Yes, you are nineteen; pursuing Chartered Accountancy and have MBA plans. How can you even think about leaving this bait and walk on an “improper” road, alone. Well, I have.
It was the first day of Young India Challenge (YIC) and we were asked to interact with other delegates and talk about our passion. As soon as I met the first person, I told him my passion is writing. It felt weird. I was Editor-in-chief of my college society and I wrote a few poems but I didn’t write as a writer. I gave the same answer to the second, the third and the other ninety nine delegates.
I was baffled by my own replies. “Hmm, so writing it is. Then why are you doing CA? Why not shift to writing? Ah, stupid! There is no career in writing. Oh, wait! Let’s be a CA and write a couple of books along with it. Shh, CA and writing would never go together. Writing will be compromised as it had been till now.”
By the end of the third day of the conference, I didn’t know what next would I do but I certainly learnt that it won’t be CA or MBA.
Soon after I started interning with media houses, start ups, etc. to get experience of diferent ambit of writing. Over 8 months, I did five internships, opened a poetry page and found my stream of writing-Travel Journalism.
In this period I had variety of responses to the change in my career plans. “Travel journalism! Oh wow! You’re gonna enjoy so much. How lucky you are”; “What? You left CA? Are you mad? You were doing so great, don’t leave it”; “How exactly are you going to make living?”; “Are you sure?”
This journey had not been easy. It’s like slashing down the base of a half-built house and building a new one. You become answerable to parents. Convincing them becomes the toughest battle especially when you come from a small city and you are a girl. But all this time I have seen a lot, something which CA or MBA wouldn’t have shown me.
- IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE PLANS
I was half way through CA when I decided to change my plans. My friends and parents have taunted me a lot but at least I saved myself from upcoming years of waste. One of the things I learnt at YIC is that one should never be stagnant. Keep changing your desires, keeping looking forward to new things. And it’s not instability but a sign that you are learning and exploring.
- JUST START
When you make sudden decisions, you don’t really have a plan. It’s like, after jumping from a cliff you’ll plan your parachute flight. But if you keep thinking and making strategies, weighing all pros and cons, either you start late or you don’t start at all. Just hold the pen, the sketch will come eventually.
- DO WHAT YOU LOVE
One of the great things YIC has taught me is this. Do what you love, no matter what. It may seem surreal but when you focus thoughts and listen to your inner self, things work out. No, I’m not sounding bookish, your mind and soul speaks. Your heart gives you indications but it’s us who choose to ignore the inner voice in midst of human chaos. For this, you don’t have to sit for hours and meditate. Just ask a few questions to yourself and see the instant answer, like – “What is that you love doing?; “Do you want to do this?”; “Do you love what you do?”
Opting for unconventional fields like this has never been easy. Especially, in country like India. You have lesser opportunities and society’s pressure to take care of. At times you’ll doubt your decision and would like to quit but how you handle that moment of distress decides the further course. Don’t be disheartened; rather with every “No” push yourself more and you’ll be amazed by your own spirit.
- SELF MOTIVATION
Nothing works as effective as self motivation does. You won’t always find people who’ll agree to your idea and support you. Mostly, family is the one that discourages you so much that you don’t even feel like going back to them. But don’t let this affect your dreams. No matter how weird or imaginary they are, believe in them and believe with all your power. They do come true.
- REALITY CHECK
Yes, its all about passion and dreams but there are some ground realities you need to consider, else you’re not playing ambitious, you’re playing fool. Money, being first of them. You need to pay your bills at the end of the day. It’s okay to take leaps but have some financial security or at least have concrete plans which can assure you a decent pay. It is a harsh reality but you need money to sustain.
- STAY OPTIMISTIC
I won’t lecture on how to stay optimistic but would recommend reading this book, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. It will tell you all that I would have.
And if you’d ask me, it took me nine months to get permission to travel to a place but when I look at it, I see the fact that I have started travelling. And now, there is no looking back.