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Career decisions: These parents supported their kids’ dreams!

WHEN parents try to live their dream career through their children, the latter may feel frustrated. “Children are seen as legacy holders of a particular profession. Yet, they may not have the aptitude or interest for the imposed career,” explains Ashok Mittal, Chancellor, Lovely Professional University.

Now, visualise a different scenario; parents allowing their children to follow their dream and extending full moral and financial support. Suggestions being offered when asked, and taking a step back, giving the reigns of accountability to them. What is the result? State Bank of India employee Pradeep Gupta has an answer.

“Children are seen as the legacy holders of a profession”

Ashok Mittal
Chancellor, Lovely
Professional University

As a discerning parent, he encouraged his son, Icarus Gupta who is based in the US, to go for full-time study taking a break from his work, as desired by Icarus. The IIT alumnus wanted to study further because. “I felt the urge to do more than just gather user requirements and write computer programmes,” he shares. While friends and relatives failed to understand why he needed to quit his high-profile, well-paying, bank job and go back to studies, his father egged him on.  A confident Icarus, then, didn’t need anyone else’s validation. 

“I learned various topics in finance and economics, useful in understanding the dynamics of financial markets and is crucial for evaluation of financial risk exposures on complicated financial products.” The result?  “I work at a bulge bracket bank and am involved in financial risk management,” says the satisfied bank employee. He is a happy person, so are his parents. “I just ensured that both my children get a nurturing environment at home,” says Mr. Gupta in all humility. He is not willing to take more credit than this.

There are many such examples. Careers360 brings to you stories of five such students from different walks of life, who took disparate routes in a bid to find their mooring. Our Special  Correspondent also spoke to their parents to understand what propelled them to put their faith in their children’s abilities. Meet five young guns Rashmima Dutta, Shashank Arun, Gaurie Arora, Anshul Arora and Kabeer Shrivastava who are all following their dreams.

Tryst with biotechnology

“I was always interested in biology but did not want to be  a doctor. Biotech fascinated me the most, so I decided to pursue it further”

Gaurie Arora
SRM University

Despite not knowing much about it, these parents allowed their daughter to pursue an upcoming field hildren to make their own

“My brother is studying in Singapore and now I am out of home in Chennai, too,” says Gaurie Arora, a first-year B.Tech student at SRM University, with a specialisation in biotechnology. The 18-year old is quite aware of the fact that this is agonising for her parents.  Yet father Arun and mother Anju readily allowed her to pursue her academic interest.  “Though my parents don’t know much about biotechnology, an emerging field, they still let me go,” she shares.

A brief engagement with Biotech began for this Sanskriti School student in Class 11 and continued in Class 12. Before long, what started as 2-year appointment with the subject, culminated in a full-blown obsession. “I was always interested in biology, but I didn’t want to be a doctor,” explains the 2010 Class 12 pass out, “Biotech fascinated me the most and so I wanted to pursue it further.”

Gaurie didn’t succumb to her doctor uncle‘s continual persuasion of studying medicine either. ”My elder brother and his wife are doctors and my brother really wanted her to be a doctor,” her father shares. But the parents knew of their daughter’s inclination and were personally against the idea of forcing their kids to slog for academic excellence.

“I always favoured children taking up extra-curricular activities,” says Mr. Arora who works as Vice President, Corporate Communications in conglomerate Jindal Steel and Power. It helps hone social skills, improves interpersonal relationships, helps refine communication and presentation skills, which are important factors in today’s career path, maintains Mr. Arora. While a major chunk of Gaurie’s batchmates went into areas like fashion design, journalism, architecture, engineering and other flourishing fields, she stuck to the biotech field.  Even when it meant moving out of the comforts of her Delhi home and settling into a new lifestyle and in a new culture.  

Arun Arora
VP, Corporate Communications,
Jindal Steel and Power

“We visited the SRM University campus and were very satisfied with the infrastructure”

But how difficult was it for the mother to let go of her daughter? “I wanted to give both my children an equal chance,” says Mrs Arora, a B.Sc (Botany) and B.Ed by qualification. The family allowed Gaurie’s brother Arjun to go to Singapore for Class 9-12 studies. “He obtained a scholarship and felt a sense of achievement, so we didn’t stop him,” says Mr. Arora leaving the decision to his son. So, Gaurie too was given a fair chance.

On why Gaurie chose SRM, she shares, “The college did not ask for any donation, besides its reputation in biotech studies,” she says. “We visited the campus and were satisfied with the infrastructure,” says Mr. Arora, a qualified mechanical engineer with an MBA. The annual fee is Rs 1.5 lakh exclusive of hostel charges, he share.

As for Gaurie, the biggest change has been living in a hostel. The experience has made her more responsible. “Classes begin at 8.45 a.m. and we can’t miss it,” she says. It is still the first semester and the lessons in time management and financial prudence are already being learnt.  These life lessons are important too, irrespective of whether you are a doctor or a biotechnologist. 


