Rejection – Building Castles

I do this thing. It is turning into a bad habit. I build these giant castles in the sky in my mind. I keep telling myself that all of the great things that I am imagining are going to unfold exactly as I describe them. Six times out of ten, it seems to go the way I am thinking. And then three times out of ten, it may stray off course a bit, but I can deal with it. And then once in every ten, the castle seems to go up in smoke. And then I don’t feel like building any castles anymore.

Last week, the biggest and most elaborate castle that I have ever built tumbled into bricks and mortar. The university that I had dreamed and worked tirelessly to get into sent me a letter saying that they were no longer interested in taking my application forward. I re-read the letter three times in case I thought my eyes had tricked me. It is difficult to describe exactly what that felt like. First you feel anger, then you feel frustration, then fear, helplessness and finally you feel nothing at all. You just feel numb. No matter how often or seldom you have felt rejection, every single time it trips you up, the grazes on your knees and elbows do not heal easily.

I smiled and I laughed at all the scenarios that I had built up in my head, all the things that I thought were going to happen if I didn’t ever get that letter – as I laughed, I could feel myself choking back the tears. I could see the rest of my family around me feeling the same shock as the hope just extinguished, as if a candle had just been blown out. For hours, I thought of all the bricks that I had laid over the course of just a few months: what I was going to tell people, how great it would be to study at such an institution, watching my name being etched into the history of my school as another exceptional student. It is true that the higher you climb, the harder you feel the fall.

But why do we fall? (The question posed by Alfred to Bruce Wayne.)  Because we must learn how to get up again; how do we know how important it is to stand unless we fall flat on our faces from time to time? Luckily I have plenty of people around me to drag me to my feet, especially when I don’t feel like ever getting up again. You have to tell yourself that it will all work out in the end, even if it is difficult to see it now. I am struggling to come to this realization myself. But I tell you what I am not going to do. I am not going to stop dreaming – I am not going to stop building these castles. Because six times out of ten they seem to go my way, three times out of ten I can deal with it and only once does it fall down. And I like those odds.


  1. Kshitij Rawat 4th December 2012 at 00:45

    Great read.

  2. flyingbubbles 4th December 2012 at 03:18

    That’s a great attitude , keep dreaming and living those dreams…

  3. theeconomicproblem 7th December 2012 at 13:40

    Definitely not a bad habit! Most people are ‘guilty’ of doing this though. Having been in a really similar position a couple of years ago I can sympathise, but I agree- it’s how you get up again and deal with it.
    Knowing you, I can say with certainty, you’ll definitely go on to do great things! So yes, just have a little faith that you’re meant for something even bigger and better.

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  5. jeminik 8th December 2012 at 14:33

    Enjoyed this, Remember:
    “Behind every successful man there’s a lot of unsuccessful years.”

    1. hiran1 18th December 2012 at 02:17

      Who said that quote?

      1. jeminik 21st December 2012 at 16:34

        Bob Brown 🙂
        hope the speech comp is going well 🙂

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  7. Hussain Syed 17th December 2012 at 18:19

    I go to ICHS, in Year 10, and you are a role model with the stuff you have achieved 😀 haha, keep it up..inspiring stuff here

    1. hiran1 18th December 2012 at 02:11

      Come and say hello next time you see me!

      1. Hussain Syed 25th December 2012 at 21:45

        I’m sure to do so

  8. Valleywise 18th December 2012 at 00:08

    I remember being exactly in your situation. In fact ever since I left high school my castles seem to have been crumbling at a greater pace. Though at the same time awesome things I didn’t quite expect happened. Guess when you become an adult life just gets so much more unpredictable.
    As for the Uni thing – in hindsight being rejected by (in my case) Cambridge – was the best thing that ever happened to me! I don’t think now I would go study at Cambridge even if they wanted to pay me for it. It wasn’t the place for me and thanks to that “failure”, I went to Edinburgh – a uni I would’ve never chosen if things had gone a bit differently. And a Uni that has given me so many great opportunities and ways to explore my varied interests, not only in academia. So, with time I kinda stopped believing in castles (I do still build them though) and started believing that if you just never give up on yourself, life will get you were you want. Despite the path being different to what you imagined 🙂

    1. hiran1 18th December 2012 at 02:17

      I think I just enjoy building those castles too much! Thinking about its more carefully now, I can see that maybe it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I thought it would sap my motivation to work, but if anything it has reinvigorated my passion to succeed. It was the wake up call that I needed in order to tell myself to fix up a little bit. And the fact of the matter is that we just cannot possible win them all and like you say this may be the best thing that has happened to me, I just can’t see it yet!

      I am looking forward to going to university, as well as spending more time with my family over the next year and savouring what is left of my time in London – these are the priorities right now! In any case, I am happy, healthy and I still wake up with a smile on my face and sand in my bucket waiting to build the next one. And that, in my experience, is the very best place to be 🙂

  9. Pooja 19th December 2012 at 18:15

    Hey Hiran.m sure u r out of it now. You shud take a break and come to India for an internship..remember I had told u abt it..I bet it will be an awesome experience for u.. It will be work + fun and a yearwell spent. Lemme know. Hugs.

    1. hiran1 21st December 2012 at 18:15

      I am seriously considering this now, can you email me some more details Pooja? 🙂

  10. jeminik 1st January 2013 at 13:52

    what is it you are looking to do in the future?

  11. Samuel 1st April 2013 at 20:02

    Your writing is simply full of raw emotion…. I have spent half an hour reading through your entire blog and I’d say you’d be a fool not to become a writer in the future.

    1. hiran1 1st April 2013 at 20:05

      You, sir, just made a young man’s day with that comment. Thank you.

  12. Red 18th December 2013 at 23:45

    ”Luckily I have plenty of people around me to drag me to my feet”

    I needed to hear that. Thanks. We all fail to meet the expectation of others and ourselves. That’s what hurts. Our goals maybe more ambitious than others, but in the end all strive towards something we desire, and when we fail to meet that, it opens up a hell-hole in our lives. People don’t understand that feeling. But like you said, those people are there to help us up, but we’re the ones who must accept and learn from our defeats.

    Why couldn’t I find your blog sooner? I heard some students ridicule this, and I laughed too, until I read it. I loved it. I feel I can relate to you. And you’re an excellent artist and writer. As an art student, I always looked up to your work and concepts. Good taste in music too. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    I’m too much of a wimp to give away my identity, unlike you haha. So I’ll go as something else for now.

    1. hiran1 23rd December 2013 at 19:35

      When you are ready Red, we will meet 🙂

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