Inspired by scientist father and words of legendary CRN Rao CHANDRIKA KONWAR takes the ‘other’ road…..
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference”
Two years ago, at my relative’s place during Dusherra, my aunt asked me, “Now that you have taken science in your senior secondary, so what next?” I replied nonchalantly, “Graduation in general science.” She snapped at me, “General science!!! What happened to good old medical and engineering?” I tried explaining something that till date she and my so called well wishers haven’t understood, “My logic is simple. I loathe engineering and the machines and medical seems fascinating only in Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t have the patience to deal with people complaining of fever every day of my short life.” My statement would always be followed by my loving mom explaining the influence of DST-INSPIRE and innovation in science on me.
But still after my twelfth board exams, as any other science student I performed the ritual of giving numerous entrances with a confused mind and with the hope to satisfy my well wishers waiting for a family doctor in me by clearing the exams. NEET-UG results came out and surprisingly, I got my fair share of marks in the exams without any coaching. That was enough for me to land up in a state govt. medical college or the reputed private medical institutes but not in the best govt. medical colleges in the country. It felt like the entire world wanted me to be a doctor and I too was ready to greet “their choice” for me and be the next Dr. Christiania Yang like in Grey’s anatomy. But it was my mom who suddenly asked me, “Will you be happy as a doctor who more devotes more time to the ailing than to his family? Will you be able to bear it when your area of specialty will be decided by your marks in the MD exam and not by you?” And it dawned upon me that I was no different from the lakhs of students brainwashed and shoved into the rat race to be a doctor or engineer not by choice but by love and pressure of our so called well wishers who won’t even be around when your career will eat up the very spark in you. I was broken and depressed because I had no answer to the most revered question in my life, “What next?”
Then I realized, Graduation in general science is still there waiting for me, the road I had chosen for myself, the plan I had chalked out inspired by Prof. CNR Rao’s powerful words, my dad’s achievements as the vice chancellor of Nagaland Central University, the cool experiments being run in the Department of MBBT and Chemical Sciences in Tezpur Central University I grew up watching, the numerous conferences with intellectual people who share the same enthusiasm for general science and research I had the chance to be a part of.
Yes, I took the road less travelled by choice and today when I run my SDS-PAGE gel for protein purification in the Biochemistry lab as a first year student of Daulat Ram College, I feel the pride and satisfaction of living my dream, my choice. And hopefully one day, my so called well wishers will be forced to stand up and applaud for me when I design a drug or find the cure to a genetic disorder or head a pharmacological giant or university and most importantly inspire millions to take up general science as a career by choice and not by default.