Friday, January 23, 2009

In an attempt to find a vocation

I am having difficulty with my career. In fact, as far as I remember, I have always been in a state of mind-whirling confusion about my career interspersed with a few peaceful phases of inert career planning where I did not care that much or was too busy to do any thinking. When I would cry, my dad would say I am intelligent in doubt and my tears would stop.

I think it all began at the age of 14, one stifling afternoon when one of the archaic sounding aunties had come home to meet my mother. I was sitting in my parent’s bedroom doing one of the only two things I thoroughly enjoyed doing: speaking animatedly on the phone or being deeply engrossed in a paperback.

My mom called me in the drawing room where I had to demonstrate how well she had brought me up by saying a polite hello followed by the short-lived salaam.

“What do you want to become after you grow up?” she asked well intentioned.

I replied with spunk, “I will invent my own profession.”

Then, my mother nervously laughed and her friend chimed in as well hesitatingly.

So yeah, that has been an overbearing issue.

I am one of those people who is decent at mostly everything possible including 12th standard physics which constitutes my biggest academic nightmare. I could almost do anything and suitably excel in it.

I could dance, I could act, I could write, I could draw, I could design, I could direct, I could photograph, I could delegate, I could publish, I could research, I could yawn and still survive.

However, I did not want to do any of that. I wanted a deep yearning passion, an innate longing to do what I totally liked doing. I had made my endeavor to find work, not only my life’s mission but life itself.

Then, there were those occasional stories about how the 4th floor woman made customized nail polish colors and was paid a 20,000 rupees creating a color for the copper mauve lehenga that Sussane Hrithik Roshan wore for her wedding.

I thought that woman was cool. She spent only 2 hours of her precious life apparently doing that. I could do that or something like that. Choose to go to yoga class, go travelling, live in an ashram, go scuba diving, and have fun all the time and work for two hours a day.

So after my media degree, when fellow mates chose to become client servicing guys, photographers, journalists and directors, I wondered why would these immensely talented friends of mine chose to do what many of the world are already doing and practically dedicating their lives for it.

I wanted to do something different. It began with different and then went to useful. I wanted to make myself useful. This rather became like my obsession, a crutch. I wanted to find purpose.
In an attempt to be purposeful, I forgot to do what I genuinely enjoyed doing. I forgot to do what I liked. I forgot to write, I forgot to play, and I forgot to lighten up. I was heavily perplexed by this never-ending pursuit of figuring out what to do.

Then, after many months of failing attempts, in a fair-trade snazzy cafĂ© in Bandra, P said, “Do what you have fun doing.”

Such a simple thing broke down all my multifarious theories surrounding career choices and motivation and incentives and life. Stupid, as it may sound, now I am searching for what I enjoy doing. If you have any ideas, try me.