A Dream That Will Never Come True

I spent an ungodly amount of my early childhood and teenage years dreaming about becoming a medical doctor. I got hooked early on thinking about it throughout the days and months when I was watching one of the top television serials of the time: Lifeline on Doordarshan. This was late nineteen-eighties.

That wonderful TV series, to a great extent, has changed the way I was thinking about myself as a person and what I should be doing to pursue something useful in life that goes all the way, in peace, to the retirement age, so to speak. Dreaming part is one thing but to have everything as per your dream – the practicality of it: regardless of whether it will work out as expected – is quite another.

As things stand now, I think I have a fairly good idea why I didn’t progress toward becoming what I had originally wanted to and I keep criticizing myself about it every day. Nevertheless, this hard fact of life had lain to rest a lot of angsty, emotional stuff that had once taken deep roots inside me to a clear resolution of sorts as I seem to have understood fully well that my dream will never come true, ever.

Despite that, something somehow remains, in trace quantities perhaps; and I am okay that while the reality was setting in, I wound up soothed from the weight of the unrequited dream even as I have discovered another dream en route to my adulthood. That’s why this opinion piece.

Hope, Wish, Fantasy…

Studying medical science perchance was not in my destiny’s good books, not a chance. Therefore, the story, so far as I could tell, would have dead-ended right at that point had it not been for the good, old-fashioned existential angst conjoined to the sentiment of my unrealized dream still wanting to keep me haunted like a boogeyman to this day and age. Now that the old dream had invariably turned into a cold distant memory of the past – all that remains now is a bittersweet aftertaste of it, however. Save for the feeling of butterflies in my stomach is still fresh.

Right Ho, Jeeves, but look at me, not even a typical tie-clad medical rep have I moved toward becoming! And I know how much this thing from way back has cost me personally.

As it happened, I shrank away from realizing my dream of getting into a med school after passing out from senior high (located on one of the most beautiful yet isolated outback regions of India’s Air Force Stations). Why? Because, first off, I didn’t want to be in step by impatient step with the exhausting uprising of my school babalog’s predictably boring professional aspirations deserving nothing but the Zenith that’ll ensure a bright future and all, and, second off, what got my goat was actually their guffawing chutzpah about other peoples’ non-engineering, non-medical aspirations deserving the Nadir that’ll guarantee a cup of tea at the most!

Little did they know that they were treating their career-making goals as mere future investments to make a lot of money and, perhaps, to pay for a luxurious lifestyle? In contrast, my philosophy of life was, thankfully, not as stereotypical and sensation-seeking as theirs. I was more or less an acquiescent, persuadable, and an amenable smiling young teenager who is also a delighted risk-taker. While they were playing it safe by choosing a “respected” and a “tried and tested” calling like engineering, I looked the other way gratefully uninterested. Even after all their bragging, I don’t blame them for their, well, attitudinal problems towards next-gen non-conventional streams that were gradually coming into vogue. They did what they had a craving for doing: pursuing studies of their “choice,” that is. On the other hand, I did what I had a craving for doing: inhabiting a world where there are fewer Engineers but quality ones, that is. I sound surly but that’s an inescapable reality, you know.

Understandably, their fantasy of becoming an Engineer, no doubt, were coming true and goals too were getting accomplished and why the hellfire not? When you know the job of how to make that final push to get over the line, success is yours. Surprisingly, even the buck-toothed chap I used to know once upon a time from my plus-two (senior high) school days did well for himself. Being a Bucky – this guy looked like a poor man’s Freddie Mercury, not of the Balsara stock but of the Sribathtub from the dusty hinterlands of ‘BIMARU states’ – was no hindrance for this gigantic long-limbed Goliath to win his khetibaadi(agribusiness) battles, apparently! But, regrettably, most of these ill-tempered school blokes of which this Bucky was, sort of, an inseparable gang member, all zealously milk-toothed they were, aspired either for ‘Engineering’ or ‘Medical’ degree or nothing as if no other career option ever existed in the pecking order! (What about trees, birds, woods, water, and Antarctic ice when we talk about human fools impacting our planet Earth?) Go figure.

As for me, well, the least said the better because, you know, I had to blink and squint and miss the bus of possible opportunities of making to a medical school; yes, I still despised doing any of the oversaturated streams of the cuckolding engineering degree. Hence, neither did I become a doctor of humans nor of animals nor even of plants nor fowls.

I, as though of some kind of contraband hemlock I had drunk, however, could merely manage and fumble to become a lifelong student of my first-loves: zoology and biology, without professionally becoming a Biologist or a Botanist or a Zoologist that is! How senseless of me. I know, I know, that’s life. But software engineering came much later.

By the way, talking about Bio- and Zoology, it is definitely conciliatory to know that the world is ours and where we come from, but definitely not so when you realize where we are going to go and where we are going instead. With all the Earth’s climatic change, global warming, rising temperatures, and animal and plant species extinction we see and hear but do nothing about, we, beyond any doubt, are going nowhere clean but straight to an unhygienic HELL to burn! However, that’s a different sorry-ass story of mankind’s need and greed we better not lecture about because it doesn’t go down well with anyone, barely ever did I think, least of all greedy Engineers, to resolutely do something to save our planet, our only home.

With a withering mother Earth, how could I become an Engineer? What will I engineer? In my humble viewpoint, I’d say Earth doesn’t need any Engineer, it needs Biology. Migrate to Mars, O plundering Engineers of the world; that Red Planet most likely needs Engineers more than our Earth does! Go away there.

How about getting back to the point, on our beloved planet Earth? Here we go…

While it is still a great thing for me to appreciate that terse “Ignorance is Bliss” proverb cannot (no longer, nope!) be used on me, I insist that it was not due to some ignorance concern that I did not pursue my dream of becoming a medical doctor. I had a fairly good arsenal of ambitions no doubt – and I credit none but my parents with instilling it in me, I think it was rather the scare of rigour (ragrapattiin Hindi) and the scary thought of grossing out my friends that this humble mimosa pudica (shy plant) of a person wouldn’t really be keen on, compared to others who grossed out each other (with pleasure!) for catching the infectious disease of success and achievement and put our planet on a perilous path of destruction. (That is just a perspective, nothing else).

I think this kind of willful bad behaviour of grossing out friends to study your lessons inflicts too much of an irreparable damage on everyone. I for one could never tolerate or live with such a thing, and so I swiftly moved away from these foolish chaps and their scheme of things which surely will stand to fall afoul of what I term the principle of great unconditional friendship. Added to that laconic problem is the fact that the rat race doesn’t ever stop at the med school, it never stops there; it begins and ends never! Now, that was really too much for the scuttling teenager in me to handle.

Still, how can one just be ignorant of one’s own beloved dream of becoming a medical doctor never getting fulfilled? One cannot simply be as ignorant as not being able to realize one’s competence levels and long-term commitment constraints before proceeding any further on fulfilling the dream. So kindly don’t patch the term ignorance on me just to make yourself feel good. Oh gosh, that would be demeaning, a taboo I fear so so much to bring it upon me.

Having felt all that I’ve felt up till now, I can sincerely say that for some people Life cannot always be neat and tidy so that you’ve everything sorted at the end. I still like saying that I look to the Past to live fairly well in the Present but, having said that, I don’t necessarily have to look to the Future, do I? What is there in the future? Mars? That Red Planet? Oh come on, Humankind, don’t give me that science fiction poo again!

I’ll leave it at that. Too complicated to go in there. Phew!

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