A Decade on

It’s been 10 years now. 10 years since I finished my Year 10 exams and made a decision to take up Arts.

For those not from Bombay/India, the school system is such that the Year 10 school certificate exam has somewhat more importance than the HSC or Year 12 exams. That’s because you choose your stream (Arts, Commerce or Science) after Year 10. And that, in turn, determines your career path. It’s a bit restrictive especially if you choose Arts or Commerce because you can’t change to Science after Year 12. On the other hand, if you go with Science in Years 11 and 12, and then change your mind, you can move to any other field. To cut a long story short, Science is given more importance, followed by Commerce, whereas Arts used to be considered a field you didn’t choose — rather it was one you had no choice but to do because you didn’t get a good enough mark to get into Science or Commerce.

During my Year 10, I had made up my mind. I was not going to jump on the science bandwagon like everyone else I knew.

I hated physics and chemistry. I didn’t particularly want to work with numbers or in the business sector. That left me with Arts as a choice since I loved English (The plan then was to become a journalist).

My dad had no problem with my choice. My mum, while she didn’t have any problems initially, got a tad influenced by “well-wishers” who thought I should do Science as it would open up more opportunities for me. Plus, since I actually had the marks to get into the Science stream, these people were all the more convinced I should do that. That’s Indian society for you…everyone wants to offer their two cents’ worth — even if they haven’t been asked!!

I can still remember my arguments to convince my mum that I was doing the right thing. I remember telling her that if I were to take up Science in Years 11 and 12, and then decided to change to Arts, given the fact that I’m not good at Science, I would end up with low marks in the HSC and it would make it more difficult for me to get into a good Arts or journalism college. The second argument was how I would be saving them money because not taking up Science meant I wouldn’t be going for all the extra tuition that costs thousands and thousands of rupees.

In the end, she bought the arguments and stopped listening to people who did not matter.

The rest, as they say, is history. I got into one of the best colleges for Arts in Bombay and needless to say, 5 years there changed my life. It changed me as a person. It broadened my mind and my horizons. And I am so grateful for that.

More importantly, I’m glad I was stubborn and stuck to my guns.

By the way, there were some “well-wishers” who had something to say about my choice of college due to its historical reputation of smokers and potheads. My take on that: Don’t I have a fucking brain of my own to make up my own mind?

Yes, people said I had changed. But I’m willing to bet they will say that again now that I’ve been in Australia for 4 years.

Do I regret anything?


I do think I made the right choice in terms of my major…journalism was not meant for a social phobic like me.

Psychology is giving me all I could ask for — challenges, something new every day, interacting with people on a one-to-one or small group level.

A decade on, I am not the nervous 15-year-old standing in line for admission into the college. Yes, I’m still stubborn. But now, I voice my opinions a lot more. I’m a lot more confident than I have ever been. I love what I do.

And most importantly, I am happy with who I am — something I probably wasn’t at 15.

Until next time,


You Might Also Like

  • Kartikey
    28 April 2009 at 7:26 am

    That’s Indian society for you…everyone wants to offer their two cents’ worth — even if they haven’t been asked!!
    The Indian society can kill you. We have among the highest cases of suicides by students. Yet, yet, yet, we boast of a superior education system. We know more maths and science than the foreigners, but not how to live.

  • Psych Babbler
    28 April 2009 at 7:34 am

    @ Kartikey: I agree on the education in that I think we were taught English and maths in a much better way (I slept through Science so can’t remember!). Our English is better than those from English-speaking countries…as I have noticed here. But having said that, after the 10th std, it’s a bit too restrictive. And yeah, I think society needs to chill out a bit…become a bit more laid back. πŸ™‚

  • Smita
    28 April 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I felt I was reading my story…

    I decided to take Arts post 10th because I knew I didn’t have the aptitude for science and luckily my parents didn’t protest much but yes there were well wishers and relatives who kept prodding, “she is good in studies why are u letting her take arts”.

    Thankfully times are changing and arts or for that matter unconventional streams are getting acceptance…

  • Ersa
    28 April 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Way to go, I say…I admire the fact that you stood up for what you wanted and did it in spite of all the unwanted advice, etc.

    “Don’t I have a fucking brain of my own to make up my own mind? “
    – Now that is something that goes through my mind every now and then. Why can’t some people understand that we can think for ourselves and won’t end up doing stuff just cause others do it. Damn…

  • Psych Babbler
    29 April 2009 at 8:58 am

    @ Smita: U r kidding! However, it explains why we ‘get’ each other via blogs…great stubborn minds think alike!

    @ Ersa: Yeah…if only people could understand that not everyone does things without thinking!! πŸ™‚

  • Mad Blogger
    29 April 2009 at 10:07 am

    Beautiful blog… Infact I went through lots of your previous posts.. Very interesting style of writing πŸ™‚

  • Smita
    29 April 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I know πŸ™‚

    Have I asked for ur sun sign???

    Tell me it is Capri πŸ˜€

  • Psych Babbler
    29 April 2009 at 9:19 pm

    @ Mad Blogger: Thanks for visiting!! And thanks for the lovely comment… πŸ™‚

  • SSQuo
    7 May 2009 at 6:13 pm

    πŸ™‚ I like this post because I too did well after 10th and was ecpected to take up Science. I chose not to, went to the best commerce college in bbay and am very happy with my choice.

    I was also very involved in extra curricular activities in school and i told my parents I couldnt do it if I took science, moreso my piano which required long hrs of practice. How then could I become Zubin mehta and lead an orchestra in Vienna? πŸ™‚

    That did it, I am so proud of my choice, and I think its high time people realize that a number does nto determine a future, its a passion, inclination and talent that does.

  • Psych Babbler
    10 May 2009 at 7:46 am

    @ SSQuo: Congratulations re your passion for the piano! And good on you for sticking to your guns…I am with you on your final point about people coming to terms with passion and inclination rather than bloody marks!

  • Reema
    11 May 2009 at 2:28 pm

    The prejudice against arts still exists sadly.

  • LadyinRed
    18 May 2009 at 9:09 am

    Yep, the most important thing is that you are happy with yourself. Good on you! πŸ™‚