"What do you want to become when you grow up? You have to think, and draw a picture and bring it tomorrow morning. You have to draw a picture of a person you want to become when you grow up. If you want to be a lawyer, you have to draw a lawyer or doctor or teacher or Dasho or anyone. Okay Class?"
"Okay Madam!", all shouted. It was Class III C, and in one of those moments, when everybody shouted out their lungs, and for a while, when there was vacuum of silence : I shouted : Engineer! I will draw an engineer.
Unlike other teachers, she smiled and gave me a smirk, and said with her smirking lips: Yes, you can draw an engineer Dawa! Make it a big black one, just like you!
To this, the whole of class laughed, of course, some holding their bellies and some emptying their lungs. I didn't die that day, nor had I taken it to my heart - ironically, I remember most of my memories vividly, a gift and a curse bestowed upon. But the journey towards ambition itself was quite murky. At one point, I wanted to be a truck driver, another moment I wanted to become a scientist, a mathematician, a writer, an artist, an architect, astronaut, professor, engineer, and the list went on - anything that was under the sun.
Now, I am not mad that it was a comment towards the tone of my skin, but I would like to question a simple thought - why do we have ambitions? And why are we directed towards being someone, sometime in our lives? I mean, why have ambitions when we were third graders? Even pubic hair would flourish half a decade later.
During those days, in collaboration with foreign aided organizations, a group of folks made tonnes of money, writing manuals or compendiums for Career Counselling. I remember when I was a Eleventh grader, that I memorized the skills to be an engineer and an architect. It said, need to know how to drive.
Fast forward two decades, I realize that the manual was written by someone who had taken liberal arts and that folks with charismatic grip upon words could climb the pyramid of capitalism - even if it took decades to unveil his bullshits.
My concern as I hit my early thirties, I see young kids who may not even know how people clean their buttholes, that there are two types of people in the world, wipers and washers. I feel sorry for these kids who decide their careers and ambitions at such tender ages, and I too feel sorry for the younger me. Some say they want to become a Neurologist or Neuro Surgeon or something, and not to forget how the social media lauded a kid who wanted to become sweeper.
A life without goals or ambitions is directionless, it is often heard and said. But, aren't these kids too young to formulate ambitions at tender ages? If we run down the probability, only three out of thirty four kids go on achieving what they desire to achieve, that is like around 11.7% of them. Rest select courses which they are offered. Later stages, while we grow up, we wonder why so many folks lack passion upon what they do.
Today, in my thirties, I realize that my dreams which were pinned upon hopes and which formulated my own ambitions happen to differ time to time. At times I wished I had taken Law or Electronics or Computer Science, and at times, I am just thankful for my career. And there are days of melancholic regrets for not pursuing liberal arts, especially when I see pretty faces around.
And I reckon, it is just the same for many, that they succumb to solaces in their heads, for the hopes and dreams shattered, they might as well be thankful for where they are, doing what they are doing and being who they are.
In between, it is important to realize, that just mere ambitions don't define us, it is our own stages of contentment that describes us. That life is more than ambitions, for many in Australia or America who left this beautiful country, never would have contemplated in their pasts, that they would get their degrees and leave for different jobs in different countries. That some bright folks after getting their PhDs, would work for conglomerates and who would have thought, a Dzongkha Lopen would become a Dzongda. When we, the adults are flexible over our next goals, why impose or put those kids upon situations over becoming what they haven't learnt to become. Perhaps, it is okay if you let little Dophu play football, and not make him study harder to become a doctor. Dophu might not even qualify for local clubs, but Dophu might be happy. And that's okay, because even folks with B.Arch. or LLB have opened up shops, a liberal arts graduate has become stock exchange broker, an engineer a writer, a writer a real estate developer, a dropout owner of big companies, and the list goes on.