I Want To Be A Journalist, But My Parents Want An Engineer

Posted by Diptanil Das in Careers
March 16, 2017

If you are reading this, ask yourself, “Do I have a dream?” A dream, not that which you have every night, but that which keeps you motivated and pushes you to cross all your limits to get your desired achievements. So, have you got a dream yet?

If not, then find one and push yourself beyond your limits. People will discourage you, but don’t listen to them. You are not living for them, you’re living for yourself. By the time you finish reading this, I urge you to find your dream and make yourself an example for the people who want to dream big.

I had a dream, I have a dream and I won’t stop dreaming it till I wake up to see that it is real.

Have you ever imagined how tough it is for a bird that is trapped and not allowed to fly? Have you ever thought of how hard it is for a plant to see its flower being plucked even before it could bloom, well that’s when you need to take a glimpse at the lives of Indian students. This article is not a work of fiction or something made up just before the night of submission. I have been through such situations, I know how it feels when you are denied of the dreams you had.

student studying.India and its education have been booming in this century, no doubt. The education sector and human resource development in India has been quite significant, with its literacy rate going up, and the number of educated people are significantly higher than previous census. But still, when it comes to career options, people are left with nothing to choose between other than being a doctor or an engineer. A family in India has no value if it hasn’t produced a doctor or an engineer.

It sounds definitely logical about focussing on real life jobs, but in this process you have no idea how many dreams, artists and creative minds are being murdered because there is this one lurking evil in society, “Log Kya Kahenge (What will the people say).” I, being an engineering student, have faced that.

Debate, extempore, writing and travelling have always been my preferences, and hence, I wanted to be a journalist. The moment I broke this news to my parents, the first reply that came from them was, “Log kya kahenge (What will the people say)?” Obviously my father, a teacher, couldn’t imagine that his son will not do engineering or medical studies! That might have hurt his ego, as his friends have children pursuing these courses.

Journalism isn’t a part of mainstream careers in India, and my parents, like every other over protective and over concerned parents, couldn’t let their son move away from the traditional jobs. It was a different matter that their son’s talents and dreams weren’t important to them and what people were going to talk about them, mattered the most. I don’t wish to disrespect anybody through this article, especially my parents. What I want to portray is the harsh truth of our society that doesn’t let most of the children, with unconventional dreams and goals, choose their path and career.

If you take anybody from the crowd and tell them about your problems, the suggestion that they would offer would be to talk to your parents. But what if the parents don’t listen? Most of the time, they don’t. They didn’t even in my case. Perhaps the root of this misunderstanding is communication problem. Most of the times, parents don’t listen to understand, they listen to reply.

What they (the parents) really need to understand is that when their children reach the stage of choosing their career, they are adults, they know their strong points, their interests and they have a definite career path planned. They are no more children that they will end up making a wrong decision. That is where we need to break another stereotype, “Parents are always right.” In fact, there are many times when parents are not right. It’s just the fact that they are superior and elder to us that makes us believe that they are right.

A student overwhelmed by the books that she has to read.
Photo credits: Flickr/CollegeDefrees360

For all those people who have been academically average or good, people have only one occupation in mind, engineering. Unfortunately or fortunately, I cracked the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and ended up in an elite institution like National Institute of Technology (NIT). Now I had my mother and father’s stubborn denial of letting me study journalism in my mind, so joined NIT with the hope that someday life would be easier.

In India if we are good at something then we usually do it after engineering. A lot of my relatives, who came to know about my dream, or my urge to pursue journalism, came over and said, “Yaar, tune toh ek engineering ki seat waste kar di (You wasted a seat in an engineering college).” Now, had I done an MBA, or joined the civil services, none of them would’ve said that, even though MBA and UPSC is nowhere related to engineering. But, when it comes to choosing some profession which a lot of people don’t, that is when you waste a seat of engineering!

The fact that these unconventional professions are looked down upon or have a different image, is that people and their perception of a person having a different set of talents, needs to be changed. Not all of us learnt that A stands for apple in kindergarten. Some learned that A also stands for ant or for an aeroplane. Even for the people who had apple on their minds, some could have imagined a red apple, some green and some may have had a geometrical figure in their brains.

Every child is different. Not everybody is suited for being an engineer or a doctor. Parents need to understand their children’s interests, their dreams and most importantly, what their child is best at. My parents were no exception from this typical stereotype. They know what I can do, what I am good at, and what I want to be. It’s just that their brains are layered by the conventional society and its various stereotypes, which they, even though being well educated individuals, couldn’t get rid of!
This is just a pinch of the modern day scenario that I can give in these few words.

What about me?

Well, I still haven’t left the idea of being a journalist. Perhaps I’ll kick-start a little later, but I will for sure. For all those people who have an unconventional dream, if they (the people) call you mad, if they taunt you, if they don’t like you, don’t be disheartened. They do so only because you belong to a species called “different”. It’s the different people who make a difference!


Photo Credits: Flickr/Gobal Panorama