Combining artistic and utilitarian worlds

“The fee for the B Arch from BBDNIM, Lucknow was high and financial compromises were made by the family”

Shashank Arun, School of Planning and Architecture

Despite financial difficulty this boy from Etah was determined to embrace his passion – architecture

Education is the only ticket out for small city residents who dream big and are determined to realise it. So, after completing Class 10, the boy from Etah moved bag and baggage, 75 kms from home to Aligarh, to take admission in Aligarh Muslim University. “I chose an Architecture course,” he says because the line of work catered to his artistic sensibilities and integrated well with utilitarian value. Lawyer father Mr. Arun Kumar Maheshwari and homemaker mother Meera, had complete faith in their child’s decision.

“Etah is a small underdeveloped place, which couldn’t have offered him any career scope,” shares Mr. Maheshwari. He wasn’t even forced into staying at Etah to complete 10+2 as the city had no good schools. Three years later in 2000, Shashank passed the AMU programme obtaining a ‘Diploma in Architectural Assistantship’ that cost parents Rs 32,000 tuition fee including lodging and board.

Shashank then joined a construction outfit in Delhi-NCR instead of an architecture firm. “Here I got exposure to the execution part,” he explains. For him, paper drawings being translated into tangible structures packed more fascination. Two years later Shashank felt the need to specalise  but the Council of Architecture (Government of India body) stipulated that for advanced architectural studies, Class 12 certificate is mandated. 

So in 2002, Shashank took UP board private exam, passed, and moved on to pursue B. Arch from BBDNIM, Lucknow, a 5-year full-time programme that cost Rs 9 lakhs approximately. It was testing time for Shashank too.

Arun Kumar Maheshwari

“Etah is a small underdeveloped place, which could not have offered Shshank any career scope”

“The BBDNIM fee was high and financial compromises were done by family,” says Shashank who has younger brother. As the course progressed, the 28-year old became more focused. “It was the project coordination part where exists a massive coordination gap right between designing and final execution of that design at the site.”

After completing B. Arch in 2009, he took admission in School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) to pursue full-time two-year Master’s in Building, Engineering and Management. Total cost: Rs. 2.5 lakhs. But the final semester student is now training at prominent architect firm Design Consortium. “Here I give designing solutions,” explains Shashank who uses father’s name, Arun, as surname. Now that’s a gift, which can make any father swell with pride. 


“I will continue to love what I do”

“In Gorakhpur, I have seen lawyers, who may be qualified yet have no passion or interest”

Kabeer Shrivastava,  Government Law College,
Mumbai University

This lawyer’s high-profile clients pay the bills while the less fortunate get his service, pro bono

Kabeer may have had a vague interest in social service as a teenager, yet with his cosmopolitan disposition, working as an activist or with an NGO was a ruled out, early on. The boy from Gorkhpur aspired for a high-profile career  that afforded the finer things in life.

So when father Arun Kumar Shrivastava suggested he take up law, a career that could enable him to achieve a fine blend of two contradictory worlds, he readily agreed. And to nobody’s surprise, the bright boy stood as a star performer in his law studies. Ideally, his father, General Secretary in Janata Dal (U) wanted Kabeer to pursue engineering, followed by an MBA. “But I was an average Mathematics student,” admits Kabeer.  So after Class 10 in Gorakhpur and Class 12 in Delhi-NCR, the  next stop was law in Mumbai. 

While homemaker mother Mrs. Kiran Bala harboured no objection to his desire, some concerns were raised in the joint family where he grew up. “This was to do with the perception about lawyers, who usually end up surviving with little means,” says Mrs. Bala, herself a student of Patna Law College in the 70’s. “In Gorakhpur, I have seen lawyers, qualified to be lawyers, but who have no passion or active interest in pursuing it,” shares Kabeer. The misguided notion of ‘People who have nothing else to do become lawyers’ was negatively weighing on the joint family members too.  “And so the extended family had many naysayers,” says Kabeer, “and my grandmother could not understand what it was, that I was doing which was taking so long,” he chuckles.

But having travelled extensively since the age of 17 to places like China, Africa and others, it dawned on Kabeer that law was a respected profession worldwide. This was a positive affirmation that further fed his desire to carry on with law.
In 2008, he passed out of Government Law College, Mumbai University after pursuing a five-year  programme. However, Kabeer surmises that a three-year course is good enough for a start-up practice. Unless one has real life exposure, just pouring over theories and statutes for another two more years is no good, maintains the 25-year old.

Arun Kumar
General Secretary, Janata Dal (U)

“I suggested Kabeer take up law, a career that could help him to achieve a fine blend between two contradictory world”

Being a State law college, the course fee was subsidised. “It was no more than Rs. 15,000 per year including the hostel stay,” he states but other expenses, including food were an expensive affair in the financial capital. 

No sooner the course was over, Kabeer was lapped up by top-notch Mumbai Law firm, Nishith Desai Associates during campus placement. “I am an Associate and practice mainly with the corporate team in social sector that includes education sector as well,” say the recent Mumbaikar on his work profile. While some clients are billed to ensure salary cheque, others are taken on pro-bono basis.

