As all the important choices I have

As someone
who has applied to various higher study programs, I am no stranger to narrating
the story of my life, at the least the parts I think have been most influential
in shaping who I am today. However, as I tried to compose ‘my story’ in its
entirety, some surprising themes emerged that seemed to have influenced most if
not all the important choices I have made. Looking back, it appears that all my
steps to reach where I am today were carefully planned. Yet, I cannot shake the
feeling in my reconstruction I am deliberately omitting the decisions that did
not work out as expected.

 

When you grow
up in a city such as Kolkata where abundance of human life makes it merely a dispensable
commodity, you really have two broad, mutually exclusive ways you start to
regard life. Either you treat it as if you can replace one life with another or
you develop a fascination for life. You start believing that everyone has a
responsibility to learn, care for, and preserve life in any form. Fortunately, my
family having successfully grown out of adversity always emphasized the
importance of ‘fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves.’ For me,
science was the best tool to improve and impact human lives. Thus, my career
choice was obvious to me from an early age. Yet, in reality, when the time
arrived to forgo other options, ‘taking the decision’ was not quite as simple
as ‘making the decision.’

 

The values
that drove me, or at least the ones I thought were influencing my decisions,
were almost trumped by the lure of a financially secured and socially accepted
career path. The ‘best and brightest’ in my state or my country do not pursue
science. Their future more often than not entails a career in engineering or a medical
profession. Either path offers lucrative and more abundant job offers than one
in scientific research. But, following a scientific career would allow me to
utilize my talent efficiently to do what I love while allowing me to contribute
significantly to the society. I realized that was something I was not ready to
give up. Any remaining doubts I had dissipated when I talked to my family.

Whatever dreams my parents had for me, it did not take them a moment’s hesitation
to stand by me and offer me unequivocal support. With their encouragement, I
embarked on a journey I always aspired.