“Barray ho kar kia bano ge?” is the one question we desi kids are asked at EVERY family daawat from the day we utter our first words!
And around 80 percent of us usually tell the adults looking at us (with wide expectant smiles on their faces, mind you) that we’d like to become a teacher, a doctor or a pilot because that’s what we hear from them; that’s what they want us to become and hence, that’s what we think we want to become.
But as we grow up – meet new people, explore our talents and evolve as human beings, we learn something about ourselves and the world around us every day; and, most of all we realise how unimportant it is to worry about whether people are happy with our choices or not. We realise that the only thing that really matters is our own happiness and that we pursue our dreams with all we have. And when we give it our all…that’s when we rise above the mediocre mindset. We find ourselves enjoying things we never thought we would and those are exactly the things we SHOULD do for the rest of our lives – the things we don’t feel compelled to do and the things which help us GROW!
Like many kids, I too was obsessed with the idea of becoming a teacher till around 10 years of age, without really knowing anything about what the job entails. The only thing I knew was a) everyone really respected teachers and my mom would be really proud of me if I became one; and, b) all my friends really wanted to become teachers too so it must be the ‘cool’ thing to be. But as I grew older, I realised that there were a few other things that fascinated me and drew me towards them.
I never enjoyed Math or Science in school and college. In fact I hated these two subjects with every drop of blood in my body (still do!). And so, it was very clear to me that I couldn’t opt for a field that had even a pinch of either subject. Luckily my parents were well aware of this and rather than sending me to tuition after tuition or pressurising me to get better at something that was just NOT my strength, they let me decide what I wanted to do. When I was in Grade 10, I took some art classes in summer – simply because I had nothing else to do. I learnt how to sketch and paint and for the first time in my life, learning something actually made me happy! Long after summer was over, I would often find myself happily doodling and sketching and soon I started taking out time every week from my busy school schedule to draw and paint. The amount of peace art brought to my life amazed me and that’s how I found my passion.
No one in my immediate family was studying or had studied textile or fashion design so I asked a friend’s sister who was then in her final year of fashion design for some tips and input. She told me how tough the last three years of design school had been for her and even though I think she tried her best to convince me that it wasn’t easy, there was no stopping me by then. I was so focused and so confident in my career choice that when I think about it now, honestly, it makes me feel extremely proud of myself.
After all, what is easy in life? And is easy ever fun?
I wanted to do something I enjoyed with all my heart. I wanted to do something that challenged me. And I’m glad I chose the perfect career for myself.
When I told my parents, my mom was more than excited for me to go ahead with it but my father was a tad hesitant. He asked me multiple times to think about it and urged me not to rush into it. In fact, he even told me not to opt for fashion design but to choose something easier. But as much as I respected his opinion and knew that he was only thinking of my betterment, I just knew that this was my calling and so I went ahead with it.
Thankfully, my first semester results came out and my hard work and dedication shined through. I could see how proud both my parents were of me!
Sometimes the voices in our head make us believe we can’t do something out of the ordinary because “loag kiya kaheinge”. But it’s up to us whether we listen to these voices or turn a deaf ear towards them. Whether you want to be a doctor, pilot, engineer, designer or a chef, it should be YOUR choice and nobody else’s. And once you figure out what you enjoy doing the most, you should just stay focused on it, no matter what. People will tell you that you can’t do something because it is difficult but don’t listen to them IF you trust your decision wholeheartedly.
And don’t worry about failing. Failure is part of the game. Has there ever been a time when you fell down and didn’t get up? No, right? Then, what are the chances you can’t work hard and improve, if it’s something you love with all your heart? My advice to every student reading this is that you should never NOT do something because you think people won’t approve of it. Do EVERTYHING you can do to achieve your dream if you have one.
And to every parent reading this, you are the only ones whose opinions SHOULD matter in your child’s career-making decisions. So, in case you don’t approve of their choices, please guide them thoroughly, teach them what’s right or wrong and above all try to understand their passion and NEVER pressurise them into doing something they might never enjoy.
Life is too short to settle and compromise, let them chase their dreams!