This is a journal entry of a failed engineer who only found success and happiness when he decided to follow his long-cherished dream of becoming a writer. He now realises that following the herd is not just boring but is a sure way to fail. Read on!
Remember, I was only seven when I picked up one of Dad’s empty, discarded year diaries (they always handed him one of those at the beginning of each new year) and began to write. I guess, I always knew that I wanted to write. Even in those early days, as I flipped through volumes of Tinkles, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews… all I wanted to do is write.
Ma and Dad were thrilled at first. They thought it was ‘cute’. They loved reading my poems to visiting relatives and anyone who came by and enquired about me. But as the years went by, it started to get less ‘cute’. Every time, I picked a novel to read, they asked why I wasn’t working on my math problems considering how abysmal my marks were. Whenever I shared something I wrote, I was asked whether I didn’t have anything better to do.
So, I stopped. No, I didn’t stop reading or writing. I just stopped sharing it with them and the rest of the world. It became my dirty little secret.
Soon, it was time to pick a college. And even though I had superb scores in English and below average grades in Math and Science, I was duly pushed off into a Science course without any questions. The problem was not that I didn’t have the brains for math, my parents insisted. I only needed to work harder. And even though I didn’t agree with them, that’s exactly what I did.
We were a middle-class family, after all, and I couldn’t stand squandering my parent’s hard-earned money. If they thought that making an engineer would ensure that I was ‘better settled’ (by that they meant that I would be better off financially than they ever were), then, I wasn’t going to tell them otherwise.
But let me tell you, my best memories of college weren’t in the classroom. Instead, they were the times I sat under the trees on campus and wrote short stories. It was when I scribbled a poem at the back of my workbook while the teacher rambled on about Calculus. And when I managed to bag the top prize in all the writing competitions that happened during the cultural events in college.
When college was over and I came home with an engineering degree and a job, my parents were super proud. They couldn’t stop gushing about my fancy, new job at a top MNC. I wished I could share their excitement. At least, in college, I could squeeze in some time for writing. But at the job, it felt like I was chained to it all times. And as the days went by the noose only kept getting tighter around my neck.
Until the day, I was fired. My manager told me something that I knew all along – I wasn’t a good engineer. I never would be. The cat was out of the bag!
My parents were crushed, to say the least. For each day that I spent at home without a job, my dad’s worry lines only got deeper. My mother was more understanding. When she finally said that all she cared was about my happiness. I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I told her that I needed to be a writer and that was always my only interest. I showed her what I had written through the years and the prizes that I won. At the end of it, I saw something in her eyes that I never thought I would see (at least not after I told her all this). It was PRIDE!
It has been six years since that day. And, my god, has it been a rollercoaster ride. I started off with setting up my own blog. I started putting out my work for everyone to see and critique. As my blog started to win over readers, I sent in my applications to websites and magazines from across the globe. Slowly, word by word, I built my reputation and now have a lineup of dazzling clients who not just keep me busy but have also helped me hone my skills. Plus, my bank balance does not look too shabby! Last year, I was even able to take that Europe tour that I always wanted to.
Well, Dear Diary, if you are wondering why I am sharing all this today, it’s because I’m in a bit of a celebratory mood. I received an all-important e-mail today. A publisher wants to back my first novel! Isn’t that super exciting? I’m going to be an author! 🙂
Now that I have shared the big news, I must get ready. My parents are going to be here soon, they want to take me out for a special dinner because I have made them super proud!