"Psychology bhi koi subject hai? Paagal logon ko treat karna hoga tumhe. Khud paagal ho jaogi."
This was the reason why I was not allowed to pursue my favorite subject in Post Graduation — Psychology. That was the first time my parents made it clear that they weren't as broad minded as they liked me to believe. I was shattered because for once I knew what I wanted to do with my life. But alas, such was not God's will.
It seemed to me like my parents had double standards in the way they treated my elder sister and me. The reason being — she chose the more traditional field for her education.
Let me give you a simple background. I come from an Indian middle class family. While my elder sister was sent to America to pursue her MBA, I was not allowed to do my post graduation in Psychology because it is not a conventional field in our country. Here, your market value is based on what you study. For example, MBA, engineer, and doctor is what most parents want their children to be.
While I hold nothing against these professions, my only point here is that everyone should be allowed to study or work in a field of their interest as that produces the best results.
So while my sister was allowed to take trips with friends in a foreign country when it was extremely expensive to travel abroad, I was not allowed to even socialise with the people I knew very well in my own city. As a result, my education took a back seat because we were going through a financial crisis.
I was eventually forced to take up a job to sustain my family. I didn't mind it. I liked the independence but I still wished I could study more in life to pursue the field of my choice.
As my elder sister was supporting my family more than me in money terms, she started dominating the whole house. I was shocked as to why my otherwise very vocal father, decided to take a back seat then. My life became miserable ever since. I had to quit my job as a flight attendant and sit at home because I was not keeping well. My parents weren't happy and they became even more controlling. I was only allowed to meet my friends once in two weeks. A day more than that and my parents lost it.
I went through depression during this time, which only made things harder for me. The more they controlled me, the more I rebelled.
My mom said it was for my good only. In the meanwhile, my sister was enjoying her life and I couldn't help but wonder why I was being treated this way. I was always better than her in studies and more focused but somehow I wasn't allowed to study further. Oh wait, it was because I didn't want to be a part of the crowd. Ironic isn't it?
Now my family wants to decide what they think is good for me and my future. My pleas, my reasoning, my tears seem to have no effect on them because they feel I'm incapable of thinking clearly because I didn't do an MBA.
The things they say to me and the things they don't say affect me equally. I don't think I have any self-confidence left in me. Since I'm only a graduate, I'm unable to find a good job now. I feel sad because I see others doing so well and I'm stuck between these closed walls that seem to be closing in on me with time. I could have been successful too.
I feel unappreciated for who I am today and I feel conscious when I meet my friends at times. I feel like time is running out and I am losing my way for no fault of mine.
I firmly believe that the greatest burden for children is the unfulfilled lives of their parents. Children should be allowed to follow their heart, live life on their terms. We should learn by experiencing life and holding ourselves accountable for our mistakes rather than our parents.
Mom and Dad, if my sister can live her life the way she wants to, why do you control me so much? Do I make you conscious because I am not as successful as others around me?
It's frustrating because you made me choose this path and now my career is embarrassing you.
I feel like I'm incapable to stand up for myself, maybe that is my fault. That somewhere I feel guilty of not doing well and I am scared that if I stand up for myself now and defy what my parents want, I will hurt them.
It's a habit now, to oblige them.
The fact is that if everyone was to follow the conventional career path, we would have no teachers, no actors, no musicians, no wild life conservationists, and so many other meaningful professions. Maybe I am naive, but I guess I'm a romantic at heart. I have no dreams anymore, but maybe someday I can do something with my life that will give me satisfaction.
We all have our parts to play, and no one can play it better than us. I'll play mine some day.