Tired of treading the tried and tested career path? Take a look at these people who have dared to be different.
Senthil Kumar, Paragliding Instructor
I wanted to do something sports-based, but a lot of other sports-based careers are very expensive to take up; they take up a lot of time and money. I came to know about paragliding, and I was excited by the idea.
There are two stages — you need to study the British Association rules and understand the theory behind flying. For the first 25 hours that you start learning, you need to fly with an instructor. After that you can fly on your own. You can proceed to the next step, and learn how to fly with other people, and learn about difficulties and accidents. You can either go for a tandem pilot course or you can go for the assistant instructor course. You can also go for aqua flying, but that requires a lot of experience. It doesn't take a lot to fly with a pilot, everyone can do it, and it only costs about Rs. 2000 to learn.
There are only a few paragliding pilots in India; about 150 or so. In other countries, more developed, a high percentage of people can fly; in some almost 50 per cent know how to paraglide. However, there is a definite improvement. Only a few years ago, there were only one or two instructors in Chennai, but now there are about 30 or so. There is still a vast scope for improvement.
Senthil Kumar is Director of CAF Adventure Sports
Sajith Gopinath, Toy/Game Designer
If there is a question regarding what a Chemical technologist has to do with Toy and Game, apart from the emphatic relation of selection of certain material and technology for the creation of products, let's say toys, there are not too many things in common at that point.
I am a keen observer, not only about objects and things around me but also about society and life in general, not necessarily only human beings.
The initial impression I had about the course was an interesting option to create learning aids and effective systems for education, basically for children. After being in this very interesting field for some time now, I've been exploring about developing a holistic understanding about the concept of “Play” and how the attitude of playfulness acts as a problem solver.
I have a Masters in Engineering in Plastic Engineering from UICT (University Institute of Chemical Technology) Mumbai before joining as a student in the PG programme in Industrial Design with specialisation in Toy and Game Design (TGD) at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. I have been working as a faculty in the same department for the past five years.
If I am going to place the concept of play as the driving force in this discipline, the possibilities are unlimited. There is a huge need for quality toys and products for children and even adults (like board games, digital games, puzzles etc), interaction and interfaces which are playful (for e.g mobile and handheld devices). Quality products are also required for education and edutainment, in the form of play spaces and parks, graphics, work space design, therapeutic products and systems for differently-abled, products for the aged etc. The instant one is able to create playfulness in a product, it becomes more of an emotional statement, and the overall value created is suddenly much higher. May be even as a choice, in a world grappling with the concept of sustainability, these products could be a way forward, to make people think twice before they dispose off something they closely hold on to.
Sajith is a faculty in Industrial Design, Department of Toy and Game Design, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
Rekha Haricharan, Sub-titlist
Cinematographer Madhu Ambat who was working in my husband's film “Thoovanam” suggested that I subtitle it. Having always been involved with films, it was easier for me to understand the nuances and make the subtitles more effective. I worked on Gautham Menon's “Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya” in 2010 and “Endhiran” in the same year. Since then there has been no looking back. Now I do subtitling for films in other South Indian languages too. In fact, I have done the subtitling for five out of the six films that won national awards this year.
Subtitling is not about literally translating the dialogue. One needs a basic understanding of filmmaking, know how to supplement words, have a bit of creativity and of course, must be good in English. I have done an online course on the basics of subtitling that teaches one how to format and on the basic principles. I am open to teaching people who are interested in learning and I have taught a few, but as I am tied down by my work I can hardly find time to do so.
If films are to be submitted for International film festivals, then they require subtitling. And quality subtitling can help a film reach out to such international platforms. Global audiences need to learn that the Indian film industry is not just Bollywood. Also in view of increasing awareness about international film festivals and about small budget, unconventional films or short films gaining importance, there is a growing need for quality subtitlists.
Rekha has worked as a subtitlist for films like “Enthiran”, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya”, “Payanam”, “Thoongaa Nagaram” and “Kaavalan”.
Vijay Sundraraman, Wildlife Photographer
I have always loved travelling, right from when I was a kid. And being an admirer of nature, spotting animals and various forms of wildlife in sanctuaries has always excited me! So it was only natural that I gradually developed an interest in photography.
