Shedding the ‘shoulds’

Taking the road not taken


Google says it is used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

I think it is used to bind one in shackles of someone else’s opinion.

If you’re decent at math, you SHOULD become an engineer.

If you’re an A grader, you SHOULD take the science stream.

If you get a fair enough rank in JEE, you SHOULD go to an IIT (even if you don’t get the course of your choice, because well, the brand name matters).

If your track record in school and college is good, ek baar to Civil Services ka exam dena banta hai.

Should is everywhere. Should is a ghost that whispers in your ears and fills you with insecurity the moment you think of doing something different.

And naturally, shedding the should is hard.

I was a good student of Accounts, and I should have chosen the path to become a CA (or so everyone thought). My fate had been decided by my teachers already and 90% of my relatives also thought that’s what I was going to do. Two years of my school (XI and XII), I lived partly in mental anguish, telling everyone that I was still thinking and trying to run away from the D Day when I will have to bring myself to say, “Stop deciding my career path for me.”

Luckily for me, I had no parental pressures. Only my accounts tuition teacher (let’s call him Mr. X) and inquisitive others, ofcourse. But trust me, it was all that was needed to push someone. And the day came way too soon when all of my other friends were getting forms attested, debating on which CPT classes to take and I was being ‘convinced’.

The ones who know me know that I’m not a CA. Because I did stand up to say that what you think I SHOULD do is not what I’m GOING to do, because I don’t WANT to do it.

Today, I’m just an undergrad, with no clue as to what am I going to do in life. I don’t have a professional degree. I don’t even know where I’ll be some months from now. All I know is, I have dreams. Dreams that don’t let me sleep, and yet I wish to watch them night after night. All I know is, I will do what I’m called to do and not what I should do. Before that, I had always done what I should have done, what I ought to have done.

Shedding the should was hard, but I’m so glad I did. And even though I’m confused today, I know that I will figure it out.

And oh yeah, Mr X never spoke to me again.

Originally published at

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