Saturday, April 26, 2008
After that disastrous encounter at a family function, this one occurred at the local market. I was trying very hard to convince my mum that we had bought enough vegetables to last this century when someone waved enthusiastically from the other side of the road. It turned out to be an old friend of my mum’s who was also battling with her weary looking son about the quantity of vegetables being bought. She walked up to us and blissfully ignored the chaos around, speaking as if we were all lounging in some café.
I’ll jump right to the point and only describe the part of conversation involving me and my (sigh) lack of insight while choosing a career.
Aunty: So, you must be in your final year now na?
Me: Yeah I’ll be entering final year this June.
Aunty: What plans do you have for the future then?
Me: Oh, well, I’m considering some options in Psyc…..
(Cutting me off abruptly)
A: Actually, I wanted to ask you something.
M: Yes aunty, what happened?
A: My son no? He also wants to do this Psychology and Journalism and all that.
M: Oh really? I’d love to tell him all about the subjects and syllabus.
A: Yaaa…but you know? I told him to do some correspondence course in Journalism after Engineering or something. He cant do Beeyay and all….this is not a time for playing games with career you know?
M: umm... I guess not. But studying Psych and Journalism is not really ‘playing games’ aunty. We have a challenging syllabus and project reports, exams and stuff.
A: Yaa all that is fine and all. But who will give him job and all? I mean, it’s a Beeyay no?Nowadays, only engineering is lucrative.
M: Well, actually, Journalism is a thriving field as well. And so is industrial Psychology. In fact, we’ve been told that in the next couple of years, they will be very lucrative.
A: Aiyo. It’s okay for you and all. You’re a girl. You don’t need to worry about money and all. What will people say if my son ends up with only a Beeyay? How can he earn as much as the engineering people? He can’t take up these things just because he likes to interpret dreams and all.
I choose to end the conversation here because that’s what my mum also tactfully did, by intervening. She had seen fire alarms go off within me and decided I was better off searching for good mangoes instead of fighting a losing battle with the lady.
It struck me then. Perhaps if I was a boy, I wouldn’t have found it easy convincing people around me to let me choose what I want to do. It’s a sad thing that girls are still not taken seriously unless they choose a ‘Manly’ field like Business or Engineering. Beeyays are just an extra line on a CV that will not go very far from college. Not everyone is like that though. I’m sure many parents don’t blend in gender with careers, but if they do, then who benefits really? It’s a bittersweet thing- the thought that perhaps since I’m a girl, I’m allowed to follow my ambitions and aspirations and choose any career I want. Maybe there is at least one male peer out there, who really wanted to be a Scholar of English Literature but is studying Computer Engineering instead…..
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Study leave is a concept I understood after getting into college. Although the college grants 2 weeks very benevolently in order to get you to study, personally, I think there is an underlying message: study leave is actually meant for one to leave studying. I mean, I can’t think of anyone who would spend every waking hour of those two weeks cramming up notes. But the holidays..I mean…study leave, opens up a plethora of possibilities to understand and contemplate one’s life.
Some of the most fruitful things I’ve been doing this past week include:
i. Teaching my toddler neighbour how to give me a high five. He did give me a high five eventually, after he wet his diaper and my arms that were carrying him.
ii. Reading, re-reading and re-re-reading all my personal diaries since the 8th std. In effect, I managed to re-live my orthodontic trauma. Really, I have to burn those pages in my diary that describe every millisecond of my orthodontic treatment.
iii. Finally cleaning out a mysterious shelf in my desk. But I ended up spending all my time in poring over some frayed pages of the 6th std Social Studies project that eventually, I ended up putting all the junk back inside and rushed off to lunch.
iv. Conscientiously reading my 750 page Psychology textbook. But drifted off to another 750 page book. Harry Potter.
v. Arranging all my pens and pencils in the order of colours found in a rainbow.
vi. Reading Bridget Jones’ Diary and heaving a huge sigh of relief that my life isn’t as messed up as hers.
vii. Watching re-runs of Roadies on MTV. Heaving another sigh of relief that my life isn’t as messed up as theirs either.
viii. Finally sitting myself down in front of my books, forcing them open and reading one chapter….before drifting off to fantasies that included re-runs of Jodhaa Akbar and free pizzas.
Hmm….I wonder if I can classify any of these under the typical characteristics of early adults (a definite question for my exams next week).