The day after I obtained a rank in the medical entrance exams, my parents and my relatives had already charted out the next 50 years of my life. They had high hopes from me, as I had toiled for five long years. My mother would imagine me sitting in a clinic, treating patients. I soon went into my final year of compulsory internship. This was the time when I was supposed to plan the next three years for the Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) course – majoring in prosthodontics or oral surgery, perhaps. I saw my friends carry fat entrance exam question banks to their workplaces. I tried falling in line with them. I had passed the Bachelor of Dental Surgery, with a first class – mainly due to the constant ‘drilling’ on my brain, and of course, peer pressure! But I simply could not see myself breaking my head over ‘another’ three years in the field of dentistry!
Every relative, every neighbour, and every senior would tell me to start preparing for the MDS entrance exams. I tried that too. My inner voice seemed pissed with me. And one day, as I was peering into a child’s dentition, a bell suddenly rang in my head – “Five years have gone by – when the hell will you do what you wanted to do ? “
I informed my parents of this. As any other ambitious parent, who wanted me to do an MDS, they were shocked when I said – “I want to switch my profession to Creative writing.“
Jaws dropped – my relatives started calling in, advising my mother to ‘knock some sense’ into me .
There was constant debate over dinner, and over chai, as to what had gotten into me. Finally, after a lot of debating, my mother finally encouraged me to take up my ‘creative aspirations’ seriously. So I did my postgraduation in English Journalism. I got placed in media houses, I started doing news bulletins, I reported stories on road conditions, I did voice overs – and then finally realized what an idiot I had been in taking five long years to realize what I really wanted to do in life.
So, like many other science student grilled by their teachers in 12th standard, I unfortunately scored a 92 in Physics – and was waylaid by these idiotic CBSE numbers!
Many kids like me had this axe of science aimed at our necks. We were often told, “you will fail in life if you don’t take up science.”
But nowadays, much has changed. A girl in her 10th standard – my neighbour – says she is directly going to study Fashion Designing. I thought to myself – “Wow, if I had so much clarity in my 10th standard, it would have been amazing.”
But it’s better late than never. Even though there is now a whole new set of struggles now – over jobs, locations, office politics, late shifts and what not – these struggles are mine, because I chose them. Life is full of hardships – it pushes us to choose what kind of hardships we are willing to suffer and those we should avoid.
No! Science is not everybody’s interest. Everybody is different. Let us not stereotype the paths to success. Be a farmer, be a designer – be whatever – as long as you love it!