It was 2008, and I was living in Chennai,working as a software engineer. I went through a phase of introspection after seeing the critically acclaimed film Slumdog Millionaire for the first time, in which, a kid goes from being a beggar to a millionare. What struck me was that he plays different roles and tries out various options to ensure survival. He starts off from the slums of Mumbai as a beggar. When he grows up a bit, he starts selling goods, then toys in trains, works as a tourist guide, a photographer, Chai-walla and gradually manages to move his way up to the corporate, learning the operation of a BPO on his own. In that moment, I was so envious of the main protagonist, Jamal Malik. There was always this pro factor for him of being a slum kid than being a kid born with a silver spoon. He did not have to think about the societal status and parental interference before taking any crucial decision of life. If you don’t have anything, there is no fear of losing anything!
I often used to think, had Jamal Malik been from a regular middle class family or upper middle class family,would his parents have allowed him to carry on with his life the way he did? With the growing trend of stereotypical higher education of either medical or Engineering in India, parents have already decided upon a kid’s future before he’s even born and I strongly felt that it is very necessary to break this trend and inspire the kids to chase their dreams.
Eventually, these thoughts took a backseat in my mind as I went on with my life, till one day I heard about One Week Job Project where Sean Aiken from Canada did 52 jobs in 52 weeks to drive people towards “Discovering their passion”. Thus, after much needed thought, I started the One Week Job India Mission in mid May 2013, which ended in December the same year, where I took a variety of jobs ranging from mountain cleaner to TRP Analyst, Tattoo maker to Rafting Trainee, Cremation Assistant to Tea Factory, Worker to Bullet Mechanic and more. I tried to cut down on the false sense of egoism I had earned though all the corporate experiences and higher edication degrees. That’s the main reason why I went ahead with all the different kinds of jobs that came across in my journey through 28 states where I did 28 jobs in 28 weeks.
Yes, the journey was difficult. Leaving the comfort zone to chase my dreams, not knowing what the future would bring wasn’t easy in the slightest, but the kind of contentment and the richness of experience, not to mention the immense personal growth that I attained makes every bit of the effort, worth it. I stromgly believe, that even if I can somehow manage to inspire 1000 kids through my story driving them to become what they really want to be, I would consider all my purpose solved!