Once when I was little, my mum asked me what I wanted to be and I said I wanted to be an actress. She laughed at the idea and dismissed the thought. When I was twelve, she asked me again, and this time I wanted to be a painter. I was fifteen when she asked me again, and this time, I didn’t have an answer to her question. Because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. And this answer confused my mother. She was baffled by my lack of choice. And soon, the day came when I’d to choose a career path. She wanted me to take up science, but it didn’t interest me. My father wanted me to take up commerce, it was a very obvious choice according to him because the whole family is full of Chartered accountants. I didn’t like commerce much either, so I decided I wanted to take up humanities. Nobody had ever taken up humanities in the entire family history; even the daughters of this house were successful chartered accountants. And there I was, the bad seed. But that didn’t stop me from taking it up. I liked it. Humanities was about everything I was good at. I got to study psychology, and fashion design and they’d give me marks for painting!
I’d only have to be immensely stupid to not take that up. It was a struggle, of course, because the good things never come easy, especially when you try to go against your parents! And with this started, as I call it, ‘The rebel control mission’. The weirdest of all the comments and taunts that I now got on daily basis was, “What will people say?” And all I could do was roll my eyes at that. It was funny! People won’t help me when I can’t take solving chemical equations anymore or when I can’t even do accounts right! And they won’t pay my rent when I’m broke because I’d be the worst accountant there ever was. And as expected, the cold taunts went on. Every day when I’d return home, they’d serve me with a fresh batch of lame insults that made no sense. “You will mess up our reputation!” Well, if I don’t do this mum, I’ll mess up my life, so thank you, but no thank you! Plus, I’m pretty sure your reputation won’t hold up if I keep flunking because that’s what’s going to happen if I don’t do this.
Eventually, this faded away and we’d reached the second ‘rebel control’ stage. The bribe stage. This stage was the golden stage. If you are a rebel, and you believe what you’re doing is absolutely correct, this could be the best part of this entire process. In the next few days, I was showered with gifts, more precisely, bribes. It stars with “Sweety, I made your favourite dinner today”, and ends with, “Remember that new phone you were talking about? You can have it if you promise to listen to us.” And the best thing to do here is to promise to ‘listen to them’ because let’s face it, you really want that phone. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to give up. You never give up, you just take what they give you, and enjoy! So I told them I’d listen to them, but since I know my lack of knowledge and interest in other fields, I decided to make excuses about trying to change the stream but there weren’t enough ‘seats’ available, so I couldn’t; that and the puppy dog face, because it always works.
And hence, we’d enter the third stage. The avoidance stage. I thought I’d gotten away with it in the beginning and I was very happy about it, only to realize that I have no missed calls from Mom. Like none. Usually when I’m out till this time, it’s like a tornado in my phone. But not anymore. So, I get home because I’m really worried about mom. Once I’m home, I see my food just lying there, cold. Because now, my parents have given up on me. They’re very sure there’s nothing more they can do to get my mind off it, but it’s their last, feeble attempt to get me to change my mind. Does it work? Obviously not.
I attended classes like a good kid, and my exams have neared, but my parents still had an uncaring look on their faces, and I was still the bad seed, who’d get nowhere. Days pass, and the result day comes. And since I’m good at the things I’ve taken up, I (obviously) score well! More than I’ve ever scored till date. And then, with me scoring well, we enter the final stage - the acceptance stage! They finally believe I made the right choice and that I have a good chance of not ending up jobless in the future! And at that moment, I realise that giving up is so easy, and standing up for what you want is so difficult. Doing what is average is nothing special. But it becomes special when you choose to do it, and not because they want you to do it, but because you want to. Doing what everyone expects you to do isn’t always the correct choice for you because at the end of the day, you have to live with the consequences of your choices. If you believe you’re doing the right thing, it doesn’t matter if people aren’t on your side. Do it anyway, and things will eventually fall into place. They always do.
Sketch By: Ashna Panesar