WINNING A HURDLE RACE
WINNING A HURDLE RACE9 mins 265 9 mins 265
There were many moments in my life when I refused to quit be it in personal life or career life. Irrespective of someone stood by me or not. Don't know how this never give up attitude got tagged to me but it actually proved as blessing many times. One of the biggest achievements it gave me is my CILS B2 level certification (CILS -Certificazione di italiano come lingua staniera / Certification of Italian as foreign language). It's an international certification exam conducted by University of Sienna, Italy. Trust me achieving this was like winning a long hurdle race where hurdles were thrown unexpectedly one after another.
After being bedridden for one year with sudden attack of Partial Traverse Myelitis. When I started sitting, to give myself a change from my depressing state I decide to pursue my dream of learning Italian Language (which has been my favourite foreign language during my 12 years of work tenure with the leading Travel MNCs of world) and my long-supressed desire of qualifying CILS B2 LEVEL exam. Post checking some options, I selected and joined IIC (Institute of Italian Culture) which is fully wheelchair accessible along with the facility of accessible washroom. Looking at my zeal to learn institute management and teacher were kind enough to give me few extra permissions like sitting in classroom with 2 chairs and allowing my car to drop me till building ramp for easy access. Knowing my mobility constraints, initially I thought I will be a listening object in class but no one in that place made me feel so. Such acceptance was overwhelming and encouraging. New friends almost all younger than me made that environment so energetic that it used to give me strength to fight with my pains all the time. Still at times my body could not cope up with the stress. So, had to take Skype class connecting on a friend's phone or teacher's iPad. Going through some known and unknown hurdles, I completed B2 level of Italian language course in approx. 2 years. All this time I maintained myself in class's top 5 list as my target was CILS B2 level.
Amongst 25 students, only we (me & my friends) 4 girls showed the courage to take CILS B2 level. Knowing our plans teacher called us and said "Girls it's not like having a baked pizza, in fact it's almost being in fire to get a best pizza. So, think twice. Ramanpreet I think you should opt for lower levels like A2 or B1 instead of B2.” Upon asking why sir? he said - “I know your health conditions and in such condition it's impossible.”
His words left me in dilemma and distress. Why he said so was bothering a lot. What if he is right and I fail? Confidence was taking a dip. I went back home and shared the entire thing with my parents. Suddenly my Dad said "relax and go with your wish, and tell him you can do it. Even if you fail this time you have 2 more chances and I am sure u will nail it". Mom's hug and his words bought me back in spirit and enhanced my confidence.
Next day Mission CILS started, with exam form submission. And I got new target of my life “Pass CILS B2 Level. As we all know that path of target is not always smooth. So, here comes the first hurdle for me, institute refused for preparatory classes due to lack of student strength. Now only option left was our teacher, who was upset with me for not taking his advice. On request of others he agreed to take classes but at some café instead of my place. Which was a big hurdle for me as most of such public places are inaccessible. Everyone thought I would refuse to join and change my mind. But to their surprise I agreed to take the first class at cafe selected by all mutually. I visited that place before the class and figured out a way to take stairs to that café in a sitting position. Inspite of all difficulties I attended couple of classes like that.
Looking at the whole scenario one of my friend opened her doors and said my place has lift so, you can come easily for class. Just across my yes was a new hurdle of 2hrs (to and fro) commuting daily in addition to class time. Which was really very tedious for me at that time, even till now it is difficult to manage. Still I said yes, remembering my target.
My physiotherapist said you have taken die hard challenge. I said " I want to do this please help me." Despite all my efforts I was facing teacher’s strange behaviour in preparatory classes which was unexpected. Didn't know why his co-operative attitude disappeared. I felt being in pool of emotional and physical challenges. All this took a toll on my health and I had to miss last 10 days of preparatory classes. Teacher refused to have skype class. But my friend helped me by sharing class notes over the phone. What she did to safeguard my dream, I can't pay it off anytime.
Now next hurdle smiling at me was sitting stamina of minimum 5 hrs at a stretch to give exam, which seemed impossible. But I didn’t give up and went to test myself on exam day. After couple of hrs my body started showing its tantrums, still I resisted to complete exam. Those were toughest 5 hrs of my life which made me realise strength of my will power and determination. I came back home in immense pain still I was happy and proud of myself thinking that my hard work will not go in vain.
But the hurdle race was not over yet... After couple of months results announced reappear for me in 2 sections among the total 5 sections of exam. My teacher said "see I told you" I replied happily "thank you Sir for guiding me I passed 3 sections and got a chance to score high too with reappear." He was speechless but two of my friends sailing with me in same boat were cheered up.
Me and my friend (at whose place we had classes earlier) decided to prepare ourselves at my place for reappear sections to make an attempt in 2nd Chance after few months. All was going well, so it felt like a time break in the race.
Just 22 days prior to exam date this time break in the race got over. When destiny showed up with a taller hurdle block, which shocked me and my family. This time it was painful Herpes on my stomach. It left me in enormous pain and torn old clothes along-with sleepless nights. Loosing all hopes my family started consoling me to look at the next chance. But a week before exam lying in bed, I started revising my course via you tube and podcasts. Later asked my mom to get me a new dress with front slit or crop top which could be comfortable for me to wear in this state on exam day. On my insistence she went to market and bought a crop top with low waist jegging for me. A dress dad would have never allowed wearing in normal condition😂😂. I was not at all ready to miss this chance, hence I gathered all my courage and went to institute on the exam day inspite of my family's unwillingness.
I finished written section early. Looking at my condition local examiner started my oral section exam immediately after written without the foreign examiner's presence. But unknowingly she recorded it with wrong timing. Which I realized while giving the oral but, in that situation, I could not say her much. Upon my polite request to check if all is recorded well, she said – “Yes, don’t worry I will take care.” Taking her words of assurance, I left from there.
Hoping that she would have rectified the time error, I was calmly awaiting result. Meanwhile as a freelancer I contracted for a Travel Business Development project. But destiny surprised me again stating that God wants me to enhance my CILS grades more 🤣🤣. Yes, I got reappear in oral again due to that error thing. And the hurdle race continued with double hurdle block again. First to find a native speaker to practice for oral exam again and second to create a time space in my present schedule which demanded minimum 6 hrs a day for my Business Development Project + 3 hrs a day for my physio sessions. There was hardly any time for Italian practice.
My clients refused to give me break of 15 days from project for exam preparation. Still I was mad about passing CILS B2 level exam. So, I decided to quit my project upon which clients agreed for 10 days break. Meanwhile I found an Italian friend on Hello Talk who agreed to help me with Skype calls on weekend. Since it was not enough, I kept looking for other options. 10 days prior I found a university teacher who could give just 10 hrs of speaking class. I pulled up socks as I knew that these 10 hrs can conclude this hurdle race going on since a year. And I had to win this for myself.
Once again exam day (the 3rd and final chance of CILS) came and I gave my best shot. The smile on the foreign examiners face had already given me the result and his appreciation words post exam were overwhelming. When I came out of the examination hall, the examiner himself helped me to move my wheelchair and said – Girl seeing your dedication for your goal in these 3 attempts I would be very glad to see you getting CILS B2 level certification. After a month I got a mail stating that I passed CILS B2 LEVEL exam with flying colours. In total aggregate I scored higher than my friends. Finally, mission accomplished and target achieved I was on cloud nine on that day.
I think such achievements which come after a strong struggle are sweeter than anything else and they indeed help us to know our strengths better. So, I refuse to quit in any situation in my life.
With this I would request to all teenager and youngsters not to get disheartened and depressed with reappear or failure any time and look at it as blessing in disguise as it gives you another chance to score better.