“I keep telling parents in Kerala why do you force your children to study engineering because of this old-fashioned idea that man is a highly desirable degree.
Yesterday a young man came to see me who was denied a visa to study his dream subject of politics and international relations. He got admission to the London School of Economics but the British turned him down for a visa because he had a bachelor’s degree in engineering and they said why would an engineer want to study international politics. I asked him the same question and he said because my dream was always politics but my parents forced me to study engineering and I had the marks therefore I did what my parents told me to do and I regret it very much today.
I’m so fortunate even though I belong to a much older generation than all of you that I had enlightened parents who’d never forced me to study what I didn’t want to. I still remember when we had to stream in class 9 we had to stream after our school so I chose humanities and my teachers were so upset. They called my parents to the school and they said this is our best science student he has come first in science his entire years in the school how can you let him go to humanities.
My parents, like other good Malayali parents, had wanted me to be a doctor an engineer. So they looked at me in shock and said what’s the matter with you why won’t you take science. I said because I can’t stand the subject and they said well you come first every exam and I said that’s because I know how to take exams but two days after taking the exam I forget everything I’ve studied in science, whereas you asked me about history or literature I can tell you even today.
I’m grateful to my parents that they respected my wish and let me enrol for Humanities and I have led the life I have led as a humanities graduate I continue doing well at exams and I’m sure that helped but at least studying what I wanted to study what enjoy what I enjoyed studying so that to my mind. This is one great lesson that I keep trying to drill into every parent I can come across.
Let your children study what they want to study they’re the ones who have to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. Don’t ask them to fulfil your dreams you wanted to be an engineer or you are an engineer and you want your child to follow but they don’t want to be an engineer. Don’t force them!”