Everything went on well with my son Ishaan till the time he was in class eleventh. Like any other regular student, he was trying hard to involve himself in studies. At times he seemed stressed, but my wife and I knew that students of his age face the pressure of studies and we always tried to ease him out. He seemed much happier in the company of his younger sister who was in class fourth. I worked with a private firm, and my wife taught in school. Slight complications started when Ishaan reached class twelfth.
‘ Ishaan…you have board exams this year, and final marks would decide your career.’ said my wife.
‘I know…. So?’ said Ishaan not showing any surprise on his face.
‘Please join coaching that can help you in all three subjects physics, chemistry, math and also prepares you for IIT exams.’ I said.
‘ OK ‘’ said my son reluctantly.
We contacted the best tutorials in the city. To our surprise, none of them were charging less than one lac for an entire course of coaching.
‘ One Lac.’ I thought. ‘Just for tuitions! What role will school play in the entire year?
I soon found in my social circle that most of my friend’s children appearing for class twelfth joined some sought of coaching. But it seemed to me more for the heck of being a crucial year than anything else.
Nevertheless, Ishaan joined an academy, and I paid about one lac twenty-five thousand in advance for the full course.
My wife and I could feel some sought of Ishaan’s disinterest in studies. It seemed he was not showing much interest in school as well as tuitions. Also attending school in the morning and then going for tuitions again from afternoon till evening didn’t seem to gel well with him. He was spending all his spare time in front of TV watching English music channels. He would enjoy watching and listening to mostly all international DJs on his cell phone and TV. You name the singer; he knew his history.
One day Ishaan came to me and said that he wanted to learn Guitar. My wife was initially reluctant in agreeing with him since it would waste his time for studies. But he insisted, and we let him join a guitar class closest to our house. From that day, we could hear guitar sounds in the night from his room.
Time passed. Ishaan failed in most of the monthly tests. We both got worried. My wife would often lose her temper and pressed him for studies. I also tried to play a parental role by advising him to study hard. Somehow somewhere in the bottom of my heart, I knew all our advice was falling on his deaf years. Finally, Ishaan broke his silence one day and opened up. He categorically told us that he is interested in becoming a DJ and if at all we want to see him happy, we should start thinking of sending him to Canada, since for a career in DJ, he only has a chance in countries like Canada and America and not in India. Probably he discussed with his friends in his class whose relatives were staying in Canada. By now he was very clear that he doesn’t want to waste any time pursuing graduation after schooling.
My wife busted ‘ Do you understand the fate of a person who is not a graduate in India; nobody will employ you even as a Chowkidar.”
‘That is why I want to go out of India…. David Guetta, Afrojack, Avicii are all world’s famous DJs, and none of them are from India. And they are all billionaires.’ said Ishaan avoiding eye contact. I had never heard these names in my lifetime. All I knew was Michael Jackson, George Michael, and Madonna. I failed to understand the emergence of these new names.
Now I was getting worried about my son even passing his class twelfth, not to talk of graduation. What if he doesn’t clear his school?
After he had flunked in his half-yearly exams, I got a call from his class teacher. She asked me to get more involved in his studies as a parent.
‘Involved! What the hell should I do? Should I start solving physics theories? I had taken commerce.’ I thought.
But somewhere in my heart I always wanted that the children should do what they want to. It was also in vogue everywhere. Movie ‘3 Idiots’ described it in best possible manner. And it was everywhere in social media. Do whatever you want to do. Follow your passion and so on. What’s App, Facebook, and Twitter was full of such great advice. Now if it is practically coming on my son then why I should back off? A few days ago I was attending a family marriage. I found Ishaan missing. My daughter told me that he is with the DJ Wala. I saw my son sitting with the DJ trying to understand the keynotes. He was looking delighted and face glowing with happiness. I had not seen him so much at ease for past many months. I felt satisfied, but then, my mature mind thought. ‘Does that mean he should not even complete his schooling.’
