I was channel-surfing as usual and stumbled upon the promos of the Konkona Sen Sharma-- Ranbir Kapoor starrer 'Wake Up Sid'. The first thought that crossed my mind isn't Konkona a little old for Ranbir? Nevertheless, it's a fantastic pairing and not only that but the film too seems promising with a coming-of-age storyline. It took me to the time when I had to make some pretty challenging decisions for my future.
After school, inevitably, a majority of school teachers and friends asked me, "So, what are you going to do next in your life?" When life at the time is aimless, relatively free of responsibilities with no rigid routine to follow, no cut-throat pressure to earn money, and all the time in the world to waste, answering that question can be nothing less than a harrowing experience and when you think of it with closed eyes, it's even more tormenting. The lesser said the better.
As I write this, 24 hours have passed since Independence Day and I can't help but think of personal independence and the ability to be liberated by your choices. Some people like me find their calling very early in life with ambitious dreams of being a journalist, pilot, lawyer, actor in their childhood, while others have to struggle a little longer before they can take the first step towards building a career path. But for the large majority of our population, their future, and their livelihood is chosen for them. In a rigid as well as flexible country like India, both typically and generally, you do what your father does. It's simple as that. But it is never that simple. I was fortunate to find my calling in life to become a crime-beat journalist (in the seventh grade, to be precise). Most of the time, it doesn't always work out as idealistically as that.
Here in India, a premium is put on sons; if you're blessed with a boy, then the boy will go on to make a fortune by making your name proud, whether you're a doctor, an engineer, a farmer or an architect. More often than not, there's very little choice in the matter for the child. Training, conditioning, and high expectations eventually result in the son following in the father's footsteps and the success of that depends entirely on how smart the person is, how much perseverance the person possesses, and how driven the individual is to build the foundations of his or her life. Yet sometimes, wedged in these traditions are the exceptional few who will support their children's choices, no matter what path it is that they choose.
My sister's doctor, Dr. Uma, is revered in the medical profession. She has a daughter who is trained in dance and music. Her daughter, Padmini, is a well-known dancer. One of the most remarkable things I found when in proximity with Dr. Uma was that within one family existed so many nurtured personalities. I'm sure every parent feels a certain level of anxiety when it comes to their child's future, and maybe it's easier to nudge (often impose) them towards a familiar territory, but what transpires out of that trust and support, out of that leap of faith that turned out well, is a risk every parent and every child must take.
This is India of today. As we stepped into our 62nd year of independence, this is one of the many things I ask you to be grateful for. Be grateful for the fact despite traditions and sentiments that can sometimes feel dated, we are never regimented. Despite parental and peer pressure, we are comparatively free than most of us claim to be. Freedom means choices, it means the successes and failures of your life are yours to make, and no one can strip either experience away from you. It means that you can educate yourself, and fight for your place on this bursting land of ours. It means you can make a mark, take a leap and solve your problem.
It means you can decide who you are and what your calling is. It just means nothing is unattainable, because everything is possible. There are two kinds of people in this world; leaders and followers, and today, the distinction has never been clearer. Setting goals is easy, and defiance as a stance is just not enough. What truly counts are the steps one takes, but before you can walk, first you'll have to wake up!!
P.S.: I just wanted to know whether if you would want me to share my short stories here on the blog. Whatever your answer is, please mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll surely think of publishing my short stories here.