The Irony of Alternate Paths in India !

The rat race never ceases to end. You work hard in the 10th standard to get 'top of the class' marks for your board exams. Why ? So you can choose whichever group you so wish in the 11th standard. Okay to be honest, there's only Engineering so 1st group, Medicine so 2nd group and the others - the ones who do not get 'top of the class' marks. Now even if you want to do Humanities, the truth is there is a stigma attached to it. And art, well, I don't even want to elaborate. After engineering or commerce, go for coaching and crack the CAT, do your MBA and you're set for life, almost. Then you slog away more hours to get that priced promotion and fat pay cheques. Yup ! That's pretty much the system. ( I have my own opinion about the relevance of the MBA, maybe another post )


You are forever working hard, from 10th to 12th to Bachelors to Masters, and even in your own job, the rat race never stops.

Okay, so what about that one student who tried for
NIFT ? ( am sure she didn't get through CAT ) or that other guy who went for a small animation course ? ( am sure he didn't even complete his engineering !! ) or that person who just started baking cakes and actually enjoyed it ? ( baking ? is that even a career ? ) or the one who became a professional photographer ? ( kyun corporate job nahi mila ?? ) What about the person who started penning down thoughts in his blog and decided to become a full time blogger ? ( what is a blogger ? is that even a job ? ) What about becoming a stand up comedian ? ( be ready for no pay, okay ? sirf joote milenge ) Wait, Architecture seems respectable. What about that ? ( I am sure she couldn't crack the AIEEE and got a bad rank ) Okay, I have run out of other options. Vet ? ( Oh please ! )

But what is worse ? A lot of students finish 12th standard and remain confused. ( There's a huge potential for career counsellors here ) So, they take up engineering. There are engineering colleges in every junction of every town of India. Do they have the aptitude of learning engineering ? Do they like math and physics ? No. They barely scraped through their board exams. Why are they even doing B.Tech then ? Because the mother said. Or because the elder sister did engineering and she got a good job in Infosys. Or because parents won't agree to send them for a course in journalism. Or because an uncle knows someone who knows an M.L.A who can get them a good seat in so and so college. Well, okay, you qualify for B.Tech. Congratulations !


Majority of the youth remained confused about what they want to do, scared of taking that leap of faith and frustrated with what they're currently doing !  

So basically, any alternate path you choose to take requires a lot of courage, passion and requires you to be very thick skinned. Because the moment you fail, the fingers get pointed at you immediately. You not only have a hard time convincing you're parents that you're actually happy doing something on your own, but also your neighbours, your Nani who would call you up to give some wisdom and some friends who take  responsibility to make you see light of day.


The leap of faith is not easy. Not only should you be prepared for failure but also some amount of sniggering ! ( Source )

Personally, I have huge respect for entrepreneurs. I get excited about their story. What made them take this path ? How did they take that leap of faith to quit their 9 to 6 jobs ? Are they able to make
a decent turn over ? Would it have been better if they started this side by side and not quit their full time jobs ? What if it doesn't work out ? Do they have a plan B ? A lot of people have begun doing things differently, but a vast majority continue making the same mistakes we made ten years back. Doing something you love seems so idealistic and yet, so difficult to achieve. Through a series of posts on alternate paths, I want to debunk some myths, and maybe, in the process, get inspired to start something on my own someday.

PS : I would be interviewing my friends who've turned entrepreneurs ! stay tuned :)

4 comments

  1. Ah! I can totally relate with this... left my cushy banking job and started off on my own... and its been an awesome journey..
    Thanks for sharing Shruti. :-)

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    1. Hi Archana,

      That's a great experience and a worthy story I am sure :)

      Regards,
      Shruti

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  2. I can relate to this very well having decided not to attempt Engineering, Medicine or the "B.Com + MBA route. A lot of eyebrows were raised when I chose to become a social worker (education). But I'm satisfied like hell with my life! It is high time people look at alternate career options.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Vidya,

      I can totally imagine people being shell shocked that you chose social work ! At;east you had the guts to do so :) A lot of people get stuck !

      Regards,
      Shruti

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