Tuesday, June 07, 2005

:: The road not taken ::

It was that time of the year again, Nanajii and Naniji were coming home to spend New Year’s with us. And on their traditional welcoming dinner, the line of conversation would invariably follow the subsequent path.

Nanaji : Hanji Beta, So what do you plan to become when you grow up?

Invariably, my answer to that question would change with every visit of theirs, and the conversation would customarily end with my Naniji’s recollection..

Naniji : Aapko malum hain beta, Terey papa ney, issey kursi mein das saal key honein mein bhola , Mein engineer banoonga ! (Do you know my son, your father at the tender age of ten, sat in this very chair and said, “I will become an engineer”)

My life though, could never be that simple. For instance, I remember at the age of 10, I was totally taken up by, one of them law oriented sitcoms, that at our customary annual dinner, I proclaimed full of conviction, “Mein lawyer banoonga !” (I will become a lawyer!)

This obviously changed the following year, when I found out that the law so depicted in those law oriented sitcoms was mostly sitcom, and very little law. I then endeavored, on being selected to the school editorial board, that I now had approved potential in writing, and would become a fine journalist.

So, the following year there I was proclaiming, after the by now customary precursory questions, “Mein journalist banoonga!” (I will become a journalist!)

By now, bets were being taken as to what profession, I would endeavor to take up every passing year, and when I finally reached the hallowed 10th standard, I reckoned, that I would finally have to make a choice between the illuminating scientific world, and the more realistic business one.

This time, at the Annual dinner, the interrogation took on a more simplistic route. “ Kya Aapko maths nahin pasand hai” ( Why, You don’t like maths? ). When I replied, that No, I did’nt particularly dislike it. , “Phir Aap Science lo” (“Then you must take science”). And until then, I thought that it would the most difficult decision of my life. Decision making is easy isn’t it, more so when it’s being taken by someone else.

The years passed, and at the 12th grade I took the most obvious step up which was to choose engineering. The 4 years went by in engineering, and very soon it became increasingly evident that I would never like engineering, more so programming.

The problem with both of them was that I never could see any relevance to them in our day to day world. Studying about Mr Lagrange’s theorem or why some functions cannot be implicitly called, really had no bearing on life, the way I understood it.

During the same period, almost like the forbidden fruit effect, I became increasingly captivated by the financial world and the world of stocks and investments. That light brown daily soon became my favorite morning companion, and for the first time in a long time, I actually had a fair idea and grasp of what I was reading about.

As for my engineering, I did what most people in my place would do, struggle through the quantative papers, and gab my way through the theoretical ones. Except for the last year, when we finally had some management papers, my regular routine would be to mug up derivations and other formulae, not understanding even an iota of them and simply spill it out in the paper the following day.

Would it be based on this, that I would be forming my career, for the rest of my days? Was I learning anything, and more importantly “Was I enjoying it?”

With the age old maxim, ” You can only succeed in something, If you enjoy it” , in my mind, I quickly made up my mind and told my parents, that I was going to stay as far away from engineering , as I could.

“If you don’t like engineering, Why did you choose it in the first place, and How can you take up a job in any other sector without any previous experience?”, The barrage of questions, would never end, but fortuitously for me, someone spotted a quick gab and a passion for most things non engineering in me, and offered me a respectable managerial position with one of India’s largest financial houses.

So to all of you who see a little bit of yourselves in me, This is what you must tell your dad, When he asks you, Why you want to say, become a skydiver or say a voyeuristic film maker after enduring 4 years of engineering. “ I am playing to my strengths Pa , The sooner I pursue my interests, the sooner I will start enjoying it, and the sooner I will have embarked on a career I have the best chance of succeeding at . Any interest can be made a career out of today and very often it is not where I start or where I might finish that matters but how much I enjoy the journey”

The older generation has been known to be fond of poetry as well, so you can conclude your little speech like this.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,


And I,
I took the one less traveled by,


And that might make all the difference”


Sisto said...

i warn you - people might start commenting and saying that you're writing non-sudhirish posts!!

