IIT Delhi Was A Unique And Fulfilling Experience: Amol Parashar
The famously known as Internet’s Chocolate Boy, Chitvan aka Amol Parashar received fame from the TVF Tripling web-series, is an actor with smart and endearing looks seen in TVCs. He has done various plays, short films and is gradually making a space for himself in movies as well. From his alma mater IIT-Delhi to acting, he talks with BW Education about his college life and shares his views on the current state of engineering education in the country. Excerpts:
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You are an IIT graduate, what challenges did you face to get into an IIT?
The IIT JEE exam is one of the most dreaded exams not just in the country but around the world. The sheer volume of students that compete for seats in the IITs is unmatched. I had taken up coaching for JEE like all my friends and peers. Preparing for the IITs is a long term process and the trick is to keep yourself motivated for around 2 years (and in some cases more than that). I tried my best to do the same, to keep myself motivated and abreast with the competition.
How will you describe your life phase at IIT Delhi?
College life is one of the most memorable phases of any young person’s life. Spending my 4 years of graduation in IIT Delhi was definitely a unique and fulfilling experience. It is a beautiful campus which includes facilities and opportunities that provides for all-round development of students. You spend your time with some of the most intelligent and enterprising young minds in the country, and you walk away with immense inspiration and solid professional and personal relationships.
How was your journey from being engineering to being an established actor? Did engineering education help you with your current profession?
There is no direct correlation between my education and what I do, but your education defines a big part of you as a person. As an actor, your personality and understanding of the world around you is what makes you unique. These things are defined by your personal experiences, which in turn are defined by your education and your peers. I have an objective and analytical way of looking at things, which defines my approach to my craft as an actor. But since it is also an art form, I have to find the right balance of objectivity and inspiration.
What made you change your profession, from engineer to an actor now?
I found acting, particularly stage acting, when I was studying at IIT Delhi. I did a lot of plays while in college but never thought it would become a professional choice. It is only after I started working, I started to miss being on stage and performing. I thought I’d take a break and probably find a way to take more time out for theatre. I was never sure if it was something that made sense to take up as a full-time thing. When I moved to Mumbai and started doing theatre here, I received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement from people here. That was the first time I felt that I could possibly make a living out of it.
Do you think that there are ample opportunities for engineers today or they should look forward to other industries as well as a career option?
I think a lot of engineers are finding their grounding in careers which are conventionally unrelated to their education, myself included. At the same time, I know a lot of engineers who continue to achieve heights in tech and research, as conventionally expected of them. I think it is a matter of personal choice. One will only find motivation in a particular industry only if it is something they genuinely enjoy. It is a good thing that new roads have opened up, but they should not be taken up just because other people are taking it up.
What are your views on the current engineering education of the country?
Engineering has been one of the most popular course choice for middle-class India. So much so, that there are so many jokes about how half of the country’s youth are engineers. Although a lot of Indian Engineers have gone on to make a big mark in tech and business, the need right now is to fine tune the learnings and make it more specialised so that each of those engineers remain uniquely employable and can, therefore, have the opportunity to set themselves apart from the crowd.
Currently, what are the challenges with the commercial groups providing engineering education in India?
The systems and tools of learning are changing pretty rapidly world over. I think the challenge right now is to keep up to date with these changes and update our tools of learning so our engineers don’t lag behind in this department.
Are we leading or lagging behind in the education industry? What sort of support do we need from our soon to be formed new government? Your views.
For all its faults, I think the Indian education system has consistently produced world-class talent who are some of the most employable people in the world. Like I said above, the task now will be to keep up to date with the technology and tools around education. We can’t gloat over our past glories and instead, look ahead and find novel ways to reinvent our educational models. There is also a need to make sure that access to quality education is not hampered by somebody’s social or economic status.
Recent studies have talked about declining ‘employability’ of Indian graduates. What according to you goes into making an employable engineer?
I am not fully aware of these studies. Even if it is declining, as the studies claim, Indian graduates remain some of the most driven and hardworking people and are quick to adapt themselves in unfamiliar setups. One area of improvement could be a more cultural education in tandem with technical education. Instead of our graduates trying to find feet in unfamiliar cultures on their own, it would be helpful if they already have exposure and are equipped to deal with such situations beforehand.
What advice will you give to the young students for success in life?
It is important to be objective and clear-minded about what you want. Sometimes we might not know what we want professionally but at least we always know what kinds of fulfillment we want from our lives. Once you identify that, make a long term plan about how you can achieve these goals realistically. Things might not come easy and fast but that only means that the joy of achieving that thing will only be sweeter. Don’t forget to have fun while you are at it, but don’t let that fun come in the way of the joy of achievement.
This article was published in BW Education issue dated 'July 3, 2019' with cover story titled 'BW Education Issue June-July 2019'
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