Career Option: A Paradox Unsolved


I recollect an incident from years ago when I was in class eight, suddenly in the middle of the class lighting struck our math teacher and in repercussion he thrust on us to disclose our respective aims in life. Though nothing clandestine, but perplexing was the question as none of us knew what we wanted to do. Suddenly one amongst the studious lot let out, “Doctor” and that became an anthem of sorts, which every next questioned person babbled in staccato. The irritated teacher ordered all wannabe doctors to raise their hands and as expected, shell-shocked, the interlocutor inquired, “Who is the patient then?” That comment was laughed away at that point, but today when I look back, it appears ambiguous.

Innumerable times we have heard a medical student cursing the progenitor of biology and allied subjects, the same applies to engineers and many other wannabe professionals. I carry no ancestral roots to Einstein, Newton and the like, yet the fact remains that Newton studied and formulated theories of motion because he was in love with physics. M.F. Hussain will never fume in soliloquy over “who invented art?”, and that is because he paints, fermented by his own desire. A Sachin Tendulkar will never utter in disgust, “Who discovered this rubbish game of cricket?” – Because playing cricket is not incumbent upon him and he carries on playing with his own never-ending hunger to improve. This desire or hunger can neither be borrowed nor transferred; they are innate properties of all human-beings.

It is ironical, when we are kids we paint our thoughts with assortment of colors and potpourri of activities; however odd, they are still copyrighted to our nascent brains. As we grow up, our color palette seems to run empty and nobody cares to refill them. Though medically, our brain and its thinking ability should grow as we grow up, the opposite happens in reality. Our thinking retrogresses and then vanishes into thin air before we even realize, so involved we become in the rat marathon that the once prized possession reduces to not even a penny in our radically staid life.

Over the years, the educational system around the world has been tweaked and revamped several times, we have seen a plethora of scopes for various activities and suddenly the platter is full with plenty. If I say that, “You can lead a prosperous life doing whatever you love to do”- it would not be washed away as complete fallacy; still the old school of thoughts never seem to die out in the Indian subcontinent, in particular. Parents still envisage their sons and daughters wearing ecclesiastical robes with stethoscopes bejeweling their necks. Clutches of students still line up enthusiastically to bell or kill the CATs (in capital signifying a more elite breed) and dance over the MATs just to break into MBA institutes, so whether creamed or deemed the institutes never go empty seated. While, many such institutes do not offer a proper degree and job remains a distant dream, the mystery behind the kill-bell fantasy remains unsolved. Some researchers after diligent study offer to have hatched the egg, the mindsets as they say, is attributed to the fact that we Indians are coy and feeble by nature and often succumb to our parents’ demand, or just flow in the direction of the wind not daring to open our wings. Other investigators of the syndrome argue that we are driven by ignorance, an art mastered by semi-urban middle classes since childhood with sincere assiduity.

Once upon a time, as I am told, money and reputation used to act as detriment to following one’s heart- an actor or a singer was considered total outcaste and writers and artists were tantamount to teetotalers; paranormal sciences were limited to exorcists and photographers almost survived on dole- thus our parents’ fears are justified to some extent.  But the scenario has changed drastically, name your area of interest and you get a course for that: Photography- wildlife, fashion, photo journalism, etc; Journalism- print, radio, TV, etc; Jockeying- disc, radio, video, etc; designing- jewelry, graphics, web, wardrobe, etc; forensic and paranormal sciences; adventure sports management, fitness coaching, food analysis, criminal psychology and the list never ends. But still most of these territories are unearthed in our country because of lack of awareness rather than acceptance. While internet has become a part of daily breathing for the developed nations, India is still trying to catch up; especially the rural and non-metro areas lack flow of information and thus their populace will always be skeptical to walk out of their comfort zones. But it is high time, as more and more MBAs are roaming jobless and engineers queue up for MBA entrances after wasting 3 years walking a fruitless path. While school dropouts are a common and student suicides have become clichéd tales, the time is ripe to think beyond and welcome the new dawn. Alternative careers are not only unconventional and hip, they are also well paid too- a good writer basks in millions, sdvertising and PR professionals are the need of the hour, a fitness instructor is needed in every gully as fitness fever has caught up like never before, and gaming industry has been ever-booming with PSP, X-Box, Wii, computers, mobiles, everything now a gaming platform. So, stop succumbing to the fear of failure and step into a future where your heart belongs.

Debojit Dutta

Image Source []