A couple of days ago I was the 'chief guest' at the annual debate competition @ NIT Calicut, called 'Spitfire'. As per tradition, I was invited to say a few words.
When asked to speak, I really have only one thing to say: 'Follow your Dreams'. I might modify this message, depending on the audience. Use different examples. But the essence of the message remains the same.
I don't for a moment believe that I can erase the years of conditioning from parents, teachers and society at large. Which is, follow the path of least resistance. Get a good education, get a good job, get a home loan, get married.
*Repeat cycle with own offspring*
But my guess is, a handful of young people in that audience actually want to break that mould. And people like me, with a slightly different outlook to life, give them the courage. The courage to say go-phoeey to the rest of the class which is pretty damn sure the regular way, is the only way.
Yesterday, the first question came from one such regular, who gave a 3 minute speech on why following your dream is not practical. Because we are middle class.
I said, "If you don't want to do something different, please don't do it!"
Sometime later another young man repeated the same argument.
I said,"If you are happy, if you are charged up, doing a regular job, please do just that!"
The question is, are you, really?
The 'most wanted' job on NIT C campus right now is with Amazon. Last year, the company picked up 12 students for a package of Rs 16 lakhs.
The next 'most wanted' jobs on campus are with PSUs. The perks are good, and so is the take-home.
"But students from NIT don't really stick with these jobs," says a student."These companies may stop coming to campus."
Instead, some PSUs are planning to shortlist BTechs from all over India, based on their GATE scores. The top 500 would be eligible for jobs, regardless of the college they are currently attending.
So, then what? The hordes of engineers who are 'happy' with the way the world is will then decide to 'be different' and try for an MBA.
A few kilometres from NIT is the breezy campus of IIM Kozhikode, situated on a hill. The architecture rocks, the view is better. And the lecture theatre in which I have an informal session organised by the E-Cell has a projecter & Powerpoint.
The dilemma remains the same, only the names of the companies and size of the package is different. Because very few students are actually *charged up* about marketing or finance or HR...
And so we remain like 30 watt bulbs, feeble and dim. Never knowing the radiance of our true potential. Yet somewhere yearning, to feel that glow from within.
To feel activated, to feel alive, and truly human.