IIT: everybody’s dream?

The Class X topper was passionate about Philosophy, but his domineering parents wanted him to study at IIT.

He entered IIT with JEE Rank 25. His parents felt truly alive!

Everybody thought he would be on top of the world, but he was depressed. 3 months later, he contemplated suicide.

But he decided, “Why should I end my life? I’ll live my life! Tough luck, Dad and Mum”

He quit IIT, enrolled for B.A. (Philosophy). His parents were shattered, but he felt truly alive!

By a curious coincidence, after completing M.A., he joined IIT’s Humanities Department to do his Ph.D.!

This true story (with some small but significant changes) has been written for 100 Words on Saturday at Write Tribe (Prompt: Truly Alive).



32 thoughts on “IIT: everybody’s dream?

  1. During my engineering days, I did have some friends who would get depressed at the ‘choice’ of studies that has been thrust upon them.. I respect a friend of mine, who quit engineering in the first sem and went on to become a pilot

    • I hope you don’t disrespect those friends who continued with engineering despite not liking it. Perhaps your pilot friend had the financial ability to do what he did. Perhaps the others had financial constraints and other pressures.

      • You are right, his parents could support his pursuit of becoming a pilot.

        As for other friends / students who are stuck with their engineering and cannot afford to switch studies due to a financial, time or other personal strains..I don’t disrespect them.. They are in a tough situation, I just wonder at the futility of the system and thoughts of the people who put them in a course they don’t like

  2. Parental pressure on career choices these days has to be strict no-no. Read Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” where he compares children with arrows in their parents’ bows!
    I’m in touch with many IITians. Raghuram Rajan is also an IITian. I wonder to what extent IITians have actually effectively made use of the Technology Education in later life. I’m open to corrections if I’m proven wrong in my assumptions.

  3. You know, this is so true and yet so rare. The concept of doing what your heart feels is getting a popular concept. I remember when YehJawaniHaiDeewani was released, there were debates doing rounds on FaceBook. A teacher (a very knowledgeable and respectful one) retorted saying that “these movies are glorifying that children should have fun, bunk classes, not follow what parents say. But, actually there’s no shortcut to hard work and that’s what kids are missing here”
    But more than that I wonder, and more so wish, to be able to bring up my son to the level where he knows that this is what he really wants to do. I’ll be more than happy to give them the freedom to chose his profession or line of study. But, would he be grown up and mature enough to know exactly what he wants at the age of 14/15 (that’s when they chose Commerce/Arts/Science)? When I think back of my time at that age, I didn’t know whether I wanted to do Engg or not. I wanted to take up Commerce because I didn’t use to get very good marks in Science. I was just getting an A there when I used to get O in others. Bahh! So, you understand the predicament here? Children and their choices are very much guided by their marks and their peer’s liking/disliking sometimes. How to guide them in the right direction?

  4. My mother had this dream of me being an IITian but I went on taking commerce. I feel blessed that they understood my choices and I shudder to think what if they had forced me.
    My heart goes out for those who are forced to do something which they do not enjoy

  5. I have a regret too. I wanted to shift to Computers from Electronics in the first year itself. It didn’t happen because I didn’t try. And even now I pay the price. 🙂 One should listen to what the heart says and not what somebody else advises. We can only be happy doing what we love to do. 🙂

  6. It’s good that the person went for what he wanted. Sadly not everyone could do that! I am sure this person has truly felt alive when he got to do what he wanted. Nice take.

  7. Nice post, I am lucky enough to have had parents who supported my choice as far as studies and profession went and I therefore have no regrets whatsoever.

    Your post highlights the rat race phenomenon in the country where every kid is supposed to write his IIT JEE soon after the 12th Board Exams, do an engineering or medical degree and get to work. Wonder when parents will realize that there is a completely different varied world out there which has job opportunities for all kinds of kids, bright, dull, smart, dimwits, as long as they are willing to learn on the job and stay committed. Wonder when parents will realize that engineering and medical degrees are not the end of the world.

    • The general attitude is:
      A student who does well in Science and Maths must take up Engineering.
      A student who does well in Science, but not in Maths must take up Medicine. If not Medicine, then Dentistry.
      A student who does well in Maths, but not in Science must take up CA.
      There are times when I think that students who do not perform so well in both Maths and Science are lucky when it comes to choosing careers because their parents generally do not have ‘high’ expectations.
      Of course, there is also the issue of availability of seats in any stream being considerably lower than the demand.

  8. Good to read the true story. It is a happy incident if he is happy in what he is doing.

    We thought our son would join IIT but he just folded the answer paper without writing anything…Wrote SAT, got top marks, got admission in 5 premium colleges in the US, and joined a no.1 college with 94% scholarship! He is there for the past many years now, doing PhD. Never came home. We go and visit him.

    We just wanted him to be happy but was it a right decision? I don’t know. We knew that he was toooo intelligent and let him do what he wanted.

  9. Beautiful. I liked the choice he made; Living to Dying.
    I believe one should always pursue their dreams even if it hurts others for a while. In the end that is what will prove to be good and right for all. 🙂

  10. Life came to a full circle for him. He left IIT to pursue his heart and returned to IIT albeit in another stream. Loved your post.

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