India would be the right place to learn cricket. Hence, I enrolled in Delhi for my graduation so that I could study and pursue my interest together.
With big hopes, I moved to India, away from my parents for the first time. I dreamt of smooth cricket practice and college life. But things turned out to be very different. The transition of moving to India from Dubai was very tough as my fellow classmates and teachers judged me constantly. I was termed as an arrogant, rich, Dubai brat when I was actually just a shy and scared person in a new place, struggling to make friends among new people.
Due to this, I delayed joining a cricket club and decided to stick to college practice sessions as I thought it would help me make friends. But each session felt difficult as people chided me for being “Dubai-born” and also teased me for my poor game in spite of the “Dubai-factor”. I knew my cricket had huge scope for improvement and I was ready to work towards it. But I felt very hurt due to their repeated comments about Dubai. Their words left me feeling like an outsider and took an emotional toll on me.
My feelings of dejection worsened as I struggled to strike a balance between studies and cricket practice. My grades suffered very badly in the 2nd semester as I failed in one subject. I was now branded more forcefully as an arrogant, careless brat. I was afraid to share my poor result with my family but they said that it was fine and they trusted me to do well the next time. I felt guilty of disappointing them and decided to focus on studies and leave cricket totally.
In the 3rd semester, I tried very hard to start liking my subjects. I took up a project, participated in a hackathon and studied as well as I could. But somehow, nothing seemed to click. I hated the fact that all my efforts were not getting the results I wanted. Around this time, I took up drinking as a hobby as it helped me calm down and sleep. I also went through a rough break-up. I was unable to handle the multiple dejections in that one year – in cricket, studies and relationship. This turned my liking towards alcohol to full-blown substance abuse. Then, the negative spiral accelerated heavily.
I began to stay high most evenings. I started losing sleep even though I consumed high quantities of alcohol. I had frequent outbursts of anger on phone calls with family. I distanced my classmates, acquaintances and a couple of friends as I refused to discuss my thoughts with them. When my parents got to know about my drinking problem, they were flabbergasted.
My parents called me home after 3rd semester. I did so, but very grudgingly for 10 days. My parents felt hurt that I wanted to talk to a psychologist instead of them. I met a psychologist and had 12 sessions with her in the next 2-3 months via meetings and phone calls. The sessions helped me get sleep but couldn’t help me get out of my recurring thoughts.
After my 4th semester with failed session, I decided to stay at home for a longer time on the advice of my mother. Those 2 months that I spent at home after a long gap of 2 years helped me immensely. I joined a cricket club in Dubai itself and improved my game. It helped me gain confidence over myself as my cricket improved. Proper conversations with Mom helped me gain a better perspective of life.
When I came back to college for 5th semester, I felt like a new person. I took up a marketing internship on my own. It was a big boost to my morale as I could bag the internship out of sheer passion in spite of having no academic credentials or experience in marketing. Later that year, I also took part in organizing events. These small achievements kept pushing me forward and inspired me to do better. All in all, I realised that small wins matter a lot in keeping one going. I found more ways to keep myself going.
Today, I am very happy to say that I have completed my engineering with First Class despite all that I have been through. I am proud of the fact that my parents are extremely happy with me. Currently, I am working towards my first venture which is a socio-entrepreneurial concept of introducing peer-to-peer help for people undergoing stress and depression. I hope to make it a success in the coming years.
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