Genius by Birth, Idiot by Choice

Story of my life

“If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.” - Jim Rohn

I’m sure you all must have seen or heard about THREE IDIOTS; a movie that instigated young minds from the early 2009–10s to pursue what they love, no matter how many fingers are pointed against them.

Similar is the story of this young lady who was born a genius but chose to be an idiot. But mind you, being an idiot is not at all easy in India! Two years ago, I graduated as a Genetic Engineer, First Class with Distinction from Chennai, got an A+ in my research project and managed to win a thousand hearts in my university. Not just that, I qualified GATE and ICAR exams in the very first attempt. But is that enough? Well, people here are considered successful only if they are able to crack college placements, enter into IITs and IIMs, travel abroad for higher education or grab a Phd in the respective field and so on.

I was a sheer failure in front of all those who were doing one of the above things. I started doubting my abilities and went into a state of desolation. Every person in my world had only one question to ask- What Next? Soon, I started feeling like an IDIOT who had everything yet nothing. Meanwhile, I tried my best to drift my mind by spending time with my best buddy; My Camera! Gradually, I could relate myself with the so-called FARHAN QURESHI from the movie and finally understood that I am meant to be someone else. In a way, cinema has changed my life goals. I was close to the discovery of my inner self and soon a bell rang in my mind. I decided to SWITCH. That is why I always say-

“India is a land where many successful artists were once engineers.”

I’m sure there are a million others like me who drop engineering and get into creative fields. I finally decided to live a life of the Third Idiot and follow my passion- PHOTOGRAPHY. Oh my God! It initially gave me nightmares because I stood all alone with a baggage of doing an odd job. Photography and that too a lady doing it; too abnormal for Bhopalis. My dad was in a shock and clearly stated that we don’t want you to be Anushka Sharma from Jab Tak Hai Jaan. But, I turned deaf to him. Cinema again!

Firstly, moving from a metro like Chennai to a city like Bhopal itself is so difficult. Chennai is the education capital of India, where every second person you meet is a Topper in some field. While, Bhopal is the lake capital of India, where every person you meet will talk everything but not academics. Realizing that it is not a major competing ground, the only option I had here was to compete with myself.

Secondly, I faced constant criticism after switching from an Engineering profile to the Artistic domain. Remember, in our graduation days, how we used to treat the Art students? No matter how global we go, we still believe that Arts is chosen by people who have a lower IQ or lower grades. How chauvinistic is that!

Thirdly, the cultural shift was the biggest challenge because my body was accustomed to do things 24x7 in Chennai whereas, I had a lot of free time in Bhopal. My pain can be felt only by those who once stayed in hostels are back to their homes. You are a completely occupied in a hostel doing everything on your own and at your suitable time in your limited space. Be it eating tasteless food, washing clothes & utensils, cleaning rooms, partying and if there is some extra time left, then studying. Your friends become your family and you do everything together. Leaving all that behind, I was in trauma during my initial days at home; a row of cupboards, a king size bed and a huge room, where I had to stay alone, home food that was tasty, clothes, utensils, and room cleaning were taken care by maids, partying was replaced by family dinners and I had too much time left for studying. From a wretched lifestyle to an extravagant one, it took time to be at peace.

But after a point of time, I started liking my lifestyle because Home is Home. I took admission in a local university and being the first batch of the university with a completely new field of study, I was under an immense pressure. We were like Guinea Pigs- The experimental batch. But at times, it is good to be the foundation batch as we grab hold of many opportunities, try things that we have never done before and create a history of the university. My classroom became my new hostel; a storehouse of responsibilities and I was again all by myself. My Chennai routine of staying busy helped me emerge as a star in the campus because I was skilled at handling multiple tasks. Being a media student brings you close to people, technology, and literature. I acquired social, industrial and academic skills, polished myself day and night and was set to nail every single thing that I could do in my field. While others were dreaming about success, I was busy working on it. I was doing what I loved and loving what I was doing. And eventually, success never stopped because I never gave up.

All these years, I had been grooming myself to settle in my own city. Be it an Engineer or an Artist, we are born to create and amaze the world ahead of us. After giving best in my total capacity, today I have stepped out as a Master of Journalism and Mass Communication with a Gold Medal. And yes, I am still enjoying the title of being called “JOB-Less” because I am not the kinds to Just-Obey-Boss. People still have the same question- What Next? But I know this is a never ending process. Who knows I may marry next. So won’t they ask me again- What Next? So maybe I will have babies next and then so on.

My life doesn’t end here. I am still a learner and will soon make a career that will best suit my abilities. Taking the road less taken, I see a new world ahead of me. So don’t waste time in following your dreams. Instead, start living them. No matter how many people pray for you to fail, keep in mind that Success is the Best Revenge. And just remember-

“We are explorers and we need to knock at every alien door to find our own.”