An Appeal To Be Different: To A Father, From A Son

Posted on October 24, 2011 in Alternative Careers

Dear Papa,

People often ask me that why a person of my intelligence, my caliber would want to ‘waste’ his life by taking a course such as Philosophy or Sociology or Political Science. I don’t blame them. They are groomed in an environment where they are taught that making a decent living by working in the ‘accepted’ mainstream (engineering, medicine) is the highest honor they can achieve in life. I answer them that my choice is not wasting my life. I say its my single moment of madness. I have only one life and I wouldn’t want to waste it. The reason and the whole point of taking a course such as Philosophy, Sociology or Political Science is because it teaches you how to think boldly. It helps you to understand people in a better way and take your thinking to a level where no one has been ever before. And I think that is something which is practical. It is of some use in life. I mean-well, the whole point of us getting educated is to be a better person. The whole point of us getting educated is a magical word-Change. We have to bring change. We have to change this society for good. We have to change how people think and live. Yet when we try to change those things, we are met with stiff resistance. “Its not possible.” “Its not gonna happen.” “Are you crazy?” “Cmon! You re out of your mind!”



Majority of people will want to blend in or mix with the tide and flow accordingly. But I won’t. That should not mean that I am rebellious and recalcitrant. I don’t want to spend my entire life sitting in a cabin, doing some job or the other for a company, which I even don’t know whether is making poor poorer and the rich more richer. And maybe I am sharing some part in that crime. Maybe the salary which I am getting is coming to me after it is sucked or exploited out of a person or a farmer who is in a worse condition than I am in. To whom even a one rupee coin matters. To whom getting a meal two times a day is an accomplishment. What grudge do I have against that person? Why should I rob him of his money?

100 years from now, nobody is gonna ask my children or grandchildren whether I was an engineer or a manager or a banker or whether I graduated from the IIT or IIM. No. But they are gonna ask my children or grandchildren a simple question. What did I do to make this world a better place to live in? What did I do for the progress of this country? And I don’t want my children to remain silent.

Maybe today, by opting for a course such as Political Science, I am making my life tougher and my future bleak. Maybe tomorrow my friends will roam about in a car and I would be riding a bicycle. I will still be doing some good to my country though (by reducing carbon emissions you see). Maybe in future, my friends will boast of an eight figure salary and I will be earning just enough to feed my family three times a day and to cover their bodies with simple clothes. But the truth will not change. I will be happy, because I did what my heart told me to do. I chose the path that I wanted to walk on. My life was of my own making. Nobody forced me to it. I would be better off than my friends. Maybe someone out of them wanted to be a painter, an artist, a sailor or a drummer even. But they were afraid. Afraid of raising their voice. Maybe their knees buckled to the pressure and challenge that this life threw at them. And maybe those who tried to raise their voice got it stifled by the mob surrounding them. And somewhere down in a corner of their heart, they would be discontented, unhappy and even jealous to see me living and doing what I love to do!

By doing something different and by living my life successfully the way I chose it, I would be doing justice to myself. By leading such a life, I would be doing justice to my education. I would be making sure that my father didn’t spend his money on something useless. I will be making sure that I made a difference to this society. And in the way, if I managed to change the life of someone else by my thoughts, my actions, my behaviour or my madness – wouldn’t I be doing a service to this nation?

With Love,
Your Son