Alternative Careers

Want to move out of the redundant career path and choose something out of the box? Here we present a list of alternative career options which will give you a whole new look into the career path of your life.

UPSC Exams India

By Ira Singhal:

Editor’s Note: While many rejoice after this year’s UPSC exam results were declared a few days back, there is no doubt that those who couldn’t make it, face a difficult time where they must figure an alternative plan. Many will settle down to prepare for the next year’s exams while others might suffer anxiety and stress at having experienced failure and rejection of some sort. Student stress and depression are one of the leading causes of suicides among Indian youth. However, failure should hardly have such a negative connotation in the minds of those who are young and have the world at their disposal so to say with a variety of choices available when it comes to career.

This is in response to a question on Quora. A user asked: I am not able to crack Civil Services even after 2 attempts. Am I a loser? Ira Singhal, the 2014 topper of the UPSC exam, shares an astute answer which is insightful and tackles the real problem – that of the Indian Youth feeling trapped amidst a very limited set of choices. Having cleared the Civil Service exam in her fourth attempt, becoming the first person with disability to top the exams, Singhal has had her own share of failures just like everyone else.

UPSC Exams IndiaHow does clearing or not clearing UPSC make you a winner or a loser?? This is just one exam for a particular type of job! So what if you didn’t clear this?? Is everyone on earth who is anyone doing UPSC based jobs?? What about Sachin Tendulkar, Aishwarya Rai, Bill Gates, Narendra Modi, Mary Kom? Have they all cleared UPSC? This is such a wrong attitude!! Maybe you are meant to do something else with your life! How can everyone be destined for the same job?

If you are really keen on it, then instead of getting depressed and blaming life, try to analyse what exactly it is that you are doing wrong. And be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t keep blaming external circumstances. Remember that you can only change yourself and not other things. So work on yourself and be honest. If you lie to yourself, you are only harming YOU. Telling your mom-dad or others that you prepared so well but the system was rigged, doesn’t really do anything in the long run. Find your mistakes, see what it is that others have done that you missed on, and do it!

In case you are not too keen on it, then great! Go do something else! You may be much more successful in anything else than you might ever be as a civil servant anyway! Our country needs lots of doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists….not that many civil servants! This is not the only way to achieve something in life. This is just an exam for a job…you may actually be someone suited for something else entirely! That doesn’t make you a loser! How could it! Just because your path is something else, doesn’t put you higher or lower than others! That kind of thinking is just so so wrong! In my opinion, the point of life is to be the best you can and contribute to the world around you. There is no one way of doing it! You can be just as happy at something else and actually make a bigger difference and be happier! So stop associating this exam with more than it is! It is not the only way of life and not the only way to success! In fact, the exam is just about getting a particular type of job! Success will be defined by how you do it and not by getting or not getting this job! And you can be just as successful at anything else!

So don’t get depressed! Think smart! Life is much beyond just this exam and success is a far more deeper a concept that can ever be encompassed by just one exam! If not this, then do something else! Success is all about being happy and making a difference! You can do it by many other ways!

I do hope you clear this exam if that is truly the only way you think you can make a difference but if you can think of anything else, then I wish you all the success in that!

This response was originally part of a Quora post.

Starting Up, Screenshot Pitchers

By Vishwarath Reddy

Dear Students,

Starting Up, Screenshot PitchersSo you want to startup? I have been there. I had an idea and couldn’t stop talking about it. Eventually I co-founded StudentLive, a platform for student driven content. Within a year, we went onto build a good network of campuses across India, with 100’s of student contributors and 1000’s of readers. We then leveraged this network to help various brands to tap into college crowd. Sadly, 2.5 years later I called it off.

Entrepreneur at 20, failure by 23.

I failed for many reasons, much of which was attributed to the fact that we had very less knowledge about various aspects of building and selling the product. However, I learnt a lot in this journey from my success and subsequent failure. Here’s what you can do to be prepared for what’s coming at you.

1. Get out of idea phase: The problem is we focus large part of our energy thinking of endless possibility of our awesome ideas. Oh those sleepless nights! You need to move on from your ideas by testing each your assumptions. Write down your idea, vision, simple business plan with assumptions (target user, tech challenges, Revenue sources etc). This will help you transition from idea phase to execution with clarity.

2. Make the best of your campus: Being a student opens doors without much effort. Be it access to mentors, investors, tech talent or your first customers. Participating in business plan competitions gives you a platform to get feedback on your ideas and earn initial investment. Hackathons are a great place to find some really cool developers. Lastly, the entrepreneurship club in your college could help you with setting up your office or infrastructure to getting your 1st set of clients.

3. Get out of your campus: Get out there and talk to people. No one is going to steal your idea. Even better, do a summer internship at your favourite startups. Understand your market, stakeholders and sales process before jumping in. A lot of students I speak to tell me that they are under-skilled to score an internship but the reality is most of them haven’t even tried to reaching out to startups. All you need is the ability to learn.

4. Team: There are many blogs out there which will give you advices on hiring and finding co-founders. Do not be an ass to your team. If you think by being one you will become Steve Jobs, you are mistaken. You will come across as a shit head. Build culture, not ego.

5. Execute (The rough phase): Build a Minimum Viable product (MVP). Find out how you can reach out to greatest portion of your users with one particular platform. Do not waste time in building an iOS app, android app, web app, website and mobile website with 100 odd features over 12 months. Choose a minimum set of features that can validate your idea in the shortest time possible. The thing about keeping it minimal is to be agile. More often than not our assumptions fail. When that happens, you should be able to pivot your idea in a new direction without wasting more time or effort.

6. Technology and design: Try to keep most of your development and design in-house. Involve your developers and designer during idea, sales and customer interaction phases. Developers aren’t artists, you can’t expect them to perform magic. You do not want your products to look like an abstract painting (Nobody understands them). There is a difference between artists and craftsmen. Developers and designer are like craftsmen, they come up with elegant solutions to user’s problem.

7. Keep a tab of things (metrics): Establish your MVP’s definition of success. It can be revenue, customer conversions, page views, social engagement or app downloads. Track these metrics as you execute your MVP. You might discover a new source of income or engagement which you’ve missed out. Metrics will play an important role in product and business decision as you grow. To make sound decisions you need to rely on data rather than intuition.

8. Get the word out: There is no easy to do this. You need to do some annoying stuff like spamming your friends and persuading (threatening) your friends with high social reach to share your content. Talk to strangers at a bus station or an airport (if you’re lucky). You need to be in good books with your local journalists, they are God sent. I spent a lot of time as volunteer at local events to gain good network of journalists, friends and influencers who later put in a good word about me.

9. Investment and revenue: Do not fall prey to valuations and investment deals you see in the news. You need to be grounded in your idea and focus on your work. There are many conflicting views on idea of revenue for startups. One school of thought prescribes on building on users and let revenue come in later. Other one focusses on bootstrapping. I prefer the latter. It depends on your business and customers. check out companies like: Basecamp, Kickstarter, Zoho etc who’ve grown into valuable startups without heavy weight investments or stake dilution.

10. Failure: You are more likely to fail than succeed. Sadly, our society looks down on failure which only makes it harder. But it is okay to fail. Your story doesn’t end there. In reality you learn more by failing. You acquire tangible career skills and learn to embrace the passion for building something. I know many failed entrepreneurs who went onto be successful at what they take up next.

There are many more tangible and intangible factors like mentors, hiring, financial discipline, culture, continuous learning, etc which can make or break your dream. Take time out to read some good blogs and books with some great startup advice which will help you along the way.

Everything said, being on your own is the most amazing and fulfilling feeling ever. I wish you all the success.

Carrie-carrie-bradshaw-sex and the city

By Kenneth Waldman

Carrie-carrie-bradshaw-sex and the cityFreelancing has really taken the world by storm, especially in the last decade or so, and it is definitely here to stay. In fact, it seems set to become a way of the future and a manner in which clients and contractors will interact from now on. However, freelancing still remains a mystery to most people who aren’t sure whether or not they should try their hand at it. This is the reason why I’ve created a list of 5 crucial reasons on why you should become a freelancer.

1. Work Whenever You Want

The standard model of being in an office nine-to-five and then going home is proving itself as too constrictive for some people, as they may be able to make the most of their creative capacities and increase their productivity by taking on a different approach. If you fall into that category, you will find that freelancing allows for a great deal of flexibility in that aspect, as you can create your own schedule.

