Disclaimer : The story is a fictional one. Any resemblance to a person, situation and location is coincidental. I hope you enjoy the story
“It was a great decision of yours not to let your son do engineering. It is a cliché path that most of Indians are following, forgetting the other fields that they can progress to” As Mrs. Sharma said this to Mrs. Khanna, a person had flashed in her mind. She was the one who had showed the talent in their kid and persuaded them to not force him to do engineering. Santoshi, founder of Learn to Live, was the reason their kid was happy studying something that he wanted to and not doing engineering, like most of the Indians.
An engineer by education, an entrepreneur by choice, a leader by birth, a great person in all the aspects. Santoshi chose her career early in her life. And it had paved way for many others in the world to choose theirs, and help convince their parents into accepting the same.
India has 2 mainstream courses that every kid follows after they reach 12th. It is either Engineering or Medicine. And after Engineering, it is usually MS/MBA. Then get a high paying job, get married, have kids, and the cycle repeats. To a lot of them, regrets are the only thing left at the end of the day. Regrets of not doing something they wanted to. Regrets of wasting their life on something they don’t have a clue about. Regrets of doing something without a vision. Regrets of trying to improve on something they don’t want to do at all.
Santoshi has seen that. She had not gone through the same, but had heard, seen many of her friends, friends of her friends facing an issue like this. A person regrets what he hasn’t done. In his life, he thinks that there is always time to do something, but no one knows when their time would run out. Man knows that he would die, but still he procrastinates on the things he wants to do the most.
A singer, a writer, a painter, an artist, a movie star, all of them were killed because many parents have forced them to become engineers. And once they became engineers, their dreams died. They couldn’t pursue what they wanted to, but became machines that would check on other machines in the world. Create some machines that they could think up from their messed up heads.
Santoshi got fed up of this. Weekend was a getaway for her friends and everyday was a burden for them. Waiting for Friday was the only thing that they did all week. And in the weekend, they ended up cursing their life and hoping they did something meaningful for their life. Motivational videos, inspirational stories didn’t make much of a difference in the long run for them. Santoshi wanted to do something about this. She wanted to understand the root of the problem. And she wanted to solve the problem.
After talking to many people, she understood the root of the problem. Their dreams died once they entered engineering. Many courses, endless hours of assignments, project works, lectures and viva had taken out energy from their days and left nothing to focus on their dreams. Years later, when they get a job, they are expected to work more than 10 hours a day and are paid for 8 hours.
She asked them if they were willing to leave their job and start a new life with their dream. Most of them were reluctant. They were about to get married, or are already married and have kids. They thought that it was a risky thing to start something now and chose to live with the regret rather than choose their dream. Many of them have an opinion that the society would not accept them if they went against their parents’ chosen path or started something new after being in a field for a while. They cared more about what the society thinks and not of their dreams. She had a friend who became an author against his parents’ wishes. The society had accepted him after his first book became a best seller, but not before that. Even though the society had accepted him, his parents did not. He followed his dream, to lose his parents. And he never told anyone except Santoshi. His writings included the pain that he felt and while all people admired his writing, she read between the lines. She convinced his parents, after a long struggle, and he was accepted back into the family. It was a battle that happened with most of the people in India. She was able to make peace in one, but it wasn’t enough. India needs more people who are interested in what they do. India needs people who follow their passion. It already has a lot of people who work.
He was the last straw. Santoshi couldn’t see this anymore. Why only IIT? Why only engineer? Is there nothing else in this world that a person can become and be proud of? Can’t he become a writer? Can’t he become an event manager? Should he be guilty that he was something other than an engineer or a doctor? She understood that this situation had to change. But trying to change it after the kids come to 8th or 9th standard would be too late. Trying to change parents would not make much difference unless they actually follow the advice that they were given.
After thinking and discussing the many options that she could find, Santoshi had decided that a change should come from childhood itself. A child should be told that he could be anything he likes to do, before parents, relatives and neighbours rub off their opinions on him. She decided that she would start a school, for the same. Her curriculum included of many things, which are not taught in the traditional schools.
It took her a lot of efforts to materialize her dream. To make a child chose his destiny. And to make his parents support him in the journey.
About 10 years later, the first batch from her school had graduated. Most of them had become writers, painters, artists, and a few of them, engineers. But none of them had become those who regret their destiny. 5 years from the graduation of the first batch, one of them won a Pulitzer prize. In his acceptance speech, he repeatedly thanked Santoshi for helping him follow his dream. And more importantly, for convincing his parents to support her. And among the many other people who had done great things have mentioned the same thing. They thanked her and her team for the relentless support they provided.
In a survey conducted on the happiness level in the country, it turned out that India has gone by about 15 – 20 ranks. Santoshi was nominated and won one of the prestigious awards by Forbes. She was nominated under 40 under 40 Forbes Asia. Many people had started following the path she set on. She had made an impact in many lives. But there was still a long way to go.
She had made such an impact that dialogues like “It is a good thing you have made your kid study animation”, “I hope your kid writes a good book. I will be the first one to read it”, became more common than they ever were.
And the only reason was Santoshi and her venture, Learn to Live. She had taught people to live. People who were just surviving, to get through the end of the day every day, felt that they had someone like her to help her support in their dreams.
Go Santoshi, for all the dreams you have helped us create.
This is a story under the series named “Al Persona”. For stories like this for yourself, contact me @Contact. I’ll get back to you within 6 hours.