I think I have cracked up or something. Honestly. For some very unknown reason, I have signed up for NaBloPoMo, yet again (short for “National Blog Posting Month” :in order to participate, you need to post at least one post daily for the entire month). Knowing my track record with doing any kind of disciplined writing, this is ridiculous. Especially now, when I don’t have time for anything, anyways. And yet I signed up! Told you, I have cracked up.
Anyway, it seems like Nablopomo has changed quite a bit since the last time I signed up for it. They have a theme now, now. No, it’s not a typo. That is the theme for June 2010: Now. And they have a writing prompt (hopefully, they will have it everyday. It will make writing daily so much easier, not that I am promising anything. Let’s take one day at a time). Today’s writing prompt says:
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A very straightforward question, I must say. Especially when asked to an Indian middle class kid. We are usually given two option with that question: engineer or doctor, and depending on whether you are strong in mathematics or biology, you pick one of them.
Even though, I always picked engineering as a kid when asked this question, yet I never really wanted to be one. Or, more honestly, I didn’t know what exactly being an engineer meant. I simply said that as that’s what was expected of me. Yet, during those times I secretly nourished yet another dream: to be a photographer for National Geographic magazine. Well that’s how I used to think. Now, at least I can correctly formulate that ambition: I wanted to be a wild life photographer. Of course, I never said that one out loud. I didn’t know how to achieve that ambition, anyways. Though I don’t think that that would have kept me from trying it.
My dream was shattered by a Discovery program. Yes, the Discovery channel’s program. The program I am referring to, was a showcase for exotic foods from different parts of the world. In this particular episode, they were eating FRIED COCKROACHES! The 15 year old me was terrified. Not because anyone could ever make me eat one of those, even if I was dying of starvation (Fried Cockroaches = Exotic food? Really? ), but because this episode made me realize that working as a photographer, visiting different countries and rain forests etc., will also mean eating a very different kind of food. I wasn’t sure that I could cope with that. And that was the end of that ambition.
Now, fifteen years or so later, I know I was right. Over the time, I have discovered that I can’t digest red meat and hence, I can’t eat anywhere and everywhere. Yet, I never gave up on that ambition entirely. Over the years, I have acquired a nice camera, the skill and techniques required. While doing that, I have also realized that I am happier while taking pictures of people than wildlife or nature or monuments.
The ambition has become a hobby (border lining with obsession, at times). There are good parts and bad parts of photography being a hobby and not a profession. Good part: I don’t have to deal with stress of getting a good photograph and hence, go for the “typical shots”. I get to experiment and take the pictures I would like to take. Bad part: I don’t get as many opportunities to hone my skills as I would have gotten being a professional photographer.
Life is so unexpected that way. So how about you? Any childhood ambitions/day-dreams that you might have given up or achieved?
P.S.: 1. As a kid (well a teenager, really), when asked about hobbies, I used to say, “Photography, even though I don’t have a camera, yet” . So my parents took the hint and gifted me a Kodak film camera on my 18th birthday. The best birthday present EVER.
2. Even though I didn’t follow my first ambition, I did find yet another field I was passionate about: Geophysics (it took me a while though). It has the right mix of mathematics, physics and field work for me. Besides being a day-dreamer, I was also a geek. I always loved mathematics and physics as subjects. I would have missed them, had I strayed away from science.