And I’m not talking about the REM kind but about the ones that we envision with our eyes wide open. I’m not exactly who you would call a ‘dreamer’. I like to think that I am a practical person, always only yearning for such things that I foresee can come true in the future. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be bound by such rules but that is who I am.
From a young age, I’d dreamt of becoming a doctor. I was always in awe of doctors and how they could actually know what is wrong with you just by listening to your heartbeat and listening to your symptoms. And they could also save lives. I was fascinated by science and particularly, medical science. I remember being very interested in Biology in school. At my plus 2 levels, I chose to major in Botany and Zoology. I was all the time prepping myself to do well in the Common Entrance Test, which is the entrance exam for medical and engineering schools in the place I grew up in. I did reasonably well too.
And then the inevitable happened. I found out about the fees. It was, what seemed to be to me then, a humongous amount, even for a merit seat . I had sleepless nights just thinking about how my parents could ill afford my fees and how it would affect my sisters’ education after me, if I decided to go ahead. I knew that my parents would never say no, if I wanted to enroll into medical school. And then I made a very silly but important decision. In my naivety, I didn’t tell them what I was thinking. I just said I don’t want to enroll into medical school any more. I said I just wanted to do my Bachelor’s in Biology. My mom was surprised. She coaxed me a little to try and consider engineering at least but I would have none of it. So finally, I went and enrolled into a college for a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology. I remember dad had to pay my fees for the entire three years upfront, as the college was worried that someone with such high marks will enroll and then quit the moment they got admission into med/engineering college.
And just like that, I gave up my dream. Looking back, it was such a silly decision. I could have taken a loan that I could have paid back in due course. There are so many things that I could have done. I should have at least spoken to my parents about it. But I was scared that they wouldn’t let me ‘sacrifice’ and would make me go to medical school. But don’t let that make you feel sorry for me. I ended up in a good great place.
When I come to think about it, I am so happy I didn’t enroll into med school. If I had, I would never have met R. And I’m happy with my life now, just the way it is. I have a doctorate, just not the medical one. I ended up doing a PhD , which I think is pretty good too. I am now involved in understanding what else is happening in the human body and making drugs that can enable the doctors to cure illnesses. I like to think that I am still in my own small way contributing towards making the world a better place.
Then again, one is never too old to dream a new dream. When old dreams get lost, newer ones make their way into that space.