Indian parents live in horror of their offspring becoming a talking point in the community. As a result everyone is brainwashed into conforming. You can be anything but different. Boring is the bye word. Boring is good. Boring does not attract attention. God forbid that any one should have different ideas about career goals and paths. There are scores of kids finishing school around this time of the year and choosing, not because that is what interest them, to do Engineering (the old favourite), Medicine, Law (which is kind of acceptable now days), Commerce and Management. And parents love to talk about their children in secure government or bank jobs.
It is unheard of for someone to get 95% marks and choose to become a farmer. Why is that? Doesn’t farming require skills or brains or technical aptitude? Are agricultural colleges for layabouts? What if someone with 95% wants to become an artist? Is that a waste of their capabilities or their earning potential? After all it is all about making more and more money. How much we earn defines us in modern, consumerist society. Even pure sciences or humanities are considered to be wasteful degrees. What would the neighbours say? The young person’s stock in the marriage market would plummet. It would become more challenging for the parents to find suitable alliances.
PS: Despite everything, we find young people these days have less of a need to conform and are willing to let the relatives say whatever they like. We were overjoyed to read last week about the engineer who now goes around planting forests as a profession. What a weird, wonderful and different job to do.
LL: I wish I had the 1000 square feet of land required for him to plant for me a maintenance free mini forest! We also hear about the lawyers turned bakers, restaurateurs and ‘candid’ wedding photographers.
PS: There are the young girls who set up companies for adventure tourism because their own interests lie in mountaineering and trekking. Or become yoga gurus.
LL: Bakeries for pets, dog whisperers and groomers no longer invite quizzical looks that they may have five years ago.
PS: Personally speaking I would be very happy to have a dog whisperer come along and whisper good behaviour into the dog.
LL: Even the people running food trucks or story tellers are not so unexpected. Although the story teller concept is fascinating but I don’t think they can do that exclusively as it would hardly be sustaining.
PS: I think most of them have probably already made their money or don’t have to worry about it much and can do the things they like instead.
LL: I wonder how much of it is it because they enjoy the new profession rather than because they want to shock someone?
PS: You mean like the automobile engineer turned celebrity photographer who says it is his stepping stone to becoming someone truly influential? It’s still more interesting than a drab desk job, whatever the reason.
LL: Well there are the lawyers who write fiction and blog. That is interesting isn’t it? But there are any number of writers who say that they were often told to get a ‘real job’.
PS: I totally loved the idea of the professional pencil sharpener. I could do that. What satisfying work!