Not Just Another Story


AIR 79, 2011. No you are not right. That is not only someone’s CLAT rank. Those numbers were already significant and life changing to him even before the night of 28th May,2011.

Let me now take you through a tale which actually does not fit in an article and so you must let imagination paint a shade where the colour is not really decipherable. Out of the context it may seem but bear with me.

11th January,2010: A young science student, a month away from his Boards stands at the reception desk of a reputed Calcutta nursing home, a CT scan report in his hands, a lost look in his eyes. Take a peek over his shoulder. Go on. The words ‘malignant’, ‘multiple’ and ‘tumor’ scream out at you, a scream of horror which even the cold blooded style of writing cant hide. And that is before you notice the name at the top.

A year passes in a whirlwind of chemotherapies, dissapointing board results, renewed hope and steady improvement for both father and son. Hope for a return to something we all take for granted. Hope for a chance to take a place among the elite medical practitioners of the country.

9th January, 2011: It’s the same scene except that the locale is the magnificent TATA Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. Only this time, the father is not prostrate on a bed. The son does wear a grimace.

This time the foyer is not empty. A nurse does not hand over the report .You look over the young man’s shoulder again. Only this time it is rather difficult as there are relatives around backslapping and congratulating. Mother and sister do not hold back tears of joy. One look at it is enough for you. ‘No trace’ and ‘full recovery’ confirm what you had already known in your heart. The darkness is lifting at last, you feel.

7th February, 2011: Its a beautiful evening in Calcutta. For once, our protagonist is emotionless, jaw muscles taut, pacing the green corridor, at the end of which is written in silver, Intensive Treatment Unit. You are not the only one watching. On the other side of the glass door, the neurologist wonders what to tell the young man. Perhaps to postpone the moment he turns and tells the intern to hasten the formalities as much as possible. He walks with a purposeful stride and reaches the door. Our man looks up but shows no eagerness to know. He stays that way, rooted to the spot even when the doctor comes up to him and shakes his head. Disbelief in your heart, you look back at what the intern is busy typing. The words ‘massive cerebral stroke’ and ‘multiple organ failure’ stare passively back at you. The darkness is here to stay. The rest is not unfamiliar to law school aspirants. Last minute decisions, frantic cramming and the D-day itself. The best a person can try to do in a space of 2 months, trying to get in to schools whose names he has never heard before.(At least that is what happened in this case.)

Now you know what AIR 79, 2011 means to me. Yes it is my story. My journey for redemption. The final jigsaw of the puzzle. I step out of this circle. Dad, I have kept my promise that I made on that ‘beautiful evening in Calcutta’.

My point is simple, you want something bad enough, you will get it in the end. Period.

Sreyan Chatterjee


  1. I’m sure you must have heard you are someone made of steel, but yeah, it is the truth and I guess, you should hear it again! Nothing more to say, too overwhelmed at the moment. Kudos to you and heartiest congratulations.


  2. Dude! Are you for real!

    It takes immense, immense courage for someone to make it with those odds. Hats off to you man.

    I can myself relate to Tata Memorial, where I did countless rounds with a loved one. To have done incredibly well after that is, well, I have no words.

  3. they say you have to put up with anything life throws at you.however,it is easier said than are one of the few people who has been able to achieve this.heartiest wishes to you on your success.

  4. i don’t even know how to react to this! It must have taken immense courage to bounce back from that and wow! congratulations and God bless you!

  5. Thanks guys. But at that time working was not as difficult as it will be now. Took my mind off things. The work i mean.

  6. WOW! Im at a loss of words! Been a while since I’ve read such a truly inspiring story! Congratulations n may u be successful in whatever u do! 

  7. This is powerful stuff. Incredible writing. Sreyan, what you’ve done is no small feat. I see from your profile that you’re coming to NUJS. It’s good to know that you’ll be my batch mate. 🙂

  8. My God.
    I salute you. The world should give you a standing ovation here. 
    He’ll watch over you, and I’m sure he’s very very proud of you!
    Good luck ahead, and I’m sure life will give you its best.

  9. Hats off to you…I don’t think I have the appropriate words to express my feeling after reading this…except that i am overwhelmed, touched and moved….and INSPIRED…see u at NUJS…proud to have u as my batchmate…

  10. Thank you Padmini, apurva, sreyoshee  and all the others for those generous words. I am honoured to have such classmates.

  11. Hats off to you, and i totally believe in the secret. You want something bad enough, you get it. Amazingly written, i feel proud when i read this article. You have come a long way, you’ll have a long way to go from here. My best wishes, Goodluck to you. You made him proud. You’re an inspiration to me.

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