Monday, September 03, 2007

I am not an engineer...

I am not an engineer...and no, I am not a doctor either. Nor am I in the IT industry. In fact, I have nothing to do with computers, except when I blog, browse or check my mail. "Then what the hell do you do in life?", I hear many of you asking. This question has been hurled at me a million times over the last seven years, when I chose to do a BA in History after managing to secure 84% on my Class 12 CBSE Board Exam. I can almost hear my readers exclaiming, "History? Why? Did you not get admission anywhere else?" Don't worry. I won't take offence. I am used to that question by now. This is why I could relate to this article on Rediff. I was checking out my friend, Nita's blog, after a long time. And I found a link to this. I could relate to it so well that I could not resist posting on it.

To be truthful, even my parents had no idea I was going to do so well in life. I am pretty sure my mother let me do what I wanted to because she knew there was no point in forcing me to do engineering. I have never been a great fan of the hard sciences. Small wonder then, that just Class 12 was a nightmare I never want to relive again. In fact, my nemesis has always been mathematics. As the author of the article mentioned above recounts, many mothers have asked me what I intend to do with my life with my dislike for the subject. In fact, one of them even went to the extent of offering to coach me for free so that I could try and catch up with her daughter's marks in the subject. It was depressing. At one point, I was convinced that my dislike for mathematics would only ruin my life. Only my parents' reassurances and my own self-confidence stopped me from becoming a manic depressive. Today, when I read that article, it reminded me of Dad's words after a particularly nasty meeting with my teachers. The meeting took place a few days after the school's annual day celebration during which I had got a prize for attending school without a day's absence. My school decided that such regularity in attendance was commendable. I got off the dais feeling extremely happy about the event, when my Math teacher stopped me and said, "Enjoy this occasion while you can. It is not as if you are ever going to get prizes for anything else in your life." I came home and cried. Then followed the meeting where the said teacher told my mother that she should think of getting me married off at the age of 18 as I was not going to get admission into any college anyway. I came home shattered. I remember what Dad told me then. He said, "Every person has some talent that remains hidden. I would rather my daughter be an excellent lawyer than a mediocre engineer. Do what interests you most. And you will do well." I have not forgotten that lesson to this day. I have always done what interests me most.

To some, it may sound like sheer madness to do a Bachelor's degree in History, a Masters in French literature and a second one on International Affairs. But, I have not regretted any of those choices to this day. I love my work. I enjoy what I do. That is all that matters today. As the author of the Rediff article says, I am happy and can sleep peacefully at night. Money, fame and everything else will come with time. I will say just this to any parent who is reading this post. Let your children do what they like best. Don't force your children into becoming mediocre doctors and engineers just because your neighbour's son is doing so. Trust me, you won't regret the decision.

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