2. Choose Any Location

Saving up the time you would spend going to and from work on a daily basis is just one of the perks of being a freelancer. Although the majority of freelancers works from home, you can mix it up a bit every once in a while and change your work environment. You can get the job done while being in a park, or at your favourite hangout spot, or even while are on the move and travelling.

3. You Are the Boss

You will no longer have a boss over your head, barking orders at you. You will be free to choose the clients you’ll be working with, as well as projects that are best-fitted to your skills, and which pay your desired rate. You are in charge of every aspect of your freelance career, which requires great responsibility, but also offers many rewards.

4. Command Your Own Salary

Apart from the occasional raise, you are pretty much stuck when it comes to increasing your income if you work a regular job. When you’re a freelancer, the amount of money you are able to earn is only limited by the amount of time and effort you put into all of your projects. You can raise your rates, increase your work load, or even both, in case you need additional funds.

5. More Tax Deductions

Seeing as you are your own boss and you run own business, you may be able to deduct costs just like a company would, and that includes tax deductions for travelling, expenses for your broadband and cellphone service providers, meals, as well as any other costs that are considered normal by any business standard. The best way to inform yourself about this is to hire a financial expert, who will be able to tell you a lot more on the subject.

In addition, I think that you could also take the time and visit some of the top sites for freelance jobs and see if they are the right fit for you:

1. This website is aimed at freelance writers and editors. Choose from a number of different writing categories and find one that matches your skill set. They hire grant, resume, and dissertation writers, as well as copywriters.

2. If you’re a talented writer, offers you a chance to write reviews, legal articles, reports, and case studies, among others.

3. Academic writers won’t have to look for their first writing gig for very long after they visit this website, which offers new jobs every day, at good rates.

4. It’s pretty hard to beat the largest online workplace of them all. Formerly known as oDesk, Upwork connects millions of freelancers with top-notch clients from all industries.

5. Yet another great online marketplace where you can find jobs if you’re a writer, designer, software engineer, voice actor, illustrator, or an architect.

6. Freelance writing is a popular career choice in Asia, so if you are from India, Pakistan, China, or the Philippines, check out this website.

7. ProBlogger’s job board is one of the best places to find high-paying gigs and reputable clients.

8. Earn top dollar as a freelance writer through this online platform, grow your reputation, and demand an even better rate.


By Nishant Chhinkwani:

The stage was set, the curtains were drawn. The auditorium was packed to the rafters, an unusual sight given that a neophyte theatre group was presenting its first production. The spotlight spun around at the centre stage character’s footsteps, following him like a hawk eyes its prey. It was a mesmerizing sight. Standing at the wings of the stage, I could see it all. And suddenly, it was my cue to get to the stage.

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s chokin’ how, everybody’s jokin’ now
The clock’s run out, time’s up, over, BLOW!

That’s right. Eminem’s One Shot (8 Mile soundtrack) sums up the storm inside me at that moment.


Welcome to the world of theatre!
The first thing one has to know about theatre is that it’s not just some artsy like-minded people coming up with random ideas, penning down simple and complicated scripts or boring dialogues, hanging out all day discussing philosophy and poetry with jholas and kurtas and beards as proud accessories to flaunt.

On the contrary, there’s more, much more to theatre than that.

The production design, stage design, costumes and props, preparing scripts, rehearsals that stretch into wee hours of the morning, printing flyers and distributing them, setting up billboards, taking care of the light and sound requirements- It’s practically an insult to just call it play when it’s so much work.

There was a time when it was inconceivable to think of theatre as a career option. As little as a decade ago, you would have been likely to be boxed in the ears by your family had you mentioned theatre as a career you would want to pursue, but the times are changing, as aptly put by Rupkatha Sarkar, founder member of LOK, a prominent youth theatre group in the city of joy.

When asked about pursuing a career in theatre, she answers with a bubbling, infectious optimism, “Theatre as an art form is coming back from obscurity. That is what happens when the youth take an active interest in it. We now live in a time where people, especially the young, aren’t afraid to follow their hearts and chase their passions. Earlier it was inconceivable to live off theatre, but thanks to a renewed interest in the art form, call shows from various organisations, corporate house sponsored events and even some Government grants, theatre may even help you earn more than a run of the mill MBA.”

There is a distinct ring of truth in the above statement and the facts show it. Especially in states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, commercial theatre is very popular and has its own dedicated audience. The Mobile Theatre of Assam is one of the most successful, urban, commercial theatre movements in the nation. Apart from being remuneratively viable for the artists, it also has opened up a gamut of possibilities in terms of technological innovation. Besides, various institutes like the National School of Drama, Nandikar etc. have moved with the times and have adopted a more varied approach to theatre in terms of allied careers like sound and light designing, apart from the usual academia of acting, direction and script writing.

Satyam Bhattacharya of Hypokrites, another prominent youth theatre group in the city, also subscribes to the above view, albeit in a tempered manner. “It is not impossible to achieve success in terms of remuneration that will put one at par with B school graduates, but it’s definitely more difficult. Having said that, I am hopeful that the future has better things in store.”

On the other end of the spectrum of optimism that is both bubbling and tempered, however, lie a few disillusioned voices, who think there’s still a long way to go for theatre to achieve popularity as a mainstream art form in the country. Ananya Sen, a veteran of several productions and an active part of a few theatre groups in the city is unequivocally cynical about the future of theatre in the city, though she agrees some parts of the country have a really good environment for theatre to thrive.

“I think that theatre movement, especially in Kolkata, is very confused and haphazard as to where it wants to go. It’s stuck between a time warp of the 1970s when the Naxal movement was making waves and the fairly recent agitation of Singur and Nandigram. Theatre as a form of protest is essential, but what after that? As a form of entertainment, theatre has a long path that is cobbled with uncertainties.”

She also laments the power games of political parties when it comes to the livelihood of theatre artists.

Minerva Repetory was an initiative started a few years back to promote theatre in Bengal. It would pay artists on a regular basis to practice their craft, with full fledged productions being produced at intervals. After three successful productions, Raja Lear (Based on Shakespeare’s King Lear) being the most prominent one, the Repertory was dissolved, allegedly because it ran into trouble with the new government. Under these circumstances, with no support whatsoever, it is difficult for an artist to sustain himself/herself and the family.”

The outlook differs with circumstances and people. By the looks of it though, theatre has made serious inroads in the minds of the young about considering it as a serious career option and has become viable in some parts of the country. After all, there’s nothing quite like making a living for loving what you do.

The curtain fell to thunderous applause. The production was a hit, and as we bowed together, humbled by the love showered upon us, the joy that swelled inside me cannot be described. I knew this is what I had to do the rest of my life. This is who I really am.

Photo Credit: Abhishek Dwivedi

By Alisha Sachdeva: 

“This is such a beautiful sight, isn’t it?”
“Indeed, looks like it’s straight out of a picture”.

Our ideas of perfection, of beauty and of the surreal – come from pictures. Whenever we see something extraordinarily captivating, our mind leads us to believe that it’s unreal. That it must be a picture.

Photography, therefore, has become a tool so powerful that it’ll take us some time to even realize its full impact in our lives. Contrary to what we may be bent to believe, it is not simply an act of taking pictures. Though there are people who after buying an SLR claim to have achieved a photographic mastery, the art and technique that lies behind the act of ‘taking’ a picture is nothing but complex, and is what differentiates a photographer from a person holding a camera in his/her hands.

As Jean Baudrillard explained it in so many complicated words, “Photography is… a drama, a dramatic move to action (passage a l’acte), which is a way of seizing the world by “acting it out.” Photography exorcizes the world through the instantaneous fiction of its representation…The photographic image is not a representation; it is a fiction. Through photography, it is perhaps the world itself that starts to act and imposes its fiction. Photography brings the world into action (acts out the world, is the world’s act) and the world steps into the photographic act (acts out photography, is photography’s act).This creates a material complicity between us and the world since the world is never anything more than a continuous move to action.”

In his book, Photography, or the Writing of Light, the French theorist explains how photography goes far, far beyond the simple act of creating a visual. It is actually a phenomenon in itself, and one that’s taken solid roots in the society today.

In fact, let us consider our own generation. There was a time when taking pictures was an act of posterity — if our parents and grandparents took as many pictures as we did, their photo albums would’ve run into hundreds of virtual gigabytes. Pictures in their time were taken only on special occasions like a holiday or an important family function.

