It’s about myself, Maj. George Maliakal (retd.). I wish to share my real life story about, ‘How I could realize my childhood dream of becoming an Engineer, which changed my life altogether.
I was born in a lower middle class family way back in 1945. And I was the sixth child of parents. My father believed in educating his children. I still remember his words. He used to always remind us “Look children, you know we are not rich, but I can help you to become rich. You must study well and you can study as much you want. Because, only education can give you a bright future. And remember, ‘Knowledge is the biggest wealth in this world, which no one can ever take away from you. So study well.’ “
My Childhood Dream: His inspiring words helped me to dream about my future – ‘To become an Engineer’. But studying for engineering was quite expensive and we had no means to afford. So I decided to study well. So that I could score high marks in my Pre University Course (PUC) exams and get a merit seat at the engineering/ medical entrance selection. And I really worked hard for my PUC exams 1962. Just a few days before my PUC exam I was down with high fever. I became worried and tensed fearing whether I would be able to write my exams.
High fever was only the beginning of another deadly disease, ‘Chicken Pox’. But I didn’t give up. I was totally bed ridden at home. Since it was in the beginning stage, my father encouraged me to go and write my exams with my shirt sleeves fully rolled down, so that others could not make out anything.
There were eight exams total for PUC. Exams started. And I went to write my exams with my shirt sleeves rolled down. I didn’t mingle with my friend/ other students and without creating any suspicion, I continued to go and wrote my exams. But I afraid. If somebody come to know and reported the matter I would not be allowed to write my exams. And in that case I would have lost one year, which I hated.
In spite of medication, my health was worsening day by day. My condition had deteriorated so much that I could not go to write my last and final exam. I knew I will fail in my PUC exam. I was totally disappointed thinking that I cannot become an engineer in my life. But as per the prevailing rules, even if you miss one elective subject, if you had pass marks (totaling marks of the other seven papers), the exam board will declare you as passed the PUC exam. Thus I passed my PUC exams. But I had very poor marks, obviously, I had not written one exam. And thus I could not get a merit seat. Now I had no other choice but to join a three year Bachelor Degree Course in Mathematics.
My Dream Profession: I always had a dream about my profession after completing my studies. And that too on my merits and without any kind of recommendations. Finally after my degree course, in 1967 I got my dream profession; I joined as a Short Service Commissioned Officer (SSC) in the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army – which is the top category of Government professions in our country, India. I was very happy. It was a dream realized for me.
As per the terms and conditions on the service, I had to serve for a period of five years. Based on my annual performance report during the fifth year, I would be given an option either to accept Permanent Commission in the Army or to retire from my Short Service.
I was lucky, I was given an option to accept Permanent Commission in the Army. In fact that’s what I wanted. Without wasting any time I accepted the offer. And I was granted Permanent Commission in the Corps of Engineers.
The most surprising thing was, immediately I was granted Permanent Commission, I was sent to the College of Military Engineering (CME) Pune to do the Engineer Officers Degree Course in May 1973. Since I was already a science graduate, it was a three year engineering degree course, from May 1973 to May 1976.
I was again a student, now, an engineering student, after a long gap of 10 years of my college days. By now I had already married my ‘Dream Girl’ and had one child, daughter. Now when I look back, my three years life at CME was like a dream to me. Doing engineering degree course after my marriage and a wonderful stay at CME, I was drawing my full monthly salary all through the degree course and I was just an engineering student.
Our Convocation was In May 1976. I received my Engineering Degree Certificate from the Excellency the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal University of Pune. And I had a First Class Degree, B.Tech.(Civil).
Thus after a long gap of TEN long years I became an Engineer, realizing my childhood dream.
Bottom Line: There is no specific period of time for realizing our dreams. All that is required is, you must have a realistic dream, which can make your life more beautiful and you must follow the tips I have shared in one of my ‘Dream Post’ – ‘How to Realize your Dreams? ‘ .