I am a Visual Communication graduate from SRM Arts and Science College. Skillswise, what I think a wildlife photographer should have are:
Good knowledge about wild animals, birds, flora and fauna — their name, biological classification, habitat.
Adept at handling high shutter speed cameras, tele zoom lenses, hand-held cameras
Prepared to face all types of climatic conditions when on a photo shoot.
Ensure that the existing wildlife is not disturbed or damaged.
Wildlife photography is generally a seasonal job which requires a lot of travelling to wildlife reserves, sanctuaries and the like. So, only ones who have a penchant for travelling can do justice to this job. And wildlife photographers have a major role in creating awareness about the protection and preservation of the environment.
I had done a couple of theatre workshops and acted in a few plays. Even though I didn't officially do theatre in college, I have been into dramatics since childhood. I knew I wouldn't be happy at a typical 9 to 5 job, but I still needed to be financially secure. As I was looking for alternative options, I came across this post at a library, for the job of a storyteller. I tried it, and I liked it; so, I've been at it for more than a year now.
Basically, I started out with a CA degree, so there is no official education background needed as such. I have taken acting classes in the past, so I guess you could say that would be a good skill or training required. Most people who work with me or are in a similar field are usually interested in dramatics, and are looking to go into acting or teaching theatre.
It's a very nice line, because there is not much competition, as many people don't know about this field yet. Even those who would be qualified for this job are mainly looking at other dramatics careers, such as acting. You'll never be bored, as you would with a typical job, as here, each day is different from the others. So, for those youngsters interested in telling stories and entertaining the young, this is actually the right time to join!
For me personally, I might be taking a break to join acting full time, but I know I will return to storytelling, at least within the next few years. I definitely see this as something that I want to pursue for a long time in the future.
Divya Sivaramakrishnan, Yoga Instructor
I am an economics postgraduate, but after working for four years in the corporate world, I felt like I needed to do something else. So, I quit and was wondering what to do next.
A yoga workshop came up, and so I decided to train. I got hooked, and there was no looking back.
One thing that is a must-have for this job is an enthusiasm for yoga itself. You just start to realise how helpful it is for not only your own mental and physical well-being, but others' as well. So, a desire to make a difference is needed.
Once you have that, it is very easy to get into this line. Nowadays there are many yoga classes you can take to get trained, and there is no shortage of the different types of yoga you can get into. I am mainly into power yoga as of now. Also, if you are the type of person who is into dance or flexibility, or maybe if you just like working with bodies and understanding how they work, then this would be one path for you to consider.
The future seems very bright for this career. Everyone's interested in health, and yoga is about mental and physical health.
Chennai, especially, is very open and it's the perfect time for good yoga teacher. If you can bring a health and fitness perspective into it, then great! The field is very vast, there's diet, fitness, health, etc.
Talking about my future, I think that I'm going to be in this field for a long time. Since it's such a large area of work, I want to explore the different areas myself, to make it interesting for both myself and those that I am teaching. There's an endless amount of learning.
Divya teaches Yoga for celebs too including actors Gautami, Kamal Hassan and Trisha, to name a few .
Pnk Guru, Tea Taster, Tea Scientist and Business Strategist
When I started as a tea packer and merchant I observed that the traditional tea tasting methodologies were not very accurate. With my educational and research background I was able to develop new methodologies of tea tasting.
I am a postgraduate in Agriculture, with specialisation in Horticulture. I have 15 years of self imposed research and professional experience in tea tasting and blending tea for commercial purposes.
The profession of tea tasting would be preferred by tea entrepreneurs and the traditional methodologies would soon be obsolete.
Modern tea tasters will therefore have an opportunity to start new tea business ventures. The modern tea taster-cum-entrepreneur has a major role in maintaining good tea standards, which includes good taste, fragrance and colour.
Pnk Guru has authored the book Tea Taster which talks about the skills involved in becoming a tea taster and the various methods of tea tasting. He also conducts Tea Business Management Training and teaches about modern tea tasting procedures.
SAMVITHA RAM, Grade XI, American International School; SWETHA RAMACHANDRAN, III Year, B.Sc Advanced Zoology and Biotechnology, Ethiraj College for Women.