Nowadays however, we don’t need a reason to click a picture. It’s become such a natural act for us that even our cell phones come with a built in camera. Any day and any time is alright to take a “selfie”, and in fact our image culture has gone so far ahead, we have trouble believing the authenticity of any happening whatsoever till we see it manifested as a picture: “Pictures, or it didn’t happen” has become a going adage.

So, now that there is no doubt about the importance of photographs in today’s society and way of life, let us talk about people who consider clicking the pictures that all of us do their passion. What these people share is a common passion for the aesthetic behind the photographic process. It is empowering for them, and a medium of expression (whoever said that a picture speaks a thousand words, is damn right) and creative release.

They’re young guns, but those who believe in their art are ready to explore it beyond the realms of a hobby.

Abhishek Dwivedi, member of the Photosoc of Ramjas College, believes that we are in the best of times to make a career out of photography. Although a regular college student, he’s managed to take his photographical pursuit forward and win at least 6 Photography competitions (along with a monetary sum totalling 25K) in DU this Fest Season very early on in his career as an aspiring professional photographer.

Photo Credit: Abhishek Dwivedi
Photo Credit: Abhishek Dwivedi

He says, “What I have realised being in the field of photography for the last 4 years is, one can be an astoundingly successful photographer and can have a very bright future if he/she continues with pure dedication and honesty. You start by participating in competitions based on different themes which help you identify your strengths: for e.g. Macros, Street, Product, People, Nature, Fashion, Studio, Event, Wedding, Architecture, Landscapes, Wildlife, Underwater, etc., and you explore the field which intrigues you the most! If you’re in a regular college, I would recommend you to showcase your work online as much as possible with a Watermark on each of your photograph as you never know which picture of yours could win a National Award and at the same time put you in touch with numerous professional photographers who can refer you for shoots where you can work professionally. In this broadened and competitive sphere of Photography, things just don’t work out unless you have good contacts.”

Photo Credit: Abhishek Dwivedi
Photo Credit: Abhishek Dwivedi

He adds that a “decent” photographer can earn up to five thousand rupees a month, if he’s willing to take assignments even on weekends.

Anangsha (Rhea) Das, a second year student of Sociology at Miranda House, however is a romantic when it comes to her art. She’s a photographer with a leading campus newspaper and photography happened to her as a beautiful accident. Being a national level lawn tennis player, she didn’t think of photography as a possible profession instantly, but instead, she took her time to fall in love with her “hobby”.

Photo Credit: Anangsha Das
Photo Credit: Anangsha Das

Rhea confesses, “Every time I would spend my wonderful moments with my camera, interacting with people, clicking their photographs, and knowing their stories, I’d fall in love with the process. That wasn’t enough for me though. I toured various places across the city, visited historical monuments, shelter homes and captured some fascinating and mesmerizing happenings in streets. Wherever I tread, my camera follows me. Taking pictures of my college friends, hostel mates, family and colleagues brought me closer to photography and also enhanced my personal equation with them. I can picture myself as a professional in the days to come. Clicking pictures of famous celebrities that come to perform in DU fests, I see a sense and need for professionalism in my art.”

Rhea plans to launch a Facebook project called “The Humans of Delhi University” photographing the lives of people at DU. Her idea is modelled on the popular page “Humans of New York” which talks about the lives of various people residing in New York City, and has photography as its central plot.

Another photography enthusiast, Raunaq Singh, a member of SGTB Khalsa College’s photography society, is enamoured by the photographic process and admires it for simply being what it is — “ If you believe your camera to be a talisman for you, then photography should be your lifelong love. The very realisation, that you carry the power in your hands, to freeze the ever-so-dynamic world, if only for a moment, is humbling. This is the reason you are willing to languish in inhospitable environments, sometimes waiting for hours for a single shot, and sometimes taking shots in less than a blink of an eye, just to capture perfection and create the beautiful poetry, that photography is. So, if you have that restless spirit nudging your insides to dive into the unknown and assimilate the sheer amazement that the world beholds, then photography as a career can help you travel all over and become a part of the diverse cultures and landscapes. A photographer needs to be an ambivert, striking that balance between being an introvert and an extrovert. It’s because you need to make people at ease as you interact with them, converse as if you are their long-lost friend and you’ll be amazed by the gravity of a single shot, which captures their complete lives.”

Photo Credit: Raunaq Singh
Photo Credit: Raunaq Singh
Photo Credit: Raunaq Singh
Photo Credit: Raunaq Singh

And then there are people who choose to explore their interest in photography through involvement in social projects. Kali Walia, a prolific photographer, works as a photography associate for a number of NGOs and NPOs. One of these NPOs supports the cause of artists seeking to hone their skills in any medium of expression, including photography. According to her, “Not to sound too much of a romantic, but the poetic flow of life and people around me compose my source of inspiration for photography. I do not believe that it is simply a scientific observation ruled by certain laws of physics but an insight of the photographer himself/herself. A twig of a tree or dreamy set of eyes could inspire me to look for that perfect shot. Furthermore, in the field itself, the greatest portrait photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson’s work is truly inspirational for any budding amateur photographer.”

Photo Credit: Kali Walia
Photo Credit: Kali Walia

Returning to Baudrillard, “These would be the successive phases of the image:
1. It is the reflection of a basic reality.
2. It masks and perverts a basic reality.
3. It masks the absence of a basic reality.
4. It bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum.”
– Simulacra and Simulation, 1994.

Jean Baudrillard is a post modernist theorist and philosopher, with a keen sense of, as we’ve just seen, images and pictures. No wonder, he was a photographer as well.

Most of us are inclined to think of Photography as a glam job; but as far as reality goes, if you want to take up photography professionally, the road ahead is not a highway, but a pot-holed street. Jobs in the field of photography are usually not very well-paying, considering the amount of physical labour that goes into capturing the ‘perfect shot’. That, in any case, is not a discouragement as initial labour is required to reap the fruits of any profession.

Making money in photography is difficult if you try to find a full-time job in the field. Not only are those rare, but they’re also de-glam. If you think a photographer’s job description is clicking good-looking models in designer wear all day, it’s time you broaden your view and include family portraits in the picture as well because photography, like all other jobs, sees a new crop of talent every season — and in order to make yourself stand out from the crowd, you need to possess, in addition to talent, luck and contacts. In short, a good PR machinery. The sheer number of people claiming to be “professionals” in photography is too high these days, and that makes this area not only more competitive, but also hinders real talent from taking the forefront.

The good news, however, is that the number of interest areas to choose from in photography is virtually limitless. Beginning from portraits and landscapes to sports and advertising, and everything in between, photographers can choose to specialise in any area(s) depending upon their interest and aptitude, and consequently, steer their professional pursuits in a definite direction.

An emerging new field in photography is that of Photojournalism: telling stories through stills and films in a journalistic framework. It is different from photography in the sense that it puts more responsibility on the photographer to create visuals that are truly tell-tale, and focus more on the story than his interpretation of it.

Over the years, pictures have been invaluable repositories of important historical events and more personal landmarks too. And in such a circumstance where there’s “more and more information and less and less meaning” we need driven photographers to add substance to the vast plunder of images we see around us.

Does a degree help? Yes. Infinitely. As Ansel Adams has said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”, a course in photography could help you learn the finer details of that construction. Photography combines technique with aesthetic, and it is in mysterious play of light that pictures come to life. To create proficient individuals in the field, a number of Art Schools have designed dedicated photography courses to give them all the knowledge they need to create magic with their art: that is to say, teaching them the allied skills of photo-editing and story-telling, in addition to capturing beautiful moments.

Universities worldwide offer UG and PG programs in photography and also short-term diploma courses. The oldest photography university, New York Institute of Photography was established in 2010, and offers five courses in photography and video-making.

Of late, companies like Nikon and Canon have begun their own workshop series in India.

Returning to Baudrillard for the final time, for who else could give a better conclusion?

“But what if God himself can be simulated, that is to say can be reduced to signs that constitute faith? Then the whole system becomes weightless, it is no longer anything but a gigantic simulacrum – not unreal, but simulacrum, that is to say never exchanged for the real, but exchanged for itself, in an uninterrupted circuit without reference or circumference.” ― Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation

Power to our upcoming Raghu Rais and Dora Maars!

