As someonewho has applied to various higher study programs, I am no stranger to narratingthe story of my life, at the least the parts I think have been most influentialin shaping who I am today. However, as I tried to compose ‘my story’ in itsentirety, some surprising themes emerged that seemed to have influenced most ifnot all the important choices I have made. Looking back, it appears that all mysteps to reach where I am today were carefully planned.
Yet, I cannot shake thefeeling in my reconstruction I am deliberately omitting the decisions that didnot work out as expected. When you growup in a city such as Kolkata where abundance of human life makes it merely a dispensablecommodity, you really have two broad, mutually exclusive ways you start toregard life. Either you treat it as if you can replace one life with another oryou develop a fascination for life. You start believing that everyone has aresponsibility to learn, care for, and preserve life in any form. Fortunately, myfamily having successfully grown out of adversity always emphasized theimportance 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 careerchoice was obvious to me from an early age.
Yet, in reality, when the timearrived to forgo other options, ‘taking the decision’ was not quite as simpleas ‘making the decision.’ The valuesthat 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 acceptedcareer path. The ‘best and brightest’ in my state or my country do not pursuescience. Their future more often than not entails a career in engineering or a medicalprofession. Either path offers lucrative and more abundant job offers than onein scientific research.
But, following a scientific career would allow me toutilize my talent efficiently to do what I love while allowing me to contributesignificantly to the society. I realized that was something I was not ready togive 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 hesitationto stand by me and offer me unequivocal support. With their encouragement, Iembarked on a journey I always aspired.