So I never loved Mathematics, hated it all my life, I really sucked at it, this was one subject that plagued me all my life, as my formal education was coming to an end (Formal because education is a never ending process, always remember that Kids), my joy knew no bounds. Cut to stupid campus placements, Worries of parents and relatives, the fear of losing my girlfriend who was already employed for two years and social stigma of getting a good and secure job made me come into banking. Let me get this straight, here I was, a guy that hated Mathematics all his life, went into banking, into a job that uses maths as its basic framework supported by a plethora of rules and regulations. Luckily I am good with numbers and arithmetic, that made me a survivor and I am Robinson Crusoe of Banking, wrecked at a place I was not supposed to be but getting good with time, making this thing my own. What does this teach you, that life my friend is unpredictable, it can put you in places you are not supposed to be unless you carve your own path and not feel like an Eskimo in Sahara.
In our society, there are two futures prevalent for a kid, either to become a Doctor or an Engineer, that is it, end of choice for all the budding minds. It is not necessary to take up Science stream for higher studies if you are good at studies. It is a common misconception that students who perform well at studies are the ones who should go for science stream and the ones who don’t perform that well and so and so should go for Arts stream. The Logic here, Arts is for losers and simpletons and science is for the high flying club, the result is just like mine. There are about billion stories in this billion people strong nation, every other day, another regret of not going for the choice we should have gone when we had the chance.
Ours is the country which boasts of the oldest language known to mankind, one of the oldest civilizations to have thrived and the ancient hub for education. For god’s sake, we were the people who taught the World about education system and universities and today we barely feature amongst the top hundred institutions for education. I always had this question in my mind, what is the practical use of the endless formulas and theorems we were forced to memorize and jot down in examinations. What did it do in the real world; it didn’t even help me to open the lid of a pressure cooker when in need or to find a place in a map on the road. We have been reading the recycled matter that has been leftover by the British and has been constantly indianized over the time. I always loved literature, the prose, the poems and words dancing in my head before I spoke something, the languages of the world. Had I have chosen the Arts stream over Science, my life would have been a lot different and better than today, not that I don’t have a good life, I would have been more content and happy if I got to do what I love most in this world.
As children we try to emulate what we see, what we like, we try to be Doctors, Astronauts, police, Lawyers, Actors, Scientists and what not, imagine if you could do the same with your life. Why do we have favourites, why do we have best friends and why do we have hobbies, just apply that logic to life too. It is necessary to bend the social stigma of the same old formula of churning out Doctors and Engineers, if they don’t succeed in the entrance examinations put them in the available colleges. Today things are more refined for this farce to go on; a child is put up with coaching and tuitions from as early as class 6th or 7th to prepare for specialized studies for entrance examinations. He is taught the art of solving MCQ’s as soon as possible at a time when he could learn about a new language or the functioning of nuclear fission and fusion or the practices of fine arts like architecture or art, the list goes on.
Be a rebel, try to love what your heart asks you for not what your father hears from some friend of his to put you through, maybe he wishes and thinks of the best for you but unknowingly he may subject you to something you don’t want to go for in the first place. Don’t make that mistake, there are millions of students who are roaming aimlessly after completing studies, they were neither good at it nor could derive any use from it. Take it with a pinch of salt, what good is a Civil engineer if he doesn’t make a good bridge, what good is a surgeon if his parents paid top mullah for him to drag through all the classes in some med school, what good is an actor who doesn’t know anything about acting but has to face the camera because his father was a yesteryear Superstar. Look around you, the world is waiting, do you know where do you find Shiitake mushrooms, where Rafflessia flowers bloom, where can you find ostrich meat to eat, where is Krakatoa, more importantly what is Krakatoa known for, where Pripyat lies and why its remembered for?
The world around you is filled with interests and avenues you can jump on. What about kayaking, what about mountain climbing, what about nuclear or astrophysics, what about an author, what about a media person, what about a politician and what about a sportsperson. You can be anything you wish to be, you just need to have the gut to go for it and the courage to take that path and the ability to convince or coerce your parents to go down the path with you. Once you decide something, stick to it; don’t make a joke of yourself. It’s your life on the line of fire; you decide what path you want to go on. Even Charlie Chaplin would have stuttered once or twice before becoming a comedian, a comedian, come on, even Johnny Lever or Rajpal Yadav would have come to tinsel town wanting to be lead actors, let alone Charlie Chaplin, he was a stud, girls swooned over him yet he stuck to what he did best, he didn’t try to become James Dean. That’s why the world respects him, Imagine Sachin Tendulkar with a tennis racquet and Roger Federer with a cricket bat, doesn’t feel right, right?
Whatever you choose, choose it with both heart and brain, because listening to one is idiotic and other is logical, both are poles apart, just like life, what you want and what life gives you is a far cry from the requirement. Remember need and requirement are two different things and bridging that gap is your achievement. Take the road less travelled, don’t be the new Sachin Tendulkar, be the new Biswajit Hotta of cricket, carve your name into the minds and hearts of people alike. Create something extraordinary from the world weary of ordinary. Remember you are taking advice from a Banker who hates mathematics, the rest you figure out for yourself, you are the Y generation, just add a O to it and make it YO. I am quoting a very beautiful poem of Robert Frost to make you understand the importance of the road not taken, hope that piques some interest of you,
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was greasy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
2006 batch but made the leap in 2004.