One question that I have found myself contemplating all my life (especially in the last two three years) is “What is my dream? What is it that I want to be when I grow up?” Well, I am 24 years old now but the question mark about my dream still remains.
Just like I have evolved to be who I am today, my dreams and aspirations have evolved too. There was a time when I would confidently smile (with the front teeth gone) and reply to any good-willed uncle’s same-old-query “what is your dream to become when you grow up?” and say,”I want to be a teacher !”. My wanting to become a teacher had its own reasons which stemmed from what I call the theory of kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi. At that tender age of mine, I would see all my teachers as the ‘monsters-in-laws’ who would torture me with their homework assignments. And like all daughters-in-laws who secretly wait for their turn to continue the same legacy with their would-be daughters-in-laws, I too built up a desire to become a teacher just for the sake of continuing the legacy of throwing chalks at some unruly student. Well, correcting their homeworks which most of the time included circling innocent spelling errors with a red pen and ending with a sophisticated sign seemed to me a bonus that I could not give away. Soon, the fire within my little heart extinguished and I realized being teacher means to study really hard. The thought itself shooed away my dream in a few days.
Gradually, my dream paved its way to the desire to become Miss India. Oh that crown! That silver diamond-studded crown was just irresistible for me. All I wanted to do was to put that crown on my head and blow flying kisses to the audience. In fact I had practiced that move almost n times in front of the mirror to hone it to perfection. But then reality check slapped me back on my face. I was too short for the crown and my dream too big for me.
Then a phase came in my life when I wanted to become something that nobody has ever heard of. Teachers and Miss Indias were just too common and suddenly too boring for my ambitious mind. I wanted to take Frost’s road that is not taken (no I didn’t know who Robert Frost was that time). That time, my understanding of being different and uncommon was something that no one has heard of and my understanding of “no one has heard of” was something that was difficult to pronounce or spell. More my tongue twisted telling about my dream more I felt better about myself and my career choice. So, I chose to be a Lepidopterist-one who studies butterflies. See what I mean. The word sounded so heavy and thus very appropriate for me. By the way, I heard about the term in Tinkle Digest. Yes, I was still in my Tinkle reading days.
Times flew by and butterflies were nothing more than colorful insects to romanticize and write poetry about. Those days a few doctor TV soaps had come up. They made those white lab coats look like one of the best fashionable professional attire one could wear. And above all, I fell for the lead actors too and suddenly I wanted to become a doctor. So that I could wear that lab coat, fall in love with and in the arms of some handsome surgeon and oh well, save some lives too. Yet, it was impossible because my biology was as bad as the plots of those serials. Hence, that dream too shattered into pieces.
Today is the era of inspirational movies. With movies like 3 Idiots, Taare Zameen Par, Udaan becoming blockbusters, everyone chants the mantra “Follow your passion, and success will come by”. The “dreams” got new words- “passion”, “calling”, etc. These movies encourage people’s passion to wake up from their slumber, or rise from the ashes and take the form of a giant phoenix. There are also people that came across here and there who would invent their own passion just to get rid of what they are studying. Hah! Creative. Isn’t it?
And, here I am, still chased hard by the question “What is it that I dream to be when I grow up?” but this time with a little modification- “Have you finally discovered your dream(or passion or calling)?” As for me, I am still dreaming…… in the hope of shooting the right bird.
P.S: i wrote it when i was 22. Nothing changed much except the number!