"I am trying to get a project in Kerala"
"Then leave after you get it"
"No. I have made up my mind"
That was a short conversation between a guy and a girl i know. The guy was leaving the college (a college many dream to get in and still can't) because, apparently, he felt he will get better experience doing something more 'live' and 'actually hands on' like a live project. He still hadn't got the project.
"What a stupid decision", the girl said when she was out of his hearing-range.
Rationally thinking, she was right. Rationally is the way we are supposed to make our decisions, right? But what surprised me was not the fact that someone made this comment but the fact that that someone was from a design school. In a design school we are taught to look at things alternatively, to understand, if not agree on, difference in perceptions. Could it not be true that what was 'madness' to her, could be 'reason' to him? Can it not be that going out in the world and playing with the 'real clay' out there may have seemed to him more worthwhile than staying in the protective realms of the institute and playing with 'simulated clay'?? Or maybe he figured out what not to do (staying in the college) before he figured out what to do?? I do not know what his real reasons were. But what i do know is that as people who constantly talk about 'thinking out of the box' in front of an audience, it is time we thought out of the box when it comes to judging people, people who 'live out of the box'.
This incident made me ask myself a few questions. Like what is it that has changed in me in the deepest and most fundamental way in the last few years? And i realized that it was being less fearful of doing what i believed in. Less insecure about my future (at least inasfar as my career is concerned). What brought that about? Quitting my job. Quitting my "sacred, happy, comfortable, high-growth-potential, globe-trotting, justifying-my-technical-education, secure, high-marriage-market-value, nice-girl" job. Yes, it was easy for me because my parents did not kick me out of the house. But it was difficult because it meant disappointing them, so-called 'wasting' of my education for which i worked hard, opting out of the race that used to be at one point in time my raison d'atre, my highest ambition.
And i thank God and two of my friends who first came up with the idea of starting a business. The business did not work out and we all hit our lowest lows (not all the 3 idiots in the world end up with breakthrough patents and Kareena Kapurs :) ) but it made us more confident of our survival abilities. Even today, we are still unsettled in our lives, still clueless about where we will go. But that fundamental change has made us different people with reoriented priorities. It has taught us to look at the world inside-out (who you are --> what is your role in the world) rather than outside-in (what others think should be your role in the world--> defining who you are).
There is a lot i can share about this. And what i have said, in fact, does not say it in the best manner possible. After all, i still am in my random-half written-incoherent posts phase. Let me not have given you the impression that i am campaining for quitting jobs. That will make our economy chaotic! But let "quitting jobs" be understood as a metaphor for "doing what one believes in as a both thinking and thoughtful individual". And in that sense, "quitting your job" can be like "losing your virginity". Till as long as you don't do it, you are apprehensive about it. But once lost, you aren't afraid of it anymore and you realize how much of it is truth and how much myth.