Soon I contacted a reputed educational consultant who specialized in sending students abroad. I took Ishaan along with me and met the consultancy firm for a course on Music abroad.
‘ Look, sir, there are many colleges in Canada offering Diploma Courses on Music.” said the attractive female executive.
‘What is the total fee and eligibility.”
‘ Sir it will cost around 13 Lac. And your son has to score minimum sixty percent in his boards to be eligible for this two-year Diploma in Music Studies. Also, students are allowed to work after some time. In this way, they have no problem in managing their monthly expenses and fees. But Sir you have to deposit about 3 Lac in advance to secure your seat. If you say no later then this amount is non-refundable.”
I came back and consulted my wife. 13 lac a year was a hell of an amount. Ishaan seemed very excited as if he had already become a famous DJ in Canada. After much discussion and my son’s insistence, I deposited 3 lac to secure the seat.
‘Now please score minimum sixty percent in your boards so that you can go to Canada.” I said to Ishaan.
‘Why do you think so small about my marks. I will try to score more than eighty-five percent. You never know I might compete for IIT.” said Ishaan. His statement gave a fabricated smile on my face. My wife and I did not know what to do in such situation. Who was right? Should the parents force their children to do something? Should the children choose their path? Is the child of today much more mature than the previous generation and wants liberty at a very earlier age?
All such adverse thoughts jittered our souls and worried us, hoping he passes his twelfth class. He had already scored low in his pre-boards.
Finally, the time came for results. My wife and I insisted on visiting the school for collecting the results. I was never scared even for my promotion in my company than for my son’s results.
Next morning we reached his school well on time and waited patiently for the outcome. We were nervous. My wife pointed out twice at me biting my nails.
The class teacher called us and said ‘Congratulations. Ishaan has passed. He has scored sixty-one percent in the boards.’
I was so excited for the result. Two percent less and he wouldn’t have qualified for Canada. Ishaan was trying to show some tearful eyes emotions for the low marks. But we congratulated him. I was also happy with not losing those non-refundable 3 Lac. My wife seemed unhappy as she was never for sending Ishaan abroad.
The time now started flying. It will be only in about one month’s time, Ishaan leaves for Canada. His tickets and the visa were ready. Nothing seemed very grand for my wife and daughter. They would cry almost every day for missing Ishaan once he is gone. Ishaan knew this, but his determination to become a DJ was unstoppable. Meanwhile, he even visited Mumbai for few days and stayed at my Uncle’s house. During his visit, he met many DJs in the clubs in Mumbai to understand the trade.
And then the day came when Ishaan said he wanted to discuss something important with us. And somewhere my wife and I foresaw his mind. My wife predicted that Ishaan has made up his mind to stay back in India. I tried to forget the non-refundable 3-lac advance that I had paid for his admission to Canada. His stay back in India was giving us much more fulfillment than his moving to an unknown land where we knew no one. Anyway, we wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth. It was evening. My wife bought tea as I came back from the office. My daughter was sitting beside us keen to hear his dear brother say those magical words.
‘What is it Ishaan. What do you want to talk.’ asked my wife with her sweetest voice ever.
‘Mom, I want to tell you something. I don’t want to go to Canada.”
My wife, my daughter, and I tried to hide our emotions in this extreme happiness. I always knew that our high moral values and culture had played its part well. I also knew that how much soever an Indian child becomes Western, Indian parents always had a high impact. After all, ours was the land of world’s oldest and greatest epics- Ramayana and Mahabharata. We congratulated him on his decision and assured him that we would try to get him admitted to best of the BBA or engineering college in India. We even tried to encourage him to prepare for IIT.
‘No No…you are not taking me right.” said Ishaan with a blank face.
‘Because I have consulted a lot of people. To become a DJ, Canada is not the right country. It is America. So please do something as to how I can go to America? And I want to go to the USA by all means. Though the college fee is high their Dad, but please do something …’