Picture from Teach For India’s Facebook Page, photographed by Sunhil Sippy

By Saanya Gulati:

How often have you heard a sentence that starts with, ‘I quit my corporate job to…?’ Chances are that if you work in the social sector, especially at a non-governmental organisation (NGO), you hear it quite often.

Picture from Teach For India’s Facebook Page, photographed by Sunhil Sippy
Picture from Teach For India’s Facebook Page, photographed by Sunhil Sippy

As a strong believer in following one’s passion, I admire those who have the courage to give up the stability and comfort that corporate jobs provide and opt for less conventional career paths. Yet, I find that the ‘I sacrificed a life of luxury for something more fulfilling’ syndrome engenders certain stereotypes about jobs in the social sector, which can be problematic.

There is no doubt that working in the social sector is a fulfilling endeavor. Having worked at several NGOs, I can vouch for this. But newly transitioned corporates who attach blanket labels of ‘meaningful’ and ‘noble’ to all social sector jobs portray an overly romanticized description of what working in the social sector entails. This obscures the more nuanced reality, and oversimplifies the multitude of social sector jobs that exist.

For one, all NGOs do not work at the grass root level, and neither do all NGO employees work directly with underprivileged or marginalised communities. The impact of one’s work is not always tangible, and can often be administrative, mundane and repetitive. An article by Anurag Behar, CEO of Azim Premji Foundation called making the transition from the corporate to the social sector accurately depicts this distinction between working in an NGO that has a ‘direct impact on a few people’ versus one that attempts larger scale impact: “ In an organization that is attempting large scale change, one doesn’t see [their efforts making some difference on a daily basis], and so such people over a period of time start feeling, ‘did I leave that life to come here and work in another large organization?”

When I told people that I worked at a non-profit, their instinctive response was, “your job must be so fulfilling!” It often comes as a shock when I tell them that it was not. Yes, the overarching mission of an NGO is different from that of a corporate firm, but the manner in which both organisations function on a day-to-day basis is quite similar. Consider someone who does marketing at an NGO or for a corporate firm. Both jobs involve raising awareness about your organisation’s work, and the skills required, methods used and processes followed are not fundamentally different.

Placing NGOs on a moral pedestal can create two misconceptions about working in the social sector. The first is the impression that all those who work in the social sector are a bunch of large-hearted Samaritans. And the logical corollary is that those in the corporate world as soul-sucking suit clad, money making machines. The second and more problematic is that working in the social sector is not a ‘real job’ but a vocation, passion, or an ideal ‘second career (once you’re fed-up of your corporate job, that is!) People often have questions like ‘why I chose to work in the NGO sector?’ or ‘what I plan to do after?’ The assumption is that working in the social sector is obviously not a viable or long-term career. If you need more clarification on why we need to treat NGO work as a real job, here is a great piece.

The ‘I quit my corporate job’ fad creates unwanted stereotypes about working in the non-profit sector. If we can start to view both jobs on an equal footing, we will realise that working in an NGO can be as mundane as working in the corporate firm can be gratifying, because at the end of the day they are both jobs. Those who brag about their corporate-social transition will realise that changing career paths neither accords you an elevated moral status, nor guarantees that your new job will be a noble and fulfilling mission. The ‘I quit my corporate job’ will be ‘I changed my career path.’ Most importantly, we will stop questioning those who chose to work in the social sector at the start of their career, and realise that this decision is not purely based on goodwill or altruism, but because they enjoy their jobs.


Once you have built an amazing dream of starting up your own small business, you need two things; An awesome friend to tell you that your dream is as brilliant as you are and a superb infographic to solve all your doubts about what steps to take first and the next and the next. We are here with the second bit. It will definitely help.




By Sumeet Kaur:

The very word free in ‘freelancing’ makes it captivating. We quickly relate it to our freedom and freelancing is indeed all about our independence. After all who doesn’t love being independent? A freelancer, who we may call a skilled person can sell his acquired services from writing, publishing, copy-editing, copywriting, proofreading, screenwriting, filmmaking, acting, photography, editing, event planning, event management and graphic designing, to financial consultancy, accounting, computer programming, web design, website development, consulting, tour guiding, video editing, video production, translating, illustrating and micro jobs etc. either on an hourly, daily, or a job basis to an employer. He or she enjoys the privilege of working from home or anywhere in his ace and comfort, in a time that suits him and can work for different employers at the same time. So he is a self-employed person working independently on short-term contracts in his own way rather than working on a regular salary basis for a single employer.

freelancingFreelancing as a career option is slowly catching up in India although it is already a very popular option abroad. It also serves as a way to follow our passion along with our regular job and if properly worked upon, it pays off very well. People with a creative bent of mind often choose freelancing as it offers flexibility and the opportunity to showcase our work in a variety of arenas. Some readers might be of the opinion that while it does look like a very interesting way to earn while sitting indoors, but is it really feasible? It definitely is provided that you have the talent that is worth selling and there is someone at the other end who is in need of what you have to offer. It is just a matter of finding the right fit.

For those of you who are actually masters in their respective fields and have good know-how about websites that post online jobs for clients, you just need to give it a try and freelancing can even become a full-time option. In the U.S. alone, one in three workers are now doing freelance work. If you have the capability to identify your skills and discover whether it is a single field or multiple fields for which you can do freelancing, you have to start promoting yourself and your skills either through previous contacts, personal websites and blogs, social media (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook ) or any other way that you think of. Letting people know you is the most important thing for a freelancer and that can be only made possible by good networking and proper follow-ups. Elance, oDesk, Freelancer, 99designs, Craigslist, Guru,iFreelance, People Per Hour, Freelance Switch Jobs are a few of the hundreds of websites available that provide a wide variety of work. All you have to do is sign up for an account and complete your profile and explore the details and get started. You also need to check out the details of the reputation of the website by going through the feedbacks and ratings so as to minimize your chances of being fooled by wrong advertisements and banners which exist on various sites.

So for those of you who are not able to fit into a 9 to 5 work environment and are bored of the corporate politics, lacking the adequate resources and talent presently to be an entrepreneur which involves risk taking ability, patience, finance and business skills, freelancing is a starter to your path to success. For those of you who have no problems with their monotonous jobs and working scenario or may be having problems but are not strong enough to compromise on the high salary packages, may continue doing what they are, till the time they realize that freelancing is surely worth a try.


By the end of this infographic, you won’t be a successful entrepreneur. Neither will you have 100% confident (if you need to be) to get up and tell your dad that your are quitting your job because you want to be one. And of course you won’t be sure that tomorrow will be a great day.

But, you will be able to connect. Connect, because the fear in your mind is universal. You are not the only scared one out there. Everybody who chose to take this path, is walking on that rope over an irregular mountain range. So all the to-be-entrepreneurs and those who have reached midway and find the rope shaky, here’s to you. As the picture says, “just do it”.


Becoming an Entrepreneur

Social Worker

By Nidhi Khurana:

The lure of lucre has always been there in man. And when it comes to his career, this statement becomes even more valid. As per the Indian mentality, one should either be a sarkari babu or an engineer or a doctor sahib. Or the newer category is manager sahib. There is a mad race to get admissions in IITs and IIMs, like always. These careers seem promising and attractive because of the social acceptance and prestige they enjoy in our society and also because of the package worth lakhs they ensure in ones life.

Social Worker

Over the last few years, there has been a constant discussion on ‘alternative careers available to the youth’, whether in the media or by the intellectual lot in colleges. New careers that are available are numerous- Photography, Journalism, Fashion Designing, Charted Accountancy, Law and so on. However, the road less travelled or the road not taken is that of careers in the development sector. Today, NGOs have emerged as an unconventional option among the youth. But what is so disturbing is that fact that one cannot carve a beautiful niche in the development or social sector.

Well, I don’t know how feasible it is to pursue such a career in life, but the one thing I am always trying to sort out is why the development sector is so unpopular. Why are subjects like social work and sociology a stock of laughter for some?

Probably the answer lies in the fact that subjects like these have nothing lucrative to offer. There are not enough number of opportunities available to social science students without pursuing any professional course or training. And another reason is the lack of awareness among the youth. Youth especially in rural and less urban areas are not even aware about such subjects and the opportunities it has to offer. Yes, one option of course is to take up some job in NGO’s and research organizations. But options like this are the most challenging because jobs in this sector are not even well paid and more importantly because of the social mockery it suffers from. No one likes to be called as jholachaps or chappalchaps wandering in ghettos and shanty places to bring about the change, the change that we all speak of but no one ever does anything to bring it.

