Sharat S. Srivatsa
BANGALORE: A decade ago when young N. Vinay announced his decision to drop out of his engineering course to pursue a career in flying, it caused a minor tsunami in his family. They saw it as an impulsive move, fuelled by youthful fancy. How could he? He would have a dream job waiting at the end of his course, which he was spurning for a shaky career in the nascent aviation sector.
Today, as he trains budding paragliding enthusiasts, his family has no regrets. Says Vinay: "It was tough to convince my parents about my choice as it was an unconventional course. I finally convinced them by sheer determination."
However, not many youngsters have the conviction take radical decisions to chart out careers in fields other than the vicious triangle of engineering-medicine-management, leave alone making their parents see things their way. Even as myriad career options are opening up for the young, most youngsters, moulded by parental expectations and peer pressure, dare not venture out of conventional streams. In several cases, parents would have decided the careers their offspring would pursue.
This reporter was witness to some vociferous parental anxiety recently. "What will my daughter do if she cannot secure excellent marks? She may not get a good course in such-and-such a college? What happens to her future if she does not get into the science stream?" were some of the existential dilemmas tearing them apart.
Needless to say, counsellors and psychiatrists are also increasingly witness to such "middle-class" agony. A supreme irony considering we live in a new competitive, globalised world which is throwing up new vistas for employment.
Not all is lost though. There are institutions and people who are seizing the opportunity and showing our young people the way. Several schools are helping children realise their potential by connecting with the young minds. Gayatri Devi, Principal, Little Flower Public School, invites resource persons to her school regularly to discuss alternative careers for children.
She says: "We counsel parents to allow the children to pursue the career that they want and rely on the aptitude of the children to suggest alternatives."