Wednesday, April 19, 2006

are you like everybody else?

I vividly remember writing 'my aim in life' compositions in school. Not just for one year but for a number of years until they could think of a topic which better suited my intellect. And most of the times i would aspire to be a doctor, at times scientist and on a few occasions businessman. For most of us the choices were simple and the boundaries clearly demarcated. Who thought we would turn out the way we have? How many of us dreamt of becoming engineers? I seriously doubt any significant percentage.

In an interview a couple of months back i was asked why is it that the brightest students have to do engineering and then probably an MBA. I put down the reasons to job security, career options, etc. The interviewer, a respected professor of a premier business school, wryly smiled at me and asked "what about peer pressure"? I knew what he was referring to and i had this queasy feeling. My expression told ' isnt it obvious? why are you asking me this?'

It is a good thing to burn midnight oil for entrance exams, secure a decent rank and get into a good engg college/ b- school. It makes parents proud. It is quite another thing, maybe the best thing, to not follow the herd and follow your dreams instead. The third generation Indian middle class stories are littered with an overdose of sameness which is showing now in a sea of similarly talking, walking, thinking, acting multitude . The problem, if you agree with me in calling it one, is easily identifiable.

There is an important element missing in such stories. The element of risk, that point where you have to take a chance for a dream that no one but you see. This is not necessarily good in itself but when you ask yourself about your true calling it assumes great signicance. This cocoon of safety has to be broken at some point, sooner rather than later. Because i still cant believe all of us want to become engineers. As i say this i am struggling with the fact that i am in the same boat which will take me, as also a few million others, to the same shore and while we are on that journey, maybe we'll all see the same sights.


Y? said...

You write incredibly well Satyajit.
Sometimes I find myself contemplating exactly the opposite.
Why did I ,stubborn and idealistic, ignore all those crowded tunnels that had a gleeful pot of gold waiting for sure at the end..I mean what If I ,god forbid, grow old(up), to not be able to afford blue berry cheesecake , everyday for breakfast?
Will there be a point then for job satisfaction , purpose in life blah?
Still wondering..

satyajit said...

What you are thinking is equally absorbing. But maybe that pot of gold is worth much more if you find it your way than from the map shown to you by people around like everybody else. I am not sure you be pleased as a punch if, at 60, you have cheesecake for breakfast and a bank balance with many flattering zeroes. You have to be happy now doing what you are. Or you wont remember the years which gave that cheesecake to you. The adrenalin will stop flowing way before 60.
How abt a role reversal between us?

Y? said...

yeah ok, you become a journalist ..I'll go to IIM ..hehe
And am glad that you seem to be addicted to blogging too. :)

Dementia said...

Nice post Raut.