Today there is need to recognize that the development sector offers several opportunities, some of which we are unaware of and there is an urgent need to create awareness through social media and other sources. I am ready to work for it, to take such a career to its glorious heights. I am happy to contribute to the empowerment of other people. I want to take the road less travelled. The question is: Are you okay with it? I pose this question before everyone who has ever questioned my pursuit in life.


By Shubhra Kukreti:

“No babe, not today. Why don’t you come for the match with me?”

“Oh yes, you toss away my shopping plans and you think I’ll come for that utterly boring cricket match of yours.”

Cursing my boyfriend, I dial my best friend’s number. Apparently she too is out of station. Now who else do I bother to assist me with my shopping? I can pick clothes for others but when it comes to shopping for the self, it is a constant struggle between my personal style and the current fashion trends. I settle down on my chair, glue my eyes to the laptop and decide to shop online. Advertisements keep on popping up- Shoemania, herbs for life, donate your eyes, personal shoppers, Incredible India. Wait a second, did I actually see ‘Personal shoppers’? I click on the link and find out to my utter amazement that they actually have professional personal shoppers; sigh, I am so uninformed. Personal shoppers are basically people who help others shop by giving advice and making suggestions to customers. Personal shoppers help customers shop whatever item they choose.


I like the concept but why should anyone hire an assistant for an activity as personal as shopping? For reasons exactly like mine, I guess. With our careers and families becoming priorities, we are left with little time for ourselves and then add to this the desire to look good all the time. Moreover, not everyone is blessed with a natural eye for style. This is where a specialized assistance in shopping comes into picture. Shoppers are aware of the various kinds of fabrics, materials, cuts and colours so they can suggest what suits you the best. We already have interior decorators, make-up artists, fashion designers, grooming experts and wedding planners, so why not personal shoppers? Again, shopping for special occasions is quite a task. With so many designers, couture stores and boutiques, the choices are endless and can be confusing. Personal shoppers can provide the assistance for the shopping keeping the latest trends in mind and blending it with our personal choice. In India, the trend of appointing a shoppeuse for weddings is on rise.

For the shopaholics, it is a dream job which pays you with money and fun. This job demands no special certificate or experience. As long as you are enthusiastic about shopping and can buy those lovely outfits for someone else (because I can’t, I am greedy and pretty clothes make me go weak in the knees.), this job is just for you. But you definitely need some knowledge about various body types and silhouettes; how to examine body features in order to determine which clothing, silhouettes and fabrics will highlight or conceal those features, how to select the appropriate colours for an individual and how to select the appropriate clothing based on an individual’s fashion style so that the clients find clothes which fit them to a T without munching on their time. Not only clothes but also while choosing gifts, jewellery, furniture and even food, a personal shopper might be required.

Praise be to the good Lord that I stumbled upon personal shopping. After all, what could be better than a job which serves to satisfy the shopaholic within you, saves your time and contributes to the economy? Ditching both my boyfriend and best friend, I call up an online personal shopper and ask him to locate the items I need. Of course, it would be a little expensive for my usual budget but I will get to enjoy my beauty sleep.


By Indrani Chanda:

A nurse is often described by people as the ‘second doctor‘. A scientific definition for nursing is that a nurse “observes, assesses and records symptoms, reactions, and progress of patients, administers medications, helps rehabilitate patients, instructs patients and family members in proper health care and helps maintain a physical and emotional environment that promotes recovery“. Nursing as a profession requires lot of hard work, patience and dedication.

In the modern times people have become extremely career conscious and quite a lot of them are choosing nursing as their career option these days. Nursing has good opportunities and scopes. The main responsibility of a nurse is to take good care of patients and to give them psychological comfort by talking to them. Nursing started with Florence Nightingale in 1850’s. Although during that period, the main duty of nurses was to help a person maintain hygiene, nowadays nurses are loaded with more duties and responsibilities. Doctors and nurses together work as a team and nurses provide their services of love and care for early the recovery of patients.

Nurses are provided both theoretical and practical training to become successful professionals in this field. Students can pursue an associate degree from a nursing program or complete a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree programs casually take two to three years to be completed. It provides training in nursing fundamentals, pharmacology and microbiology. BSN programs may include courses in adult health care, health assessment and community health. They can also pursue Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) that would prepare nurses to become nurse administrators, nurse educators and family nurse practitioners. All registered nurse program graduates take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It is important for the nurses for their legal employment.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), are supervised by registered nurses. They measure and monitor patients, help in patient care and treatment and collect laboratory test samples. In hospitals, nurses are guided by some initial procedure which is described as an ‘‘orderly, systematic manner of determining the clients’ health status, specifying problems defined as alterations in human need fulfilment and making plans to solve them”.

Although today there are many opportunities to get professional help and to make a career out of several fields, but nursing as a career is gradually getting tremendous success. The work may sometimes become stressful, but at the end of the day nurses are people who command a lot of respect. They are needed in army hospitals, nursing homes etc. Nurses do not help only individuals, they also help families and groups achieve good health and prevent diseases. Nursing is nothing but a noble career.


By Bhawani Sahoo:

Do you think education can only give birth to Doctors, Engineers or MBAs? Then I am really sorry to disappoint you because you are either still living in the ‘traditional Indian education society’ or you are not yet grown up!

Let me tell you a short story. My cousin was good at math so my uncle decided that he should be in IIT, sound’s good doesn’t it? But my cousin has decided something else for himself; he wanted to become an architect because his love for maths compelled him to do something different. Undoubtedly, his decision of becoming an architect disappointed my uncle. However, his dream was fulfilled and his firm decision to become an architect over an engineer was absolutely correct.


Recently a survey was conducted by the human resource company Kelly Services, in which around 65% of Indian worker preferred meaningful jobs over income and status. This survey clearly brings out the fact that satisfaction can never be substituted by anything else, but still at times under our parents’ pressure we let our dreams flow by and don’t even try to get hold them. Now the question arises that why do we supress our dreams? Maybe because we are not sure enough about our dream’s vitality!

If you feel a deep interest in singing, dancing, acting or any work which is related to this glamorous industry then don’t step back; though there is tough competition in this field but competition should not be a hindrance for talented people. A bit of hard work and you’ll be the rising star of tomorrow. Various creative career options like fine arts, calligraphy, creative writing or handwriting analysis are popular career alternatives in this changing time, which will not only help you to satisfy your creativity but will also fulfil your urge to do ‘something different ‘.

If you are a health freak and a true lover of nutritious food and healthy lifestyle then with adequate professional requirement you can proudly call yourself ‘‘dietician’’ or ”nutritionist” and can enjoy rest of your life by doing what you love to do. Next, does the sound ‘click’ fill your heart with joy and contentment? Then you should try your hands at photography, and with good technical understanding who knows you would be the next William Henry Jackson.

Similarly, careers like fashion designing or beauty and hair dressing can be good as alternatives which will not only help you to begin with an awesome career of a fashion designer but also give you independence to have your own fashion boutique or parlour. Beauty and hair dressing is no more a female career option but also lots of males choose this field to build their career in.

There are many students who do social work as a part-time job but let me tell it’s a very good career alternative which gives you immense satisfaction and can be opted as a full time job as well. And in today’s time India is in great need of good social workers who have the capacity to reform its society.

Career alternative is not only for those people who have opted incorrect career options for themselves, but it also gives you an opportunity to sit back and think once more before you chose an incorrect option for yourself. After all, nothing can be more enjoyable than making your hobbies and interest as your career.


By Shobhit Agarwal:

After completing three years of engineering, the type of questions that one would expect to arise impromptu are —“How can I make this world a better place technically?”, “What form of technology is going to determine the future in the coming generations?

But instead, what I am left with is, “What the hell am I doing in engineering?”

On probing, plenty of students will outright deny the notion that they are as much into engineering or as good in technical knowledge as Rakhi Sawant is in keeping her mouth shut or Mallika Sherawat in keeping her clothes on. But deep down inside, they very well know that sometime in the not-so-distant future, they are going to look back at their college life and say, “Boss! I wasted four years of my life.”

