What’s the plan?

“Immersive Bootcamp: Reading, Writing and Pedagogy” was one of several training modules we offered to our new cohort of Book Bus instructors. As part of this short-term, intensive module, instructors were asked to write a narrative non-fiction reflecting on some key moments of their own educational trajectory. They were asked to remember influential people or memorable phases, as well as particular inclinations or themes. These essays were presented to the whole group and workshopped during the Bootcamp sessions in order to get the instructors to be more thoughtful and effective while working with groups of young students. Here is an essay written by one of the instructors.”

“What’s the plan?”

I was born in Lalitpur to Palpali parents who moved to Bhaktapur and had my schooling in Kathmandu. Overall, my childhood was pretty good. I grew up with the adventures of Mario and wars of Contra, and when I had nothing to do, I used to have plenty of people to disturb at home. Like every child, I used to spend lots of time watching TV; in fact, most complicated human emotions were introduced to me by cartoon characters. Tom and Jerry taught me what rivalry was, and Power rangers coached me to face the evil. Mumin taught me the importance of family, and Ben 10’s gadgets were my first fascination with technology. But soon the fantasy world I lived in came to an abrupt end, and I entered the phase of my life where I had to face the real world, and like everyone else, I was asked that eternal question that I am still trying to find an answer to — “What do you want to be in the future?”

This question has haunted me throughout my life. Be it my teachers or every uncle-figure I meet in family gatherings, the conversation starts and boils down to single question, “So, what’s the plan?” Honestly, I have no plans and I still don’t. I always think what is so special about the future we are so anxious about and what does “being something” actually mean. Isn’t asking a teenager, who has hardly seen the world, what his life goal is too much to ask?

I went to V.S Niketan School till grade 10 and then went to St. Xavier’s, Maitighar for my high-school. Both of the institutions I attended had brilliant kids and an awesome school environment. I wouldn’t deny the fact that I got a very decent education in those schools, but wherever I went, that particular question always followed me. While my friends could easily talk about their dreams, I could never figure out what I really wanted to do.

I have been told that not having a goal in life isn’t a good idea. Well, it might be true to some extent, but I have found that not having a goal is even more interesting. What benefits can “not having a goal” have? I enjoyed every subject with equal enthusiasm and excitement. I never pigeon-holed myself into particular subject. I was out there to learn and not to specialize and that is what made my learning even more interesting. I had no favorite subjects or boring periods. This exposed me to diverse subjects and variety of knowledge. Initially, I used to feel bad for not having a specific goal like my friends, but I have come to realize that it is perfectly alright not to know what I am going to do in future at this early age. The point is you shouldn’t be stagnant and as long as you are moving and searching for something, you are good.

They say, “Ship without a rudder and person without an aim is worthless.” At times, I feel worthless too, but what I have come to realize is that when we focus too much on our destination, we actually forget to take the most out of our journey. I believe that choosing our career is like choosing a life partner — you have to live your whole life with it, and a single mistake can cost you miserable years. Therefore, I will give myself ample time to figure out what I am going to do for the rest of my life.

So, after 6848 days that I have been in this world,

“What do I want to be in the future?” I still don’t know.

“Do I have a plan?” Absolutely not.

I will certainly decide that in the future.

For now, I am out there to learn everything I can and make the most out of this wonderful journey.

Nishith Atreya recently finished high school from St. Xavier’s College and is a part of the Book Bus instructor team for 2018. 


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