But what we dream depends on who we are.
Where we were born.
So many of you write to me asking for career advice. Which engineering college to join. MBA karoon ya na karoon... The usual middle class dilemmas.
This afternoon I happened to chat with Vijay. The chap who does manicures at the Lakme salon near my home.
It started by me asking where he lived.
"So roz Sewri to Vashi..."
Why travel so far?
He shrugs, as if to say job hai, karna padta hai.
But there is a Lakme salon in Dadar, close to your house, I told him.
Yes, but apparently the company will not transfer him on request.
He would have to quit, join another salon and then rejoin Lakme.
I asked him how he got into the manicure business.
"Pehle main air conditioning line mein tha," he said wistfully."Woh bhi accha line hai."
But his dream was to be a mechanic. Then?
"Kuch nahin. Hamare pados mein ek hairdresser tha. Usne kaha jab tak woh set nahin hota, yeh try kar..."
Apparently Vijay was dead against becoming a hajaam. And he got a further shock when he found it was a ladies beauty parlour.
But seth was nice to him, and urged him to learn something. If not hairdressing, why not manicure-pedicure. And that is how he got into it, gradually adjusting and even liking the work.
"Mujhe accha train kiya.. phir dheere dheere kaam accha lagne laga."
However, now he regrets not becoming a hairdresser, 'cause they get paid a lot more. And he would have been an 'all-rounder'.
But can't you switch to hairdressing now? Ask Lakme to train you??
"Actually mujhe sab aata hai... sirf naye cuts practice karne padenge. Par aisa lagta hai phir yeh kaam chhoot jaayega."
Vijay is afraid to let go.
He is really good at his current job. Fast, efficient, affable yet not irritatingly intrusive. But there's not much prospect of growth.
The hairdressing opportunity is right there, staring him in the face. If nothing else, he should leave and join a salon closer to his home. Right now he spends Rs 1000 a month of his Rs 6000 salary on travelling up and down.
However what Vijay enjoys here is familiarity and comfort.
He fears the untested and unknown.
"Mere bahut clients hain...," he adds. "Mera bahut demand hai." Which means he can even set out on his own. Home visits would make for a good business, certainly he would be able to work less and earn more.
But again he is full of doubts. "Pata nahin, kaam regular milega ki nahin."
"Thoda to risk lena padega life mein," I tell him as he escorts me out.
And that applies to us all. Whether Vijay the manicurist, or Vijay the IIT engineer.
But maybe we should think that way long before we take up manicures over mechanic work. Although it's never too late to exit the comfort zone...