There’s no denying that there are a bunch of students who were born to be engineers. They are among the rare breed of kids, who in their childhood would tear open their toys to understand their structure and operation rather than hold them in their arms while sleeping at night. But what about the other end of the spectrum? What about the majority, whose course books bite the dust on the study table until one day before the examination; who are still busy trying to figure out the difference between a micro-controller and a micro-processor even in the fourth year of their engineering? They are too timid to accept that engineering is not their cup of tea due to the fear of parental outburst or society’s malign.

I have absolutely no interest in engineering. I accept that. I am a late bloomer; it took me a couple of years into engineering to realise that I wasn’t meant to be an engineer. But at least I am not living in the illusion that someday out of nowhere Santa Claus will come and reignite the long dead engineering neurons in my brain. I have realised that my passion lies somewhere else which has got nothing to do with technical knowledge. And the best part is that this realisation has been more of a boon than a curse. How?

Simple! What 70% of my fellow colleagues are going to realise 4 years after completing their engineering — when life would seem nothing but a never ending monotonous cycle, or when they are being fired from their jobs, I have already realised it now and am working towards rectifying it. Rather than switching to a new career at the age of 30, when my creativity and sharpness will be on the decline, I am prepared to take the risk of switching fields in my early twenties, with my mind as sharp as ever and determination as solid as a rock. I have taken up a number of activities which interests me — writing being one of them. Thus, when I look back into my engineering life sometime in the future, not all of it will appear gloomy.

I just want to convey the message to the ones who are still living in the illusion — “Folks, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Rather than using engineering as an excuse of not being able to do things that you love, use it as a catalyst in speeding up the process of daring to chase your dreams. You may crash and burn in engineering but there are thousand other things you are good at. And the flipside to all of it — even if you fail to achieve your goals, you will always have an engineering degree to rely on.


By Abhishyant Kidangoor:

Diving for a living? Many might get amused by the prospect of having scuba diving as a career. Many others may call it crazy and insane. But the scenario has changed. Gone are the days when Medicine, Engineering, Law and Management were the only career paths, people even dared to think about. Scuba diving, as thrilling and adventurous as it sounds, is a brilliant career path. It may seem highly unconventional but the truth is that many people, including students are taking it up not only as a part-time career but as a full time job as well. Talk about living life on the edge.

TV shows on The Animal Planet and National Geographic gave audiences worldwide an idea about the beauty and adventure that lay beneath the ocean. SCUBA is an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. It refers to the equipment used by the divers to explore the underwater environment. A major deal of the training given to scuba divers includes the safe use and handling of these materials and other related techniques. Once you are certified, you are allowed to dive in open water.

Scuba diving, be it as a pastime or profession, can be a relaxing and awe inspiring experience. It requires focus, organization, clear thinking and cooperation. Different types of scuba diving jobs are determined based on a lot of factors. This includes the level of certification achieved, the preferred work environment and if the job is seasonal or full time. Many professional scuba divers organize recreational tours, assist scientific research and rescue efforts and also train others. One may also specialize in a particular area, such as deep sea diving or underwater photography. It is more or less a way to stay away from the daily stresses and tensions of normal work life and simultaneously earn.

One of the most popular scuba diving jobs is to be a diving instructor. As an instructor, you train and help others with the use of the equipment and also give them necessary coaching regarding underwater safety, without compromising on the leisure they gain out of it.

Researchers in oceanography and marine biology also require professional scuba divers to assist them with their work. This includes observing the underwater flora and fauna, identify and collect species and also to measure various parameters such as current, temperature etc.

The best part of such a job is getting paid for something that you usually would pay to do. And there is nothing more like loving the job that you are getting paid for. That is something very few people could claim. More than a full-time job, it is something you could do when you take a break off from your regular hectic schedule, without compromising on your pay. The ones who are more interested in the pay are in for a huge disappointment. But the salary could be maximized by getting advanced rating and specialty certificates from a recognized dive agency.

In nutshell, Scuba diving as a profession is highly adventurous and thrilling. It calls for a lot of courage and is not meant for the faint-hearted. Meant more to be a part-time job, scuba diving as a full-time career is also gaining prominence in many countries. India might take a while before accepting something as unconventional and offbeat as Scuba diving to be a full time profession though, but the trend is already setting in. What more than combining pleasure and work and living life to the fullest.


By Anubhav Das:

Every kid in India at some point in his life surely dreams of a career in this field irrespective of his interests and aims in life. A field that has been the favorites of all the careers since ages, probably not because of the perks or any glittering emoluments it offers but because of the lifestyle it renders, uniqueness it brings to the personality of those who pursue it and above all because of the prestige it brings to the social status of those who choose it as their life. This field is nothing but a life in Indian Army. Some call it a career whereas others call it a passion well pursued with apt intelligence and die-hard attitude.

The Indian Army today harbors a pool of talent that cannot be possibly outdone by any other profession; many officers of Indian Army after serving their terms in the respective battalions are appointed on special duties to lead other commissions at national level and classified government activities at administrative levels. Some of them also join corporates and because of their bright past record, they are usually asked to render service at executive levels. This raises a serious question to the educational framework of our country and that is-If Army officers are capable of serving the country in many ways even after retiring from the Army, then why shouldn’t they be appointed as teaching faculty of higher institutions? To start with the Indian Army requires a sound academic background to get in to; the cadets then are given the knowledge in various subjects by the best of faculties. Together with a practical approach that beats that of any other fields, an Army Officer is well equipped to teach at any other educational institute as a faculty by the time he completes his service in the Army. An Army Officer is perceived to be a gifted administrator which also fits him in the frame of a managerial post. Given the scenario today, in which all the major institutes in the country are suffering from a severe crunch with the issues of quality faculty, this can sure come to our rescue. Now, the question arises is that even after knowing and realizing the fact that an Army Personnel possesses a sound background that qualifies him to serve as a faculty in institutions, why is it not implemented in our system. Well the answers can be contemplated, some of us believe that an Army Officer is made for the Army and cannot fit in the social structure of a common man, others argue that even if he fits, he cannot be considered eligible to teach as he is only talented enough to lead a battalion of army men and not a class of youngsters and thus, an issue as sensitive as education cannot be compromised. Well, to me this thought seems pretty absurd and even ridiculous.

An Army officer is trained to adapt the social conditions in any environment and is far better adaptive than any of us. Moreover, it is of no discretion of ours that to give a verdict on who can be a part of our social structure and who cannot. It is only because of our lack of reasoning and thinking power that we cannot foresee the advantages it would bring to our educational system. Colleges talk about a diversity in the student’s pool, well how about a diversity in the faculty’s pool. To start with, if not on a permanent basis, some of the retired officers can be appointed as guest faculties in some of the institutions and the results can be evaluated. The idea is no doubt fantastic and pretty easy to execute also provided our political system recognizes it with clear and fair intentions.

Till now, we’ve seen an Army Officer serve this country only on the borders with a gun in his hand, just think what can he do with the young minds of the country in a classroom with a pen in his hand.


By Shobhit Agarwal:

Given an option, what would you do —

Work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, in a job that pays you 50,000 rupees a month, although you feel miserable about it.


Choose an unconventional profession that you are passionate about, willing to work the whole day if need be arise, but doesn’t provide a fixed source of income; yet you know that even if you make 20,000 rupees a month out of it, you will be ‘satisfied’ and ‘contend’.

Most of us would think twice before making a choice. And chances are that majority of us would favour the former to the latter. In times when the stress is more on quality than quantity, don’t you think that such a mind-set is a bit out of place?

Our risk-taking abilities have been severely depleted by the system. The problem in our country is that we are too scared of the social stigma attached with unconventional professions. We decide on our future based on other’s opinion than based on our abilities and interest.

For example, say someone is passionate about poetry. That person maybe very good at it and might even would have been successful and famous had he made a career out of it. But just the thought of what other people will think; how will he or his parents respond to the society- which has been subjected to a diet of doctors and engineers and other white collar professionals- when it downplays his profession, makes him apprehensive about it. So much so that he succumbs to popular opinion and joins the rat race.

You see, it is thoughts like these that limit the horizon of our ability and narrows our mind-set. That’s why you never hear stories like that of Mark Zuckerberg emerging from India. Can you imagine a fellow Indian, in his early twenties, dropping out of college, that too one of the repute of Stanford, to chase something he is crazily passionate about and ends up being world’s youngest billionaire?

