Without the bare minimum score

I’m sure you’ve all been reading the news regarding how some colleges under the DU have put their cut-off score for their Honours course at 100%. The news came out when all of us were at lunch at the office. There was a unanimous sigh of relief from everyone at that table - we were done with our education. Quite obviously, that fleeting moment of elation turned into worry for those with kids still in school. I sat there wondering to myself as to how someone like me, an average joe (‘Joe’ jeeta wahi sikandar…sorry…had to say that) would survive in a world where even a 100% can’t ensure one get’s to choose their line of study. It’s a miracle how I managed to pass exams and even get a post-grad certificate, I shudder to imagine if I were part of this year’s batch.

Sometime later in the day, I was at home, and watching the news again where students were complaining as to how it was insane that they got 99.9% and were still not able to get a seat in that college and now had to think of alternate lines of career. Wheels turn in my hamster powered brain. What if I had not even got the basic score to do an engineering degree? Would I have forced myself to become street smart and find a job that did not require a graduation? What if I had taken a degree in the Arts, which I believe is a very undermined course here in India, supposedly meant only for dullards and those who grace the lower rungs of the ranks in class, something I held for a great many years in middle school. Maybe today I would have been a hotshot creative director at some big ad firm (Don Draper fantasy) or could have learnt sound engineering and been on the crew for a major rock band. I could have actually learnt what it is to make money from the stock market rather than comfortably wait for a pay-check at the end of the month. I could have become a salesman for some FMCG company and actually moved up the ranks by knowing some ‘real’ selling. I may have gone in for a course in mass communication where I am sure I would have done far better at, than in engineering. Maybe even joined film school and become one of these new age directors who make real movies and not masala flicks. Perhaps even a course in psychology and then become one of those fancy chaps who talks about how the mind works at Ted sessions. Unfortunately, I cleared the minimum cut-off to be admitted to an engineering course and in the process may have denied myself the joy of being part of the “un-gifted” crowd.

And here I am, part of the many simple rats in this race track that is getting very crowded because they allow people with slightly more than average scores, an access to higher technical education. The fact is that once you’re in the race, it is tough not to run along, even if it kills you. To all those who believe life has closed the door on your career aspirations, please remember that sometime you have to find the window to jump through, or tunnel through with a spoon. India is a whole new country and people without technical expertise can make great careers. It will be a longer road, and a tougher road, but I am sure you’ll love it. There is a life beyond engineering, medicine, law and science. Think arts.

And happy world music day!!!