My Dream Jobs…………..

Date: June 10th 2002
Place: Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Time: 09:00 hours

I was wearing a deep blue full sleeve formal shirt with a silverish-grey colored formal trousers and a chic silver tie. My hairs were neat with a healthy bounce, thanks to the shampoo and my boots had a high shine. I needed to look good. After all who does not want to look good on the first day of your work life?

I wanted to be a software engineer from way back in 8th standard in 1993 when I discovered I was good in programming. On that summer day of 2002 my dream turned into a reality. The next few years were a great ride and it still continues. No, I have not won a Nobel Prize yet, not even filed for a patent yet; but the work keeps me interested and I guess I feel I am very much at the right place.

But then this blog is not about boring you with the details of what I do day in and day out. I am changed from a kid of standard 8th and today if I were to dream about choosing a profession, what will I pick?

Presenting to you, a one of kind countdown! A countdown of my dream jobs….. (Spoiler Alert: If you are already tired of your job, I suggest this is the time you quit reading….)

Rank #3: Wild Life Conservationist

I peer down from the helicopter window. Through the shallow cloud layers I see the river Mara. A great drama is being enacted. The river is muddy and has a sharp current. I look closely and I see numerous Wildebeests at the bank. Among the Wildebeests are many Zebras and Thomson Gazelles.

All the animals are piling on top of each other and their cries and grunts are growing louder and louder. The annual migration of 2 million strong mega herd has reached its last leg. Surely it is the most dramatic phase of the migration and I am in the planes of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa where the herd of 1.5 million Wildebeests, 500,000 Zebras and 300,000 Thomson Gazelles would cross the mighty Mara River to reach the safe heaven of the Savannah grasslands. But the animals are scared. And there is a real reason for the scare.

As soon as the first Wildebeest jumps into the water the rest make a mad dash for it. From the Helicopter window I see the herd start its spectacular river crossing that happens each year. The heroic herbivores who have partaken in this marathon of over 800 km are now doing the final lap. But not before they get tested.

In blink of an eye a huge group of Nile Crocodiles appear from their watery camouflage. The herd is attacked from all sides by these powerful predators who have been patiently waiting for their turn to sink their dagger like teeth in to the herd’s flesh. As the crocs take a few victims, drown them, tear their bodies apart and chew on the flesh, the mega herd crosses by. The muddy river is now a full continuous line of thousands of animals crossing with their new born calves, mothers, alpha males and other members in search of greener grass. What a sight……

Welcome to Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. I work here as a wild life conservationist looking after this annual mega herd migration and seeing the biggest drama in the animal kingdom unfold in front of my eyes. I deal with lions, hippos, elephants, crocs, cape buffaloes and many herbivores and ensure that the planet never sees a day when these magnificent animals don’t roam it.

The world is full of amazing bio diversity. The outrageous Okavango Delta, the amazing Amazon Rain Forests, the eerie Gobi Desert, the fabulous Gangetic Delta of Sunderbans, the harsh Russian Siberia, the frigid Arctic…. I can never get bored of the wonders and what best I don’t just sit and write stupid blogs about it, I strive to keep them in pristine conditions. I love my job!

Rank #2: Mountaineer

It is -17 degrees outside. The weather looks good. The group leader gets off the radio. It is a go from the Abruzzi Spur base camp! The team gathers around for one last time together. It is 05:00 hours and we may have full 14 hours of daylight to complete the ascent to the summit. We are 600 meters shy of the magic 8611 meter mark of the summit of K2.

The team is an experienced lot. We have 14 climbers from different parts of the world with one mission, to climb the toughest mountain on the face of the planet. The same team did the other extremely challenging climb of Mount Annapurna and the spirits are high. I am not marked a summiteer, which means I am not designated to reach the summit. I would be playing my part in the team so that the earmarked climbers can summit and the mission meets its objective.
Not every climber summits in a challenging climb like these. The team rallies around the most efficient climbers who are the chosen summiteers. You have to respect a mountain which claims one out of every four who try to climb it. You have to respect a mountain which has not let anyone conquer it in the winter months till date, a fate shared by only one more mountain- Mount Annapurna which this team has tamed in the past.

We work with extreme caution. We are at the final hurdle of the climb, the “Bottleneck”. It is an extremely narrow gully (couloirs) with major overhangs of ice columns (serac) that intersect the crevasses of the glaciers. One false step and the whole group’s safety would be compromised. We are now very much in the death zone, which means altitude in excess of 8000 meters, a dizzying altitude!

The view from here is surreal. The sun is bright and I can see white cotton cumulus clouds below me. Also below me is the rugged south face of K2 which goes right down to the Godwin Austin glacier. White snow and blue sky, the vastness of each just mesmerizes the beholder. Around me are the various Karakoram peaks, all wearing white coats of snow.

“We did it. We did it.” The radio shrieked. The voice was shrill and everyone in the team pumps their fists. We climbed K2. 6 of our team summit and finally we retrace our path to the camp. The feeling of achieving the summit is awesome. The dedication and the effort that we undertook dotted with courage and amazing sense of team spirit which made this possible fills me with deep satisfaction.

