My Parents Were Happy With My Debating Until I Chose It Over Engineering

Posted by Vivek Kumar in #BHL, Society
November 13, 2017
Editor's note: This post is a part of #BHL, a campaign by BBC Media Action and Youth Ki Awaaz to redefine and own the label of what a 'bigda hua ladka or ladki' really is. If you believe in making your own choices and smashing this stereotype, share your story.

It was in 2009, when I was thirteen, that I realised where my heart actually lies. I was no more interested in academics or sports. I was in love with debating and literature.

Everyone in and around my circle first appreciated me for my dedication towards debating and the hard work I put in it. My parents were the happiest among them, especially when I brought a certificate or a trophy home.

But soon my interest turned into a nightmare for my father. I had started becoming ‘bigda hua’. He was disappointed that I ignored any physical activity. He always insisted that I go to the field with the young boys of the colony. I chose to immerse myself in the words of Dickens and Khalid Hosseini.

My teachers too started complaining to my parents about my lack of interest in studies, but they were more worried about my inclination towards debating. By the time I was in Class XI, my class teacher stopped giving me leaves for the regional and national events.

Neighbours, friends, relatives – everybody suggested that I focus less on this non-conventional ‘hobby’, which, by then, I had started contemplating as a career option. I regularly browsed the internet and decided to pursue mass communication, believing that it would take me to a place where my interests lie.

But choosing a course of my own was not an easy journey for me. As soon as the results were declared, my father decided that I should wait for a year and prepare for an examination conducted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research for pursuing agriculture-science.

I acted against the wishes of my father and those of the society around me. I applied to many colleges offering a course in mass communication. Some colleges accepted my application, but fate played truant this time. My mark-sheet for the board examinations arrived late and I failed to take admission. I felt my father’s wishes would come true.

Soon, my father enrolled me in a coaching institute in Jamshedpur, where I started attending classes in which I was never interested. Struggling with the study-material and the packed schedule, I stopped visiting the coaching centre. I again immersed myself in books of literature. A complaint from the institute led my father to bring me back home.

I was scolded all the time. I was not allowed to buy any novels and chided for wasting my time. I was no more my Baba’s favorite son. I was more a ‘haath se chhoot chuka bigda ladka’ – as I overheard a neighbor say.

My introvert nature was also misunderstood. My father always insisted that I visit the park and interact with people, but I always preferred listening to music when I had spare time, which again disappointed my father.

After the gap-year was over, I opted for an integrated mass communication course at the Central University of Jharkhand. Although my father allowed me to join the course, he wasn’t happy about my ‘foolish’ decision. I was repeatedly compared to my siblings, who were pursuing engineering, which is considered to be a secure course. I was playing with my future, my father would comment.

It has been two and a half years in the university, and my parents are still doubtful about my ‘future’. I know their unconditional love for me has not reduced, but I wish I could convince them that no course in the world is useless if we learn it with full dedication.

It’s up to you to make the best use of your degree in building your career. I hope that my neighbour will understand some day that opting for a career option of your choice does not mean ‘bigad jaaana’.

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