Kabeer is happy being a lawyer and servicing both the worlds. There are times when he is putting up a late night at work and a client calls him to thank. “It makes me feel special,” he says. What’s next for the hardworking ambitious lawyer? “I will continue to love what I do.”  


Good communication skills= a plethora of options


“An HM product gets
the kind of grooming that can kickstart one’s career in
the service industry

Anshul Arora
(IHM), Lucknow

Despite his own experiences, this father allowed his son to follow in his footsteps

A  second year hotel management student of IHM, Lucknow, Anshul Arora is now over the fundamentals of the course and is moving on to specifics. His  father Pradeep Arora, also a Hotel Management graduate, wasn’t the inspirational force behind Anshul’s choice though. After serving 25 years in the profession, he hung up his boots and moved on to corporate sector six years back.

“This job has demanding work hours,” explains Mr. Arora, now a senior manager, HR and Estate supervisor, Botil Oils. “Every profession has it pros and cons,” he adds. The decision to pursue HM was partly taken also because Anshul had been an average student and possessed no appetite for academics. Hands-on training suited his careers360_cmserament better.

Earlier, Anshul wanted to be a chef, but as the course progressed, the Delhi- born and bred boy realised his strength lies in social skills. “Specialisation will further polish my communication as well as presentation skills,” he says.  He also realises that being more sophisticated in these key areas can open up a plethora of career options for him in top-notch BPOs or HR industry.

Pradeep Arora
Senior Manager,  HR and Estate supervisor,
Botil Oils

“I too had burnt my fingers running an Italian restaurant, which closed down. Every profession has its pros and cons”

“And across sectors, I can land sales and marketing job,” Anshul adds. An HM product finishes with the kind of grooming that can kickstart a student’s career in any service-related industry. Mr. Arora candidly attributes his grooming to HM industry. “When I started out, my English was pathetic,” he sums up. Post HM, an MBA in Event Management overseas may be Anshul’s next stop.     




Calling the shots

“My father said if you are getting something on your own merit, then you sould pursue it”

Rashmima Dutta, Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute,

No one from her family had ever been related to films, yet, her biggest support comes from her father

Rashmima’s parents believed that if their child is motivated enough to find her destination, then they must give her wings.

A final year student of Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, Kolkata, Rashmima used to work as a  sub-editor with The Economic Times in Bangalore, the city where her parents are settled. But she longed to be associated with film-making. So, she filled up applications for FTII, Pune and SRFTI, Kolkata. Rashmima got a call to enrol from the latter.
A career associated with films raised a few concerns from relatives and friends. No one from her family had ever been related with films, so the concern was natural. But that was no reason for civil engineer father Mr. T. Dutta to discourage her.

“I went by her inclination, her future, and the fee affordability,” he says, when asked the reason for granting permission. “In fact I was thrilled when I heard Rashmima has got through SRFTI,” he shares.

“My father said if you are getting something on your own merit, then you should pursue it,” she corroborates.
“The reputation of both the institutes is unparalleled and being government institutes, the fees are subsidised,” the 26-year old explains the reason for zeroing in on to these two. The cost of three-year fulltime programme amounts to Rs. 1.5 lakhs including hostel fee.

Parental concerns of sending a girl child away to a hostel in  Kolkata were high for Mr Dutta and his homemaker wife Mala. “In today’s scenario, most children are out of their homes either for studies or for jobs, so we were mentally prepared,” he shares. For Rashmima’s mother, reconciling with this modern day trend was a tad difficult because her only sibling and brother, a computer engineer by profession, also lives away from home, for work.

And it would be long before Rashmima, an alumnus of Asian College of Journalism Chennai, returns home, for the next stop would be Bombay. “Bombay will give her the opportunity of earning and learning,” says Mr. Dutta, “The real mettle will be tested in Bombay.”

For Rashimma who is specialising in Editing, she will have to find a job on her own as campus placement is not the trend in her institute. But there good number of contacts, alumni and faculty members, whose help suffices in obtaining the first job.

T Dutta
Civil engineer
by profession

“I went by her inclination, her future and the fee afffordability. In fact, I was thrilled when she got admission to  SRFTI”

The institute offers specialisations in three other areas; cinematography, direction and screenplay writing and audiography, she says. Explaining her nature of work, she shares, “Our job is to compile all the random shots in order of script to make a complete story.”

The film is shot individually and unsystematically, she describes. Job opportunities can crop up for TV serials, films, adverts, documentaries. “There is a dearth of technically qualified people in this field,” says Mr. Dutta who is on the same page as her daughter on her soon-to-begin job hunt.

There is no glamour attached with her job. It is sheer hard work behind the camera. The work of director, music composer, singers, lyricist’s et al gets noticed, but an editor remains obscure. But doesn’t the editor’s name figure in a movie credit roll? “Yes, it does, but who waits to see the credit roll?” she asks.

Well, next time as audience, you must. When you spot Rashmima’s name, clap loudly. The hard-working creative girl is expecting acknowledgement, nothing more than that. 

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