What next? There are so many above 8000 meter peaks to choose from; Makalu, Dhavalgiri, Kunchenjunga…. I can never get bored of the wonders and what best I don’t just sit and write stupid blogs about it, I strive to summit them. I love my job!

Rank #1: International Cyclist

The team meeting was tense. I come out of the team tent and check my bike. It is a state of the art carbon fiber made one mean machine. I take a final sip of the energy drink and line my bike up with my team. We are in the final stage of the Tour-de-France. Today we are riding from Longjumeau to Paris over a distance of 105 km.

Our team has 16 riders; each one with a mission. Our number one rider is the one with the Yellow jersey, which means he is still the overall leader of the tour. However, he holds a wafer-thin margin over his closest competitor. Our team’s job is to ensure he protects his lead and reaches Paris as the winner of the tour. We have to put a good show against our closest opponent.

Our opponent team starts in great pace. 4 of their riders storm out and start at a brisk pace. Some of our riders go on hot pursuit of them. I continue in the peloton (the large group of riders riding together) riding just ahead of our number one guy. This ensures that I take the wind resistance and he rides with relatively less wind resistance. This is called drafting and it helps our number one conserve his energy for the final showdown in Paris’ cobblestones and tarmac.
We are cranking a decent pace and overall there is nothing to choose between us and our competition. I and my team take turns in staying just ahead of our guy giving him the benefit of drafting all the time. As we near Paris, the rural France is eaten up by the bustling metropolis’ suburbs. 20 km to finish!

The tempo rises steadily. Some teams drop behind. We are riding strong and fast. The race is reaching its finale. Finally at 2 km to finish line, our number one launches his final assault. He darts from the peloton towards the finish line. I along with a few more sprinters join him to protect him from the sides. Our opponents immediately launch their counter attack.

Everything becomes a blur. We ride like wind with the pilot car blaring its siren just ahead of us. The last 500 meters are hellish. Our number one torpedoes ahead of us and a one on one fight ensues with his rival. A huge crowd has gathered at the finishing line but all I see is a haze of colors.

As I cross the line and get off the bike I hear the cruelest words. “He lost it.” The words hit me like a sharp blow. But amazingly the man is smiling. He must be aching inside. After years’ training, laboring through 21 days and over 2500 km and coming so close and yet remaining so far…. But the man is still smiling, congratulating the victor, sharing a few light hearted words with people, thanking and crediting his team….. That is sportsmanship! You lose some, but you never lose to lose.

International Sports is amazing. I can never get bored of the wonders and what best I don’t just sit and write stupid blogs about it, I strive to compete and learn the spirit. I love my job!

The Reality

By this time, I am sure I have lost a lot of readers.
“This is a rant of a real procrastinator”.
“This is stupid”.
“This is not a blog but a teenager’s fantasy.”
“This is one pathetic attempt of mixing dreams with words”…blah blah……

I am sure I can never ever measure up to what I have put down as my dream jobs; that is why they are DREAM jobs at the first place.
Sure I can not do anything to get these jobs. For a few I don’t have enough knowledge, enough mental and physical fitness and for most due to abject lack of talent. But can I do something to make my job look a little better? I think, yes I can.

For the start, I can definitely take over the leaf of understanding the environment better from the dream of being a wildlife conservationist. I can surely connect to people better and try making the lives for all better by abstaining from petty issues and keeping the focus on bigger goals. I can surely strive to conserve the bests for everyone around me.

From the Mountaineer’s dream I can surely learn to respect the adversaries and prepare myself for them. I can learn to be a great team man and keep my team interest ahead of personal ones. I may not summit, but as a team we must!

From the International Cyclist’s dream I can learn how to lose. Life is not a one way traffic and losses are commonplace. Learning to lose is a great art and being gracious in defeats is the hallmark of the best.

Since you are still with me, let me tell you I do not believe in “Dream Jobs”. Just the way I don’t believe in the fairies and daemons. I think there is nothing as a dream job. Every job has its shares of good and bad, potentials and pitfalls. It is how we absorb them makes it a rich experience. How you will do that is purely onto you.

As far as I am concerned, I see there are numerous avenues to get better. I can never get bored of the wonders and what best I DO sit and write stupid blogs about it. I love my job!

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9 Responses to “My Dream Jobs…………..”

  1. Adhir Says:

    my dream job would be .. having the sorta work indiana jones has.. 🙂

  2. Shilpa Says:

    Wow your description of Day 1at Tvm sure brought back some sweet memories. Glad to know you still enjoy your work. I would love to get paid to read and review books or write a childrens' book!

  3. orangeoverhang Says:

    mountaineering ranks first for me!!

  4. Ifte Says:

    nice post …. but i'm already on my dream job as an Explorer at http://www.calcuttawalks.com keep writing though 🙂

  5. hrushikesh Says:

    very nice post … and very well written about the wild life conversationalist.and for me my dream job will be a wild life photographer.

  6. cj Says:

    good one as usual..:)

  7. cj Says:

    good one as usual ..:)

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Good fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

  9. Abhijeet Pokharkar Says:

    Hi mansij,Very well written.Whenever i think about my dream job, 2 options come in my mind, a mountaineer & wildlife conservationalist/photographer. You catch the spirit of both of these passions

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