Sunday, May 31, 2009


There was a girl I used to go to school with who I used to occasionally speak to because we were at the time both applying for colleges in the US. We weren't friends per se, and moved in very different circles, but our applications were grounds for conversation at the very least. She once mentioned to me she wanted to major in mathematics, and then become a professor in a university. She was quite bemused when I thought this was a very cool idea, because most apparently didn't think so.

Right after school, when I took the momentous decision to take up psychology, and follow the career path of becoming a psychologist/counsellor, I was advised against this by everyone. Literally. Family, friends, pretty much everyone who knew me told me I wasn't cut out for it and that I shouldn't do this.

Which is probably the reason I decided I will do this.

She, on the other hand, was the only person who didn’t say any such thing – mainly, I suspect, because she didn’t really know all that well. At the time, however, we had both laughed and talked about how we’ll both go down these paths and show the world we’re right.

However, as we all know, while studying for my counselling paper month before my final year exams, going through characteristics of a good counsellor made me realize that I really wasn’t cut out for it. It took me another two years to get convinced I should enter the field I am in right now, and I’m still not entirely show I know exactly what I do want in life.

She, I recently discovered, did major in math, but is now working in an investment firm somewhere.

Have you read the book Aparajito by Bibhutibhushan Banerjee?

No, you probably wouldn't have heard of this book. It's the sequel to Pather Panchali by the same author. I only know of these books because I love Satyajit Ray's Feluda stories, and while reading his biography I discovered how he had made a trilogy of movies based on these two books.

I read the book two years ago, and quite liked the book. It's a simple story, about a time none of us can probably relate to; after all, a scholarship of two rupees is, well, laughable these days.

But there are parts of it which I think I related to a great deal; particularly since these are things I've been wondering about some time now. When we're in school and college, many of us are full of dreams - to make it big in life, to change the world, to make a difference. Yet, how many of us actually see those dreams come true? We fall into the monotony of juggling our personal and professional lives, and that's all life becomes. Those dreams get buried somewhere, to be thoughts of rather wistfully on occasion, but buried away for the most part.

Apu, the protagonist of Aparajito, on the other hand, never gave up on these dreams. He never attained them, but the idealism of his adolescence never left him either.

How many of us can say that?