The Musings of a 20 Something B.Com Graduate

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“Are you going to become a chartered accountant”? If I had a rupee each time someone asked me that question, I would be wealthier than most of the chartered accountants in town.

If you are a twenty something Indian kid who did not opt for engineering, law or medicine and do not want to be a chartered accountant, you are in deep trouble.

“But, India needs more than 100000 chartered accountants in the next few years”, a random uncle tells me.

Everyone feels the need to hit us with badgering statistics that will knock some sense into our poor heads.

“So, what are you going to do next?” is a question we get asked very often with a little bit of concern and a lot of scorn.

I want to be the prime minister of India. If Mr. Narendra Modi’s landslide victory is anything to go by, I should join politics right away and start toiling. That’s a stupid thought. Politicians are going all out on marketing and I have a degree in marketing. They should hire me as head of their marketing campaign.  Actually, I should be a journalist, but if Mr.Arnab’s pay check is directly proportional to the amount of noise he makes, I would do a really bad job.

This is the thing with having a degree that lets you do a lot of things. If I was a cardiologist now, rest assured, they won’t let me do a cataract operation

I don’t have a plan. And I don’t intend on building one either because contrary to popular belief being random when you are 20 years old will make you really successful. Or not.  But, finding out is part of the fun.

We, as Indians have an obsession with all things IIT and medicine. Now that we are becoming very “broad-minded” and “modern” many Indians are now prepared to treat a few degrees (read as the professional ones) as “respectable”.

I come from a family of engineers and doctors and I almost gave my parents a mini-heart attack when I told them that I hate science.  It was when I took up commerce and decided that I am not too sure if I want to do chartered accountancy that most people decided I was a gross misfit.

In the community I come from ( Tambrahms.Or is this universal?) the rule of thumb is that if you meet a distant relative or an uncle or aunty, who you have not seen for the last 15 years they immediately have the power to comment on your life choices.

When they get to know that I am “JUST” a B.COM graduate, they first look at me with utter horror and wonder if I was a complete academic failure in school.  They are quick to forgive me because after all I am 20 years old, fair (another Indian colonial obsession), a little chubby and instead tell my mother that this is the right time for “marriage”.

The idea here is that my parents  should start looking for some doctor, IIT , Ivy league or “qualified” groom and once married, I should start breeding little “ME’s” who will preferably take after my decent looks and his career choices.

In order to understand this attitude towards professions, we need to comprehend why we love certain professions so much. Be it a chartered accountant, lawyer, doctor or an engineer (preferably with an M.B.A and an unrelated finance job) there are essentially three things their career choices have in common.  It’s socially acceptable, lucrative and looks fancy on your wedding card.

It all boils down to how much money you make and how people look at you. A doctor can make money and a politician can make much more money. However, a doctor with a scalpel can get away with making sacks of money as opposed to a politician in public light because here, people’s perception supersedes money.

I have a lot of respect for every profession, but I don’t believe in trading your self-respect in order to find a cover called “acceptable”. A lot of things are worth doing. But, they all become worthless unless you really want to do them.For a lot of students, this is the time of the year when you have to make a choice about your career. You can either make one that will make you smile every day .Or one that becomes a mere source of your bank balance and a sense of pride on your wedding card while your family can shamelessly brag about your choices at every odd wedding and funeral.

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