17 Feb 2019 05:16am IST
Sukriti F. Gracias
“…Just Inshallah,I hope my dream comes true..." a friend of mine stated in one of our frequent quarter life crises, heart-to-heart conversations. He had dreamt of training and working for one of the Formula one teams, and he'd just received an interview with one of the companies. He was both, excited and petrified at the prospect of having an actual shot at living his dream. And I was happy for him. However, it got me thinking about my dream. Did I even have a dream?
I don't ever remember being a child with a specific career-oriented dream. But from a young age, I knew what I couldn't be. I couldn't be an engineer or a doctor, because, one I wasn't the biggest fan of numbers and two, my spectacles with lenses as thick as yesteryears soda bottles had me convinced that if I, a mere 10-year-old, couldn’t spot the bacteria under the microscope for my science experiments, how would I ever be able to treat my patients, and that ten year old logic made sense to me back then.
Art and music were ruled out as well, because when it came to art, I, a right-handed person, possessed two left hands. And an attempt at learning to play the violin and sounding like a couple of cats having a yowling session on the neighbour’s compound wall at 3am in the night had me convinced that music wasn't for me either
And sports, well, let’s just say I covered my eyes when balls were thrown my way. And my lack of hand-eye coordination made sure the PE teacher stayed metres away from me. A
That left me with English, geography and history. And though I was above average in both Geography and History, English turned out to be one of the subjects I did score well in and enjoyed it too. English, for me as a subject included both reading and writing. I looked forward to the comprehension and composition writing more than I did anything else. I think I had the luck to have some of the best English teachers during my school years. Teachers who maybe didn't realize then that those star stickers could convince an eight-year-old that maybe,just maybe she was good at something after all.
As far as teachers go, I had another very important teacher whosewords somehow stuck with me, and now ten years from then as I recall the day that made her give me this response on a question she had asked regarding an alternative ending to a story, after my reply she had said, “you have a very good imagination, I cannot wait to see what you write” and to this day, I still remember that phrase of hers, word for word.
And I have been and continue to be a voracious reader, often playing hooky from school only because i wanted to finish a book I'd been reading. But while I spent hours reading David Copperfield, Heidi, Nancy Drew, the Famous Five, I never really thought that I could also be the crafter of stories and not just the reader. It was a possibility that hadn’t occurred to me until the day my mother with her two sisters and her eldest niece decided to go on a shopping spree, leaving me at home. I was a child that hated being left at home, and my anger at her lead me to writing my first short story titled “The Three Devils” And to this day, on days that they leave me behind have been known to refer to them as the three devils. Fun fact: Most of my writing has been and continues to be “inspired” by rage.
And now, as I set out to pursue an aspiration that even I wasn’t sure I harboured. It’s like one of thosedreams where you wake up and remember that you had a good dream before but the details of it become hazy the minute you open your eyes. But you are filled with a sense of urgency to not forget the dream because who knows when you might have one of those again?
But just having a dream isn’t enough. A lot of people have dreams. Most people take their dreams with them to their deathbeds and into their graves. Or they end up convincing themselves that their dream won’t take them to places that a 9 to 5 job will. Not that I have anything against a 9 to 5 job, in another life I would have chosen job security, paid leave and a solid retirement plan to look forward to once I’ve hit 60.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t really have to choose between the two. But this world we live in is far from ideal, farther than it has ever been. And we as a generation are struggling to cope with what we are passionate about and what is required of us to do.
But I don’t see this as just a dream anymore; it’s not something that can be put off for later. It’s not something I do in my free time. It’s something I make time fordiving headfirst into my dream, but if I don’t do it, nobody else will do it for me. But there is this tiny glimmer of hope in me that one day I might have a book inprint that convinces a young girl to skip school to curl up in bed to finish reading a book written by me.
Whatever it is, it is your dream, and if you don’t make an attempt to live your dream, then be prepared to live a life clouded with those moments of emptiness that appear seemingly out of nowhere and bring with them thunder storms in the forms of doubts and insecurities. Don’t ever be afraid to follow your dreams, however crazy they may seem to everyone else.
(The writer plans a career in writing and holds a Master’s in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster, UK.)