“I want to follow my passion”, I remember telling my parents 8 years ago, when I completed my secondary school examinations. And my passion was Humanities, a subject I always loved and which loved me back. I was never very fortunate with Science and Maths, always faring badly in every exam, much to the dismay of my parents.
My father, unsurprisingly, had noticed the maddening urge in me to pursue my discipline and always stood by my side. My mother, unconvinced at first, was happy to see me happy to pursue what I always wanted to do.
8 years later, where do I stand? I am doing History, a subject I love, and by freak chance, I landed up with the right subject at University – a subject that fit my personality. History is as volatile as me, it is as multi- faceted as I want it to be. Coming back to the eternal question – where do I stand?
Now, in this corporate world (lets just call it corporate, capitalism hasn’t really managed to do otherwise), what we are in dire need of, is development, in all directions. And I belong to India – which really needs an industrial model right now, given its longing drive for development in all sectors of the economy.
So, where do I stand? What can I say? After 8 years of studying Humanities, when I now apply for a job, everywhere I am asked the question – What skills do you have? How can you apply them to your job? I never thought about “inculcating” job- related skills back in college- I just diligently studied, as any other student along side me did. I scored good marks, I got into a good University for my Masters. But skills? Wasn’t that the forum of Engineering graduates, who are expected to have industrial skills?
The confusion and dichotomy that society has thrown me under, truly makes me doubt myself now. Education is not supposed to be a business – but then education which does not empower you to earn your bread and butter, isn’t really doing much for you, right? And for people like me, who do not wish to pursue a career in academics or the civil services – where do we fit in?
Jobs are limited – candidates are more. The Western world has saturated its need for Humanities graduates, and the East does not need them. India is looking for STEM graduates – Science, Technology, Engineering and Management graduates, who can “help build” the company and give it a new “direction”. So does this mean those who followed their passion are fools? Or incapable of building and constructing new ideas?
I don’t know. I honestly wish I did.
I remember harbouring a dream to pursue a singing career as a child but didn’t take it up, as the field seemed too risky. Now, when I look back, I realize I committed a mistake by not following my first passion. But, when I give it a thought, I wonder – what if success came to me very, very late? How long would I have lasted? It all boils down to a question of time. In an age when success is required early, especially to prove your mettle and worth- where do people who follow their passion stand? There are people who follow what they despise and finally take a U- turn to finally pursue what they always wanted to. But mostly, such people, whom I have encountered are engineers or management graduates, who have something to ‘fall back upon’, if they do not manage to ‘succeed’ in the “true-est” sense of the term.
There is a saying – a person who doesn’t fear, succeeds. But what about those people who have no fear, but fear, fear itself? It’s a hard world out there – and support is limited. It is easy to follow your passion, but very difficult to live it.
That does not mean one shouldn’t follow what they want to. I never regret my decision. I just wish the world was kinder. And there were some places which did not specify that only certain people have the necessary credentials for a particular kind of function. Those who follow their passion are winners, because they weren’t afraid to stand out. The day the world sees this, will be the day when no one will pigeon- hole themselves in ‘societal pressure’. I am looking for a utopia, but it is at least better than a harsh reality.
On this note, I would just like a share a video I recently saw of Ashoka University, where noted Modern Indian History scholar Rudrangshu Mukherjee talks about bridging the historical divide between education and “business” education. It is disagreeable in parts, but at least someone is talking about something we need to know! 🙂