Ever since I was a little boy I have always been inclined towards doing creative things. As a child I enjoyed picking up a pencil and drawing whatever came to my mind. I loved folding paper, cutting, sticking and a whole lot of other craft activities. My mother always encouraged me to do this and never made me feel any different. I found this much more enjoyable than the cliche things like cars, bikes, cricket, wrestling, etc., which many of the boys of my generation were into.
As the years progressed, I began to enjoy it even more. I never really took it very seriously but later I began to go for art class after repeated persuasion from my mother (because I was too lazy at that time and also extremely shy). However I never thought to take these skills forward and transform them into a profession. It always remained a hobby for me right till I entered college for engineering.
As I neared the end of my high school and started thinking of what to do, I read about the National Institute of Design (NID), which is India’s topmost and one of the world’s best design schools. I was surprised to find out that there were so many fields in the realm of design itself. I particularly took a keen interest in Product Design and decided that it was the ideal course for me. I was also interested in doing architecture and searched for the top architecture schools as well, but Product Design always remained in the back of my mind. However, despite my excitement about pursuing these fields, I was also scared of taking them up because I did not know a lot of people in these areas. Everyone around me seemed to be taking either engineering or medicine and I didn’t have any courage to take this decision. Thus, I gave in to what I believed at that time to be a huge uncertainty.
At school, I was a good student. Therefore, I took up science for my 11th and 12th and I must confess that I did like it a lot at that point. Product Design went out the window and I decided to take the easy way out and joined the massive band wagon of Engineering that exists in India. I enrolled for coaching classes to prepare for the top Engineering colleges like the IITs and NITs. The hobby so dear to me took a back seat for these two years in this hectic time which a lot of students in India go through every year. I cracked most of the exams and got Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal, which is one of the country’s top NIT. The field was definitely very interesting and had a lot of scope. It is without a doubt one of the most rapidly growing areas despite what most people say. A lot of people will tell you lots of stuff about engineering from their own perspective and it can be misleading to youngsters who are not well informed. I suppose the same happened to me and even though I was fairly good at the subject I never really enjoyed it to my heart’s content. I realized then that you don’t have to enjoy something to be good at it. However, I longed to do something I really loved.
During my second year of engineering at NITK, there was this rush to get into the best clubs in college. The technical clubs were considered something really great and I did not get into even a single one. Though I was disappointed, I applied to another club called the Artists’ Forum, a small yet very closely knit group of people that were very passionate about art. After failed attempts at other clubs I finally got into this club and this is where my life turned around.
The Artists’ Forum at NITK was basically a whole bunch of people who were just like me. The club was responsible for decorating the campus during college festivals, designing posters, putting up huge exhibits and a whole bunch of other creative activities in college. We really enjoyed our work and took it very seriously. However, we also took time out to have loads of fun time together and we were more like a family. During my final year at college, I became the Convener of Artists’ Forum and led the club for an entire year. We did a lot of amazing stuff and I will always remember the good times I had here. Leading the club also helped me learn a lot of managerial skills as well, which became a plus. Artists’ Forum is now one of the most sought after clubs in NITK.
I opened up as a person in this club and rekindled my old hobby that had taken a back seat. I was able to make it larger than ever because as a group we achieved tremendous things. My experiences at Artists’ Forum coupled with my experiences in my engineering programme made me feel it was time that I moved to something I truly liked. I felt I was bold enough now to make a life-changing decision. I wasn’t going to completely ditch engineering. It is after all very useful to know engineering as well if one has to be a product designer. More so if one has learnt about either Mechanical or about Materials Engineering. I have learnt a lot at NITK in the four years I have been there and have absolutely no regrets.
The old thoughts of taking up Product Design became solid in my final year of engineering and there was no looking back. I applied for NID during my final year of engineering and after three stages which included a written exam, a studio test and an interview; I emerged successful and got admitted into this fine institution. It was at the interview I realized that all my experiences up until that time, whether be engineering or Artists’ Forum made a strong case for me to be admitted to product design at NID.
Now that I am finally at NID doing Product Design, I realize that this place and what it offers me is surely where I will find what I am meant to do. It is my true calling and I finally enjoy what I am doing. Since I love my work I rarely get seriously stressed out. You may even say that being stressed out has become a little bit of fun. There is a saying, “If you do what you love every day and make it your profession, you won’t have to work a single day.” I now realize the importance of finding your true passion and to not give up until your dream becomes a reality. You may not always find it at the exact time you want it to happen. That really doesn’t matter. Each of us is different and we take our own time to figure out what we really want to do in life. The important thing is to continuously persevere and work hard towards your passion and your dream. Opportunities come knocking at your door in the most strangest of times and places. Make sure you are ready when it comes and never let it just slip away.
If I had to tell you one thing which you must always keep in mind, it is this:
“Never give up on your dreams and always work hard to achieve them. In the end, it will all connect and it will all be worth it.”