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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Aim in Life: Dream vs Reality

I think that it was the year 1983 and I was a student of 3rd grade (grade 3). Our English teacher asked us to write a short essay on “Aim in Life”. Most other students wrote that they wanted to be doctors, engineers and teachers and this way, they wanted to help the society and country. I just wrote that I wanted to be a journalist because I liked it. I wrote nothing about helping the society or developing the country. My essay was poorly written but the teacher liked it and she even praised me.
From that age, I knew that I wanted to be a journalist. When the time of getting admitted to university came, I wanted to study Journalism but my parents convinced me to study English literature because earning money was very easy from English background. You don’t need to be a top student. They also told me that I could become journalist even studying English and many of the top journalists and newspaper columnists in my city were from English background. So, I happily went to English Department and I enjoyed studying English Literature.
Then when the time of Masters came, I did a shift and studied Applied Linguistics and ELT instead of continuing literature. This time, my parents did not try to convince me but I took the decision myself as money is always an important factor for the only son of a lower middle class family in South Asia. I started writing in newspapers and I saw that because of my skill in English I could easily translate for newspapers and magazine. In fact, while I was a Masters Student, I translated Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One's Own’ in my language and it was published serially in 1998 in one of the most popular dailies of our country. I received a lot of praise from some of my teachers but I discovered a very tragic thing- it did not bring good money.
Then after finishing University, I decided to become a teacher and I worked as a teaching assistant and Lecturer in several universities. I did not stop writing in newspapers but a change happened. I noticed that it was easier to earn money by writing about computer and Internet or IT.
I realized the potential of Internet 8 years ago and I left university job and I started teaching myself about Internet and computer. For 4 years, I suffered a lot of money worry but I became sharp in my field. I became one of the top ICT journalists in my country. I still remember that in 2004, I wrote 6 cover stories at a stretch in 6 months for a computer magazine. However, I again discovered that in a third world country, unless you come from a well off background, you cannot survive as a writer. Yes, there are some exceptions but exceptions are exceptions.
I got married in 2006 and realized that if I wanted to earn money by writing then I had to try my luck at Internet. Fortunately, Blogging was flourishing that time and I got the opportunity to write in one of the good blog networks and they paid enough money. I could pay my bills and even save some. I started with writing about business but soon discovered that entertainment and sports brought a lot of traffic and there was some decent amount of money to be made in these fields. So, I devoted myself to write about movies and sports and saw impressive success. After all, traffic comes from the things that people search. Advertisers run after people and we bloggers run after advertising money.
In January 2009, the great recession came in global economy and I saw that if I wanted to survive I must go back to the topic of business and technology. Then, in July 2009, first my wife and then I became seriously sick.
I have been sick for the last 7 months and from 1 February 2010, I am again going back to full time work as I feel better now. Today, I was thinking that what should I write about? Business, Technology, Sports and Entertainment- I have four options. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses, good sides and bad sides.
Most probability, I will go back to writing about South Asian Business in my South Asia Blog. This is the thing I know very well and enjoy. This time, I am going to try totally to stick to it.
Thus, in the end, you can see that I could more or less implement my aim in life but life was full of ups and downs. Well, my dream has changed a bit too. In the past, I dreamt that I would become very famous and successful as a journalist and would someday work for BBC or CNN and get prestigious awards.
Now, I really don’t have these dreams. May be, I have realized my limitations as a writer and I know that I do not belong to that league. More than that, I dream to have satisfaction from my works and life. Fortunately, I am very lucky and happy in my couple life and now my dream is that I have the same kind of happiness after 50 years. I don’t mind for having a mediocre career as long as I have satisfaction from my work and marriage life. I got this kind of change in dream after seeing so many people unhappy in life and work.
What about you? Could you fulfill your aim in life? Has your dream changed? 

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