All of us have heard of Bill Gates, what do you think? When for the first time he came up with the concept of WINDOWS, the world applauded him and told him that his was a revolutionary idea that would change the face of computing on this planet? No, the world ridiculed him. They rejected him and his idea outright. As if the concept wasn’t weird enough, to name it as WINDOWS was like mocking the intelligence of man. But look where he and WINDOWS are today. It is only in the last few years that MICROSOFT has been overtaken by APPLE, and that in itself is because of another great innovator of our times, the late Steve Jobs.

What is it that makes these men stand apart from the rest?

There can be numerous theories as to how to achieve success and gain recognition. But at the end of it, it all boils down to this — “Are you really passionate about your work?”

I am not saying that if you choose to turn your passion into reality, then it is going to be a cakewalk. No, you need to persevere. There is no substitute to hard work. You will hit roadblocks and dead ends from time to time. But tell me one thing, would you rather fight against the forces that are trying to stop you from chasing your dream, or fight against your own self from doing something you are not passionate about.

Since childhood, our mind-set has been framed in such a way that we are always on the lookout for ‘safe’ things — ‘safe’ job, ‘safe’ education, ‘safe’ investment. I have stumbled upon this word numerous times, yet I fail to conceive the true context of the word ‘safe’. I mean the people working at LEHMAN brothers, U.S.A.’s largest bank till 2008, were under the impression that they were in a safe job, earning them a pocketful, before recession hit them and they found themselves unemployed. How was that, or for that matter of fact, any job ‘safe’?

Whenever thoughts of doing something unconventional have crossed my mind, and I have advocated them out loud, my elders have always told me to get settled first, then pay heed to the ‘wildness’ of my mind. Now it may appear to be very discouraging on their part but we need to realise something very important.

The thing is our elders grew in an age when India was bogged by numerous problems. Right from communal riots to financial crisis, political instability to lack of resources, their visions have always been restricted by some constraint or the other. But, as part of the 21st first century generation, we need to be aware that the realms of limit in today’s times go even beyond the heights of the sky. The only person that can stop us from achieving what we want is ourselves.

So back your instincts, trust yourself, and keep alive the passion — the world will be your playground and you will be the game-changers.


By Madhav Gupta:

We all love taking pictures! We take them here there everywhere, let it be youth or the senior members of the family, everybody is fond of clicking pictures. The main credit goes to the smartphones which make us look smart. And the digital cameras which led to the end of film cameras and made taking pictures a much easier as well as a costless job.

However, people limit photography only to their hobbies and not many take it as a profession. But the scenario is changing. Taking pictures is not mere an act it’s an art of story-telling. Photography has a part to play in almost everything let it be magazines, online marketing, social networking, posters, journalism and street hoardings etc.
Photography offers a number of opportunities and the range of the fields that you can venture into. Mentioned below are the different career options possible within the realm of photography.

1. Wedding Photography is the highly money making genre of Photography and largely accepted by Photographers. A wedding photographer can easily earn 50-60k for a whole wedding. And as you get more experienced, 1-1.5Lakhs would be a normal charge (that would include video too). But it is the toughest field because you are capturing somebody’s most precious moments and you have to be highly cautious of the changing conditions.
2. Product Photography is taking pictures of items and products produced or sold by the company for the purpose of advertising and selling. It can include food, merchandise, electronics, and automobiles and are highly in demand.
3. Portrait Photography is capturing moments with main focus on people. A good portrait photographer can do very well as a Wedding Photographer.
4. Event Photography is covering pictures from social events to celeb parties. Photographers of this genre can freelance with magazines and newspapers. They have a growing demand in online media e.g., etc need lot of event photographers.
5. Fashion Photography is indulging in the field where one works with the models, fashion houses and designer houses. This is another money making field of photography. A respected photographer can charge 40-50k for a photo shoot of individual models.
6. Photo Journalist provides the press with pictures that are relevant to the daily news and events. This kind of photography is best done instinctively. Hence, you need to be spontaneous and know what kind of a picture would best illustrate your article. If you are adventurous and willing to work under difficult conditions when needed, then this field is probably for you.
7. Fine Art Photography click photographs which are sold as an art form. To be a fine art photographer, you have to be very creative and expressive.
8. Photo Essay is presenting a story with the help of series of photographs. You can cover any topic let it be social cause, travel, food etc. A photograph speaks for itself and helps people see. Although, there is not much money in this field, you can work with few magazines like, Forbes life, Fountain Ink, etc.
9. Travel Photographers can narrate a story and give audience a genuine and firsthand experience with the help of photographs. The travel photographers can work with various travel magazines like Outlook traveller, lonely planet etc. They can even work in promote with the hotels and government agencies in promotion. If you live to travel, this is the field for you.
10. Wildlife Photography in this field you cover the nature and animal kingdom in their most habitual conditions. The photographs of sceneries, landscapes, waterfalls and sunsets etc. form a part of wildlife photography.
11. Industrial Photography click photographs of machinery, merchandise, industrial layout, workers at work etc. to be used for company publications and for the purposes of advertising and selling.
12. Forensic Photography taking pictures at crime scenes from all possible angles with great emphasis on details in order to help the police or detective agencies.
13. Scientific Photography is used for scientific publications and research reports. The areas that it covers are biology, medicine, chemistry and engineering. You have to have both interest and knowledge to be a part of this field.
Do I need a formal course to become a Photographer?

Most of the photographers are basically self-trained, but in last one decade there are lot of institutes started in India which have started a detailed course on the art of taking pictures and have produced brilliant photographers. They are:-

1. Lights and Life Academy, Ooty
2. National Institute of Design
3. Bharatiya Vidya Peeth, Pune
4. Delhi School of Photography
5. AAFT (Asian Academy of Film & Televion), Noida
6. Udaan Photography, Mumbai
7. FX School of Photography, Mumbai
8. Film and Television Institute of India, Law College Road, Pune -411004 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
9. Fergusson College, Pune (B.A. Degree Course in photography)

Criteria for Admission

You can get admission in most of the institutes after School (10+2) via a written exam followed by an Interview. Although getting admission in college is quite easy as compared to other streams. But you need to get in the best and they have a detailed and difficult procedure.

You can get admission in private photography colleges by just paying the course fee as they don’t have much of admission criteria. And there are lot of other schools which taken weekend classes, so you can join them along with your primary college.

How do I publish my work?

Few years back people would open a photography website (that would incur good amount of money) or a photo blog and show their work. But nowadays the best mediums are Social networking sites like facebook, twitter etc which are free of cost and you getter a better reach via your friends, e.g. Hari Menon, Audi Photography, Himanshu Khagta etc. did well thanks to facebook.


With the media industry developing at the rate of 400% per year, there are lot of opportunities coming up for the young photographers. Photographs are required in each and every field let it is politics, tourism, catering business, fashion houses, police, journalism etc. They all have an important dependency on photographers.


Photography as a profession is still developing in India, so there is a not a fixed pay-package for photographers in start up. But it’s only till the time you get established. Once you have a good name in this field you can earn handsomely. One can start as an assistant to senior photographers in which you’d be paid Rs 3500 to Rs 6000. Once you are established, you would be paid as per the assignment. The range can be from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000. Fields like commercial photography pay higher compared to the other fields. Beginnings can be made at Rs. 15,000 which may grow over a period of time.

So, if you have passion for photography and want people to see, how you see thing, Photography is the best job. It’s a highly interesting and courageous job. Although, you may not have a smooth start, if you work dedicatedly and creatively, you will do better than the cattle breed.

Mike Pandey

By Shruti Shreya:

We all get enthralled by the superbly fast cheetah clocking 120 kmph on our favorite wildlife show on Discovery and NatGeo, but more often than not we fail to admire the artistry and panache with which these wildlife films are and have been being made for decades, by famous nature filmmakers like David Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau.

But these environmental filmmakers do more than just show the beauty of nature. They are called conservation film-makers because they use the aesthetics of nature to convey a subtle environmental message and hope that when viewers watch and admire these films, they will be taken over with a sense of protection and conservation.

One of the biggest names in the Indian wildlife scenario is that of Mike Pandey, with 300 national and international awards to his credit. Being born in Kenya, right next to the Nairobi National Park, proved to be a rich source of inspiration and made him the world-class wildlife videographer that he is today. The man, whom Time Magazine put up at third place in its list “Heroes of the Environment” in 2009, has produced films like Shores of Silence, The Last Migration, Broken Wings and The Timeless Traveller that have actually made a direct impact for legal actions to be taken towards the protection of species like whale sharks, elephants, vultures and horse-shoe crabs.