"I am playing to my strengths Pa , The sooner I pursue my interests, the sooner I will start enjoying it, and the sooner I will have embarked on a career I have the best chance of succeeding at . Any interest can be made a career out of today and very often it is not where I start or where I might finish that matters but how much I enjoy the journey"

very well said and good post dude ... but funnily serious? i fail to see the funny side.

Anonymous said...

"...it is not where I start or where I might finish that matters but how much I enjoy the journey"

Loved that !

great writing chewy!


Sudhir said...

Funnily enough, I have written a serious post pisto!, I expected u off all people to get that.

By the way this post was inspired by your "Paper Aeroplane" post...:-

Sudhir said...

Thank you priyanka, and remember "You are invited", to blog in more often.

Viddy well!

karan said...

Whats happening to the world. seriously? Sisto's airplane shocked me enough, amd now this? lol
well written anyway.. and i'm sure your role models moses and malya will be very proud of "the roads you've taken"

Sisto said...


funnily enough i got ... i was talking about the personalised mails you send out announcing blog updates. that said FUNNILY SERIOUS in the subject line. hence the question.

funnily serious again can be interpreted as a combination of funny and serious ... or it could mean this post is serious, and you may find that funny. i chose the former interpretation. darn someone should post on multiple interpretations!

pr@$#@nt# said...

Good post dude, atleast u have chosen the path that u like...I still dont know what i wanna do with my life.
I think i ll become a golfer!!

Sudhir said...

" The problem with you peelu, Is that you are very brave in the night"

Secondly, "There have been, so many instances where I have been left alone, I never complained , why should you complain"

Thirdly, " Even I was feeling the same way, But I didnt want to tell you guys"

Taking everything into account, and since you are a pub kind of guy, we think you should start your own night club!, You could name it "seven", and it can offer mini golf as well. :-

Anonymous said...

Good one sudhir!!Still waiting for "quick gun murugan".....

Anonymous said...

Yup it is gud stuff, some great serious content from u Mr.Syal, giving people like minded people some food for thot!...

well i liked and enjoyed like the rest of ur posts...

guess ur busy nowadays with ur work..all the best


Siddhu said...

I loved this post! Particularly the ending! :)

And don't listen to Sisto. (And no, Sisto, don't, please don't write another flight simulator ;))

pr@$#@nt# said...

Thanks for the wonderful suggestion da, also the phone no. of the pub is gonna be 17.. I got one of the early ones;-)

Sudhir said...

Im guessing the anonymous is Mr.Fandu.

The one about Quick gun Murugan, and Water Pistol webulgam, will be out soon

Sudhir said...

Thank you, Mr.Singh and we have all enjoyed yr comments, on the blogosphere. Hight time, You started a blog, I say...and joined the bandwagon :-

P said...

I loved that post. Kinda how I am feeling now. 4 years of engineering has just passed by ( din't hate it ) but I know that this is NOT my future. So I am gonna search and search till I strike gold!

Looks like you have! Will add ya to my buddies list :)

Kp said...

i realised that all my commments so far have been more or less complimentary....so i jus spent the last 10 mins thinking of something critical...
...but honestly there isnt much to criticize!!
dont let it get to your head though...
..great post..very relevant and might prove to be useful to all those indecisive PUC graduates..!!
its time indians shine in the fields less opted for....
keep impressing us...

Sudhir said...

...but honestly there isnt much to criticize!!

kp, I think yr taking the meaning of "comments" too literally. Yr doin yr job well, considering that yr planning to start one when u get to pune. You will then realize that "Blogcommentin" is a mutually beneficial exercise.

Sudhir said...

Thanks Prashanth...But most times you never really strike GOLD. Just progressive shades of it. Well, unless u join a Multi level marketing enterprise ofcourse..:-

Vinod said...

I just realized after reading all the comments that out of all the engineering students, alomost none of them want to have anything to do with a job in the engineering line if they can help it... So why all the fuss about engineering seats? I think something should be done about this...

valsala menon said...

hi sudhir ,valsala here. i enjoyed reading your articles. wow! just great..you really have a flair for writing...ahem..now you have two ardent fans in niranjana and me...she's my daughter,she wants to talk to you aome day ...and even meet you too. keep up the good work and all the best.