When I was 7 yrs. old, I wanted to become a Policeman and save the people from the vices of the world. But the very next moment I saw a cockroach and got scared like hell and my cousins who were with me laughed at me marking the end of my dream to ever wear the starred khaki uniform.
When I was 14, Samrat, our cricket team captain, came up to me and asked me if I was interested in playing cricket for the school junior team. It was literally like a dream come true since, like any other Indian, even I had idolized the stalwarts of Indian cricket and wanted to be one too. I thought that this was just the ideal start for it. Couldn’t sleep that night and dreamt happily bout hitting centuries and guiding my team home to victories. But li’l did I know that even this dream was as short lived as the sleep I got that night.
When I was in my ninth grade, I joined the NCC. Thanks to it that I didn’t remain a shortie that I was till then! Trained hard for 9 months, sweated in the hot sun, screamed my throat off during the parades, withered the harsh Delhi winter and came back home looking as if I was a Nigerian. Then the thought came to my mind, how about being an Army Officer?? But alas, I was destined not be in J&K saving our borders but to be in Mangalore, Karnataka, writing this blog.
And in between I also aspire to be a cricket commentator, a pilot, an actor (which still somewhere probably I wanna be!) and so on…
But why am I talking about all this?
December, 2009: Released a super blockbuster, Aamir Khan Starrer, “3 Idiots”. It was an extraordinary movie with a very contemporary theme of “herd mentality” among today’s generation of students backed some truly powerful performances and amazing direction.
The movie spoke about how one should not just follow the crowd and instead should do something where one’s heart lies. It beautifully portrayed this with the lives of 3 friends and how 2 of them were literally forced into the college where they studied despite having interests elsewhere, just because it was a path where most of the people who walked on it eventually became “successful”. But during the course of their journey, the main protagonist of the movie throws light on how the whole system itself is flawed and it has just become a “rat-race” to say the least, without the students even realizing what they actually want to be in life and what do they need to do in order to achieve it.
The movie itself was a great lesson to all the parents – to allow and support their children in pursuing their dreams. It also was an encouragement for today’s youth to have the courage to speak up about their ambitions, fearlessly, no matter how wild and off-beat they are, and do anything and everything to achieve it. That is what ultimately happened in the movie where none of the three friends joined any MNC after their graduation despite it being every student’s ultimate aim in that college or rather the ultimate aim as per what was fed into their minds by their parents and society (even RajuRastogi (Sharman Joshi) who got through that interview, quit it later and took up a research job, publishing papers and journals relating to it). Farhan (R. Madhavan) went on to become a wild life photographer and Ranchhod das/phunsukwangdu (Aamir Khan) went on to open a school for the orphans in the beautiful valleys of J&K where he taught them pure sciences and focused on creativity and innovation rather than making them mug pots.
It was definitely an eye opener to the society and showed them the loop holes of the system that we are all an integral part of. It definitely opened mine. But what did I realize after I “opened my eyes”?
I realized that I too was a part of the same system which was mocked in the movie (yup I wanna become an MBA too despite having graduated as an engineer in Computer Science!), that I too was one of those thousands of other students who did their engineering just because it was the easiest way to get a good job and settle down in life without even taking some time out and asking myself what I actually want to be life. But as they say it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. So I began thinking, what I want to be life?? And it’s January, 2011 and I am still thinking what I want to be in life. An MBA? An actor? Cricket commentator? Policeman? Army person? MS in USA? Still as confused as I’ve always been in the past 23 yrs.
And during this period of realization I also realized few other things. First, that I am really not passionate about anything, for me to pursue a career in! Yes, I do love cricket, but I wouldn’t say am passionate about it. Yes I do love acting, (my frens curse me for always being in the “acting mode”, when sometimes am really not) but again I don’t feel that am really passionate about movies and acting either. Yes I am a Computer Science Engineer but just like 90% of the CS engineers, I too don’t wanna do an IT job for the rest of my life. I was beginning to wonder what have I been doing all these years and where do I want to see myself 10-20 yrs. hence. So I thought I‘ll ask a few people casually what they wanted to be in life. And then I had my second realization. They were as confused and clueless as I was if not more.
So what do people who do not have any real great passion or aspiration in life do? How does one find out what they want to see themselves as, in future, realistically? Do they wander all their life in search of it and in the deal ignore all the responsibilities they need to shoulder towards their parents and family, towards their nation? What is the right age to decide what u wanna do in life? 15? 17? When you are just out of school?? Are we actually so matured at that age that we can decide for ourselves what we wanna do in life?? I don’t think I was and I can safely assume that neither, the majority of the so called “herd” was. This led me to the third realization or rather a question in my mind. Is it right for us to be mocking the system??
Okay, now let us consider that everyone followed what was portrayed in the movie? Majority of the people would be without a job busy trying to find what they want to be in life and spend weeks, months and probably years in doing the same. What would have happened to those thousands of parents and families of such students? And especially in a country like India where the financial and societal problems of people are well known to everyone (like Raju’s family in the movie. Do they eat haired rotis throughout their lives??). What would have happen to the students themselves who would be feeling worthless and frustrated seeing their peers earn lakhs and crores whereas they would be still trying to find what they wanna do.
So what is the ultimate conclusion of all what I ve told till now? I think it’s not right for us to mock the system that exists no matter how many loopholes are there. Instead we should appreciate its very existence for providing so many jobs and “lighting so many homes” (as my dad always says) and making “unemployment” an obsolete political agenda for the politicians in most parts of the country. Instead we should all contribute and try to remove the loop holes out of the system and make it more transparent and merit based. And in the mean time we as individuals should continue dreaming and trying to find where our dream lays and what do we want to be. And so the confusion continues… wish I had time machine which would help me see what I would be in January, 2031. cricketer? Actor?Entrepreneur? Or still in Infosys Technologies Limited? Don’t you wanna see for yourself too???