Dream of going back to school - a desire to explore the best

"Padhoge likkhoge banoge nawab...kheloge koodoge banoge kharaab"

Which means if you study, you will get rich, but if you play, you will end up spoiling your life. Until very recently, this was the general philosophy in India. Having grown up in middle class family of rural India, I was always influenced by this philosophy and always tried to score more, and to consistently top in my class or in the state board. Preferred subjects were those that guaranteed a good job, better still a government job, and therefore the focus was on science and maths. Now, things are changing with time. And especially Indian cities have matured a lot in last few decades. More and more people are opting for arts, and many engineers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers are opting to change their streams and pursue something completely offbeat.

My primary education happened in a town called Hamirpur in Himayalan State of India - Himachal Pradesh. I was among the top rankers in my class and when everyone around me used to ask what I would like to become when I grew up. I don't think any kid can answer this at such a young age, but still answers such as Doctor, Engineer, Pilot etc were highly encouraged. You were not expected to turn around and say that you wanted to be a driver, or a gardener, or a mechanic. This is true even today, though answers such as artist, writer, musician, and photographer have become more acceptable. I ended up pursuing the most cliched of them all - Engineering. And not unexpectedly, I got a job in a multinational company in national capital region of India as Software Engineer. You must be wondering that story so far sounds very typical - 'an Indian boy becoming a software engineer'. There can be nothing more predictable than this!

However, things were not all as per the template. Along with my run-of-the-mill school and professional life, I was blessed to get really good mentors who also exposed me to different art-forms. The very first art mentor was Mr. Satish Bhatia who always encouraged me to pick the brush, and paint my imaginations on canvas. I participated in various competitions and got recognition at different levels, which kept me motivated to pursue my interests in Painting, origami, and sketching during school time. All this led to my interest in visual arts and I started appreciating it more with technologies around me. One day I picked up my dad's Rolleiflex film camera. I clicked many rolls on this and developed a few of them. These rolls were mostly consumed photographing my family members.

I had joined a US based company in 2006 and was fortunate to join the team which was into Digital Imaging Softwares. This allowed me to follow my passion for photography and visuals. I got to meet passionate photographers in my office and outside. Being in the capital city of India exposed me to different activities around photography and gradually it became one of the main part of my routine life. 

6 Years back I did a foundation Photography course from APEX, Academy of Photography Excellence. This course helped me in understanding the basics of light-play, changed my approach to compositions of photographs, and taught me to use the equipment in best possible way.  Various things happened in last 6 years which helped me in exploring different aspects of Photography. Love for the art encouraged me to travel across the country and bring back memories to share on www.Travellingcamera.com .

For the last few months, I have been dreaming about taking photography seriously and deciding on next logical step of gaining more knowledge. I explored various colleges that offered a Masters in photography and found the Masters program in Photography offered by the Royal College of Arts in UK to be one of the most exciting.

This exploration not only helped me search for a good college, but also find out some basic facts about education in the UK. The first thing that struck me was the awesome student culture. Not only do the campuses provide excellent atmosphere for studies, they also provide plenty of opportunities for international students to explore the local culture, discover the amazing UK nightlife, and to also earn a bit of extra cash through part-time student jobs. Another advantage of doing a Masters from the UK is that most of these courses are one year long, unlike other countries where they are two or even three year long. The courses are designed well and use time in the best possible way, while giving the students enough time to plan travels and recreational activities.

Because of the shorter duration, the courses also cost less and most of the universities also provide an option to apply for scholarships. If you qualify for these scholarships, the universities waive off some or even all of your tuition fee. Apart from the time and monetary benefits, the courses offered in the UK add brand value to your profile. To check out more about studies in UK, one can go through http://knowledgeisgreat.in/. I found this portal very useful in my research.


I had heard a lot about the Royal College of Art and some of my acquaintances have studied here. Another reason why I like this college is its location. Being in London will give me opportunities to travel all across the UK and experiment with photography across a variety of landscapes, seasons, and cultures. I can visit the pristine valleys of Wales as easily as the mysterious Lochs of Scotland and the legendary lakes of the Lake District. Choosing Photography as my next area of study was quite easy but narrowing down to Royal College of Art in London was a task, but it is all now very clear in my mind. And RCA is my dream college.


Paraj Shukla said...

This one is a very intriguing post dear. It was a treat to read it - frank, personal with a larger view, and honest. Thanks for sharing and all the very best for your future studies.

VJ Sharma said...

Thanks Paraj !


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