In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Phobia, Shmobia.”
There’s this fear that is rampant among the youth in India, and I was not spared of it. Every time I was given a choice to do something, I would always, always, wait to see what the majority of the people would do, and then do that.
I had a perpetual fear of being unconventional.
There were a couple of reasons to it.
My childhood has been “nomadic”. My parents were transferred to a new place almost every three years, so I had to adjust to a new place, new school and new friends. I’d always want to “fit in”. So much so, that I ended up taking science just because my friends were taking it.
The second reason is that my mother was a teacher in the schools that I studied in, so rule breaking was not my thing. My mom can be scary when she gets mad. I’d give her plenty of opportunities at home for that.
I used to feel a little weird, but the fact that I would then get something common with the people around me always won over my feeling. It was scary standing out.
This fear stayed with me till I graduated high school. While choosing my courses for college, naturally I was tempted to see what my friends were taking. Strangely, the only thing they were talking about was engineering. Nothing else. It was like that’s the only subject you can take. I did a bit of research and it was shocking to see that almost every damn kid in the country thought the same.
It jolted me. It really did. Had I not known about other options that are available to people, I probably would have gone ahead with it too. I just happened to know things that existed other than engineering, and I was surprised, appalled even, at the narrow-mindedness of the people around me.
A girl even called me “crazy” when I told her I was considering some other options too.
I didn’t want to be another one of those people anymore. It’s probably why I decided to go against everything I had believed in to choose something many people didn’t even know existed- I chose geology.
Over time, I began to realize that choosing the Road Not Taken wasn’t such a bad thing at all. I began to do it regularly; at home, at school, in my speeches. It gave me a lot of attention, good and bad. But more importantly, it gave me a new perspective on life. It showed me that there’s a lot more to life that what “the majority chooses”. So many options exist, that are much better, more fun and challenging.
It felt good.
(Got a little carried away in the mood, hence that title.)