Things Have an Odd Way of Working Out

Most kids want to be veterinarians or astronauts or sportspeople. Most kids want to wear capes and fly around the house. Most kids run out the door like puppies taken off their leashes. But when I was 15, all I wanted to do was to find those amazing people who had woven the stories in the books I read, see what they looked like, hear their voices, and know them. The worlds they had created were so alluring, I was sure that they were, too. My dream was to make other little kids feel that way about me. I wanted to be known by the stories I made up, the people I imagined into being, and the dreams I furnished for my readers. My success would come when I would become “She’s the one who wrote that?! WOW!”

Growing up makes you realize how truly free from material worries you were as kids. Nobody wonders how much being a superhero would pay, for example. Unfortunately for me, novels don’t come easy, and pull very little weight around the house, when it comes to paying the bills. So the route-map changes, and you set your sights on the next thing. Which is why most superheroes end up becoming a consultant at one of the Big 4, or most budding badminton players are in HR roles in IT firms… (Stereotypes bear no resemblance to any person living or dead, any connection is pure coincidence) Purely by chance, my stubborn refusal to give entrance exams led me into Media Studies. My folks knew “Ad people” and the father, being in the services, was not a fan of “media people”, and that was the extent of understanding of the sector. So quite obviously, I was either going to be Arnab or Amul.

Time passed, social media happened, and I forgot about the old dream of being an author. My boss was very displeased about my choice; he probably still believes I should have quit in the interest of art, honestly. But about a year and a half ago, I was at a client’s office, speaking to a startups & their teams, and they asked what it was that I did. “We’re the communication partners for these guys,” I said, “So, if you search for the company handle on Twitter, for example, that’s me.”

I got my reactions. The 15-year-old in me lived her dream that day, when she saw the awe, and acknowledgement of what she had created in the faces of her listeners. The dream of being an author had manifested into something very interesting. This may not be a published copy of a story of a young magician, but there is a created world, built conversations, and a little bit of magic. Every trending hashtag means she has created a story worth telling, every additional follower means that someone else picked her work off the shelf.

Perhaps I got lucky, and not every 15 year old can win the battle between passion & profession, but somehow I feel like a lot more of us are, lately.

Aashna Iyer