Since childhood, I’ve been many things (in my imaginary world). I wanted to join a band as a guitarist and be a dog trainer amongst many other things. However, when grown-ups asked the most redundant question of all, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, my staple answer would be, “I want to be a journalist like my dad”. That answer made me feel proud as many elders, especially aunties and grannies, would become teary-eyed; and uncles and grandpas would either shake me thoroughly or give enormous pats on my back for such a bravado!
To think back, that was such a cliched response from the stipulated genders! It was expected women to be loaded with emotions and whimper at the hint of sadness, and the men should be like iron – cold and emotionless. But that’s how it was back then. However, now, in retrospect, I see, how different my mommy was. She was obviously nurturing and kind and of course laden with emotions, but she also had her emotions well under control. She worked her ass off like a worker bee, both at her job and home so that I could have an awesome life.
She is still different. She is my rock!
Anyhoo, getting back to the subject…
The reason, why being a journalist was my staple answer, was rather simple. People are interfering. I speak from experience. I had once confessed that I wanted to be an actor. So many well-meaning elders had told me clear cut that it is not something that “girls from good families” become. “You have to sell your soul to the devil to be a famous star”, they had said. Their next step was to categorically complain to my grandparents that I wished to be an actor and how rotten I was becoming. The final step was to jibe some nasty comments, but mind you, all in good and well-wisher kind of way.
I learnt my lesson early and stuck to being a journalist like Dad! The safest bet.
Dear friends here is the secret that I am spilling today, I wanted to be many more things than just a journalist. As a child, life was wonderful and I was a wide-eyed kid always expecting miracles. Preferences and hence probable career choices obviously changed with age.
I wanted to be an actor and act in theatres with my Uncle. At one point I wanted to be a traffic cop, then a fruit vendor. Eventually, I wanted to own and work in my own bike repair shop. At one point in time, I was seriously contemplating on becoming a Professor or a Journalist. Lastly, the most occurring dream of mine was to become the most feared and revered Gangster of history. My enemies will know no-mercy from me and I will be all benevolent and merciful towards the innocents (read animals). Of course, my base of operations, the HQ will be in Mumbai, or Bombay, as we called it then.
Now I am officially middle-aged, and have the luxury to ruminate how hopeful and at times rather silly the child-me was. Although none of those careers panned out, all I can say is that life has been pretty good to me.