I like when an article begins with expounding the incident that had given birth to it. Following this liking, let me too start with what prompted this piece of writing you are now reading. In the footsteps of passionate writers I too began a blog and copy-pasted the contents of all my desktop word docs onto my blog page. I then edited and re-edited the look of my blog utilising the myriad features provided by this amazing site, as I am quite anal about how things look. Once I was all set up and had even posted the link to my site on my facebook wall, hit me the thought that I hadn’t done any new writing for quite some time – except of course the book I am working on – which is going on and on and on forever (I am not being unsympathetic or numb towards my book, just saying.) So with the thought that I must do some new writing for my new blog jumping restlessly at the back of my head I was scrolling down the home page of my facebook account (which I love doing) I came across this post by my junior saying how happy he would be if given the chance to undo his decision of having taken up engineering. That’s the spark I needed to spring up a topic and start writing.
Let me begin this work by flashing a disclaimer card. I find myself using disclaimers a lot nowadays. Is it because my works are increasingly targeted at mainstream people and culture? Or I am simply getting paranoid? I must muse about this sometime. Well, the disclaimer I sought to put is this: ‘This is not to offend anyone or any idea that is being followed by the masses. This is purely a writer’s observation intended to enrich and educate the reader rather than to sting and mock him. See this as the work of an innocent, well-wishing mind.’
With the two paragraphs of a decent introduction and a necessary precaution over, I will finally get onto what I wanted to write. Of passion and pressure. I took up engineering in the year 2012 precisely because I wanted to become someone different, someone other than an engineer. You think I am box? Wait a minute. Statistics goes on to say an engineering degree unfailingly gets you a good, secure job (irrespective of your branch of study, of course). So yeah, to become someone different – which is taking a risk, a leap of faith – I wanted a strong, ready-to-fall-on backup. This is why I took up engineering.
I got hold of an interesting analogy while structuring this blog in my mind today morning. It is like getting married to someone while being in love with someone else. But the problem with this situation is that the girl I am married to, by the name Engineering, is being very devoted to me – she gets me decent grades, seduces me with awards of excellence and so on and so forth – to lure me into our marriage and to make me a faithful husband. This I naturally don’t want to be as I am in love with someone else, named filmmaking. However, this someone else – the girl of my dreams – is very adamant and strong headed. I am not simply able to attain her. However hard I pursue her with firm perseverance and loads of hope and love, she is rarely turning my side to give a look. Maybe that is why someone came up with the expression ‘chasing your dream’.
As my hope of becoming a film maker is only renewing itself every day without getting to realise what it stands for, I am feeling guiltier of not being faithful to engineering. Even if I try to listen in class and take notes, just a fleeting thought or even a whisper from two benches behind me is seemingly enough to upset my conviction and waylay my volatile mind. This is me. In love with filmmaking, writing and creating (art basically), while married to as dumb a field like engineering (a subjective opinion) that has no charms but only boring derivations that are surely not going to help you or me in practical life. I have a stronger reason to dislike my wife so much (Please don’t think of me as an insatiable amorous person fallen into the ocean of infidelity – I am not.) It is because I am not able to understand her completely. There has always been an impenetrable fortification, a literal firewall, between me and science. If I rejoice at having understood a concept then my brain invariably comes up with a deeper point that I am not able to comprehend. Even Google can help you only so much. I don’t know if I am getting my point across. But see, say in a transport phenomena derivation (that I am currently taking a break from) you make a step assuming something – as is always the case – you then have to understand the assumption, right? At least my mind will not rest until I understand all the trivia concerned. So when I approach my dear professor he tells me it is beyond our grasp and that it will only feature in our M.Tech books. In a sweet tone he asks me not to bother myself with all such small details. That’s what I hate. Maybe it is the system that has developed in me the profound aversion that I now harbour for my wife; I don’t know. She is baffling; confusing; she is a riddle I want to solve, but I am only perpetually running for the answer. The weariness and exhaustion has made me pause and run away from her after all. My passion is different. My lady love is someone else.
This is me. Let me now concentrate on the inhabitants of my little world.
These people, my friends and other persons I know closely, live harmoniously with their wives. They don’t face problems or don’t undergo familial feuds as, I observe, they don’t try to understand their consorts. Or maybe they haven’t found their real love. That is, they want to be good engineers. But the problem in this case is that they want to be faithful husbands without loving their wives – they just want to be dutiful with no love and passion. They are living under the pressure to stay happy.
My close neighbours in my class are all going for GRE classes, taking the GRE test once, twice and some even thrice to get a good score so as to get admitted into a good grad school. What I feel disconcerted at is the fact that they are not even interested in their B.Tech – at least to the extent I have observed. Some shrink at the mere mention of exams and some cringe when teachers ask to submit assignments. They are not studying passionately. And the good students I know in my class are good students because they study well for either the sake of ameliorating their family or to attain the prestigious scholarships (I say prestigious because people see these scholarships as not awards of excellence but as awards of prestige – if they miss it one year by say a grade or two, they go home and shed tears and make strong resolutions to attain the same somehow the next academic year.) I have never seen anybody take out a transport phenomena book or a thermodynamics book and go through the chapters in break periods or during the arduous bus trips to and fro college (They do, only if the next day poses the threat called ‘Unit Test’.) No one studies passionately or for the sake of gaining knowledge like Aamir khan of 3 idiots or Vijay of Nanban – which ever you like. It is just marks or something else that motivates them to take the book. Now to those of you who come running at me to justify yourselves, please stop in your tracks. And think. Your very first point may well be the education system in our beloved country. But is that even a valid reason to cringe when the teacher mentions assignments? You may fail at your exams due to mental pressure. This you can attribute to the system. But even not getting the thought to sit alone with a subject book? You can’t blame the system for that. It is just that you don’t get the disposition to sit and study on your own. Many of you may as well think it is a fault or lack of something on your side and try to hide it when you come arguing. No it is not. Relax. You are only destined for something else. You are destined to love a different person. You don’t see that and remain complacent with the one you are married to. I commiserate.
To those of you preparing hard for GRE, do you seriously want to pursue higher education or do some research or is it because your best friend is going to America and you can’t bear to sit in your house doing something you like. Please put this question to yourself again and again. Realise. Once my close friend preparing for GRE told me he wouldn’t have been doing all this had he stayed at the college he initially got placed at – a quite off-the-rank-list college where no one does GRE but only try to find an employment. So mostly the answer is this: peer pressure. You are doing this because he is doing it; you are doing that because she is also doing that, and you don’t want to be left out. Due to all such people who throng the embassy offices at three in the morning this has become a ritual. It has become a cultural stereotype; a pop-culture. Come out if you are not for it, for god sake! Follow your heart. Think of where your passion lies. Go pursue her. Follow her every day, every night. Do all you can to make her stop and give you that curious look. Fall madly in love, head over heels. As someone said, you should expect the Monday rather than detesting it; you should wait to go to work, not cringe at the mere suggestion of it. All the best!