However, much like the dark unseen side of the glistening moon, despite the good intentions of these nature crusaders, there is a dark side to this profession as well. One such notable wildlife videographer, Chris Palmer, has talked about the other side of the camera in his book “Shooting in the Wild” wherein he has exposed many “dirty secrets” of nature documentaries like filmmakers using trained animals, dragging dead animal carcasses to locations, digging fake dens, lying in the narration and one notable (award winning) case actually showcasing lemming suicides by mechanically pushing the poor creatures off a cliff using a rotating platform set up.

While these malpractices in the wildlife profession fail to get noticed by the layman, sometimes the experts themselves, and actually end up achieving the targeted results, the biggest concern however is whether the goodness achieved through these fake videos actually justify the crimes film-makers commit against the nature? Are we allowed to spill a little blood for the greater good and let it pass by calling it collateral damage?


By Girija Semuwal:

For most school students in India, college is just the next step in life. This is the life they’ve been told they have to prepare for. They’ve been told this over and over again, all these years, by everybody around them.

It begins by collecting degrees from renowned and reputed colleges located in metropolises. There is little time to take note of your own evolution as a person. As soon as you’re in the pursuit to settle in life continues in a straightforward fashion, or so it seems, which is probably why most people remark how “so many years have passed away so quickly!”

Given the general linearity of how things have to progress for students who’ve to reach a seemingly specific — seemingly because eventually it could be something totally different from expectations and anticipations — end, the choice of selecting a college rests chiefly on the academic reputation of colleges.

But as is the case in many colleges, students like to involve themselves more in extracurricular activities than spend their entire time listening to lectures in classrooms. Then, isn’t it surprising and ironical that what extracurricular activities a college offers on its plate does not feature when students make their decisions. Is it because of lack of awareness? This doesn’t seem to be the case.

Student societies in a college add to its overall appeal. They are vital constituents of the image formed in the mind of a prospective student of the college where he or she might be headed. Once the student is in, societies may become the mainstays of his or her campus life.

And rightly so, graduate Institutions ought to offer better ways to develop students and offer them a chance to grow in personality and not just as scholars. And a society seems a good way of learning and development by allowing participation and involvement to individuals on the basis of their interests and likings. They are environments where raw talents are showcased and nurtured, be it any field — music, dance, debating, theatre or fine art.

But ask students these two questions before and after joining college and expect to hear totally different answers — first, why they should go to college; and after they’ve spent maybe a semester, ask them why they go to college. The first is a should and the second is a would.

The answer to the first question would most probably revolve around “college is the stepping stone for a great career; for earning academic qualifications; for honours, distinctions and gold medals; for campus placements” or something similar. Why they really go to college, when asked the second time round, you’d find it is because of the variety of co-curricular activities — fests, workshops, seminars, exhibitions – that happen year-round, mostly facilitated by college societies.

In my reading, this variation, the disparity, between educational aspirations and campus realities, is because of the embedded value bias in the system of education. The cultural discourse on education is quite rigid.

Your career is your life. No compromises, no experimentations. But yes, once you make it, you can always explore, but “side-by-side”.

What happens in societies is great. But it’s best left at that because academic achievements would always come first in the job market. The implications are to be seen for themselves. So it’s no surprise that even if students take admission through extra-curricular activities (ECA) quota, they usually want the ‘top colleges’, and whether a college can be called ‘top’ is generally determined by academic or placements’ output.

It’s a funny algorithm to follow, but it’s borne the test-of-time and so for most students it’s the only route. We want to explore and experiment with ourselves but within boundaries of convention. Therein lays the whole story.


By Sakshi Gupta:

Films; from where people learn about “what’s in”, the new ways to be cooler, newest of the dance moves and much more are now not just limited to the boundary of Entertainment! Film making has now become a powerful weapon to influence people over the social changes. Be it Corruption, politics or the young generation thinking about its career, film making has touched every part of social lives of the viewers.

We have always heard of how films have had a great influence on the upcoming generations when it comes to their behavior, their “suddenly changed ways” and their looks! But the youth today has also responded to the films touching the strings of social issues in an equally vibrant manner. Be it the issue of reservation in jobs and education sector which was brought up by the movie ‘Aarakshan’ or be it problem that every student faces about his and his family’s choice of career in ‘Udaan’, every such movie has influenced the viewers and their thinking. The pondering over Lokpaal Bill brought up by Anna Hazare was even made deeper when Rumi Jaffery came up with ‘Gali Gali Chor hai’. How can we even forget the phenomena caused by Jason Russell’s viral video to expose Joseph Kony in ‘Kony2012’.

Films have a tendency to impact us so probably because through visual art, it becomes much easier to sympathize (maybe empathize). Hearing from someone’s mouth will make us use our own imagination which might be a hindrance to the truth. Watching a film can force us to face the hard hitting reality.

From a six year old child to a sixty year old man everybody takes back something or the other after leaving the cinema hall, if it’s a change in view point, then its truly commendable. It is the era when people support every action against any social issue. The technology has become the most important part of our lives; all of us love to go out for a movie with friends rather than any of the indoor fun! So film making is in a way helping to bring forward the issues that need to be looked in a different way, that need to be worked on or may even be uprooted in the way that people want. It has really helped to inform people about the existing evils in the way they want it.

Image courtesy:

Foreign Languages

By Shilpa Naraini:

One has to think a lot when it comes to selecting a particular career, keeping in mind one’s interests, as well as the scope. After many days of chatting and partying following the12th  Board Exams, me and my group of friends were stuck at an important decision-making step of choosing appropriate careers for ourselves. We heard the usual suggestions — Doctors, Engineers, Charted Accountants; you know the drill, but one voice caught our attention — that of pursuing career in foreign language.

Like many others, we were also surprised to know that a course like this, which was once only a vocational course, had turned into a Hot Favourite career option for youngsters. In this era of MNCs and the multinational culture, and with the world being called a “global village”, it is greatly important for a country to improve on its language knowledge base to actually interact with the rest of the world easily. In that case, laying stress on pursuing foreign languages as a career and profession can do wonders for our country, and at the same providing us with innumerable job opportunities. To your surprise, you can apply for this course even after your 12th exams, without any eligibility criteria.

Various universities offer this as a part-time course also, and in order to simplify the academic curriculum and learning process, the courses are split into three levels:

First Level — Certificate Course
Second Level- Diploma Course
Third Level- Advance Diploma
You also opt for a Degree Course or an Integrated Graduate Course, both of which are being offered in various many Universities and Private Colleges—

  1. School of Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  2. University of Delhi, New Delhi
  3. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru Academy of Languages, New Delhi
  4. Japanese Information and Cultural Centre, New Delhi
  5. Ram Krishna Mission, Kolkata
  6. Alliance Francasie, located in 15 cities of India
  7. Rajasthan University, Jaipur
  8. Max Mueller Bhavan in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Chennai
  9. Pune University, Pune
  10. Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad
  11. Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce, Mumbai
  12. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

As I’d like to put it, after M.B.B.S you will be a doctor, after B.Com you will land up in the corporate world, after B. Tech you will be an engineer, but after pursuing a Foreign Language as your career option, you can be employed in the following areas:

  1. Academics
  2. Public and Private Companies in the post of a general translator
  3. Tourism
  4. Employment in Airlines in the post of air stewards or air hostesses
  5. Public Relations
  6. Hotel Industry
  7. Freelancing jobs can also be pursued by a person who is armed with a Diploma or a Degree Certificate in Foreign Languages.

But merely getting a job doesn’t ease one’s mental tension, and neither does being paid enough just manage two square meals a day. Job satisfaction and upward mobility in terms of the professional life is also an equally-important aspect. You would be astonished to know that Professionals working for PR or the Marketing Department of any MNC can earn Rs 30,000-50,000 per month. Teachers can earn salaries in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 a month.  Translators, on the other hand, receive Rs 250 to Rs 500 per page; and compensation depends a lot upon the proficiency in the language. Similarly, an interpreter who is paid on an hourly basis can earn Rs 2000 to Rs 4000 per hour, depending on their caliber and hard work.

Future growth prospects also vary from language to language. In the country, for working in the government and Public Sector, apart from major languages like French, German, Spanish, Japanese etc, but today, even smaller languages like Pashpio, Uzbek, Tajiks, Hebrew, and Portuguese etc are beginning to see a great demand in terms of linguistic professionals.

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