By Sanskriti Singh
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,/And sorry I could not travel both/And be one traveller, long I stood/And looked down one as far as I could/To where it bent in the undergrowth.
When Robert Frost wrote these lines, I wonder where he had been and how the one decision might have changed the course of events in life. The poem holds a special place in my heart as I look back at my life today. I have not reached the point where “I shall be telling this with a sigh/I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”. I must say the first part makes all the sense to me.
The world has its pre-conceived notion of life and career and the latter has always been in the spotlight. The most travelled roads around me were trodden black and for sure I can be confident enough to say, any of those career paths would have been easier for me. I know my abilities.
I am stubborn and I proudly say I chose something that was so remote to people in society that I am close to be treated like an alien around me. I chose Archaeology.
“The most romanticised subject for ages,” as my professor defines it, and I could not agree to it enough. Wonderful as it is to look around the remnants of lost civilisations and their overflowing mysteries. I must say the world of archaeology is not even close to the depictions in The Mummy Returns. Most archaeologists have never worn a pit helmet or discovered gold or skeletons themselves in life. That’s the reality. Not even a pit and trench you dig gives us a kaleidoscope of the past.
So the question is, “Why do you want to study Archaeology.”
Believe me when I say I have been asked this question a thousand times and I have not even completed my first semester.
“Are you planning to dig the earth all your life? Do gardening, it will be more fruitful than digging people’s graves.”
This is what I hear from people when I tell them my very brave choice to follow the path of those few people who dared to take up a subject that holds little importance in the world of engineers and doctors and brimming MBA graduates. And now I have come down to answer the question “Why Archaeology?” in the simplest sarcasm they decide to take, “I took it up to dig the earth all my life.”
The truth is that the romance is not always there, however romantic the subject may seem to most people.
The first question I answered in my Archaeology class was again, “Why did you take up Archaeology?” I admit I did not have a proper answer to that at all. I knew I loved history, I loved the idea of creating something out of nothing and finding answers to questions yet unsolved, but is that enough? No it is not! I only chose to keep my answer simple. But if now I have to answer, I would say, “As un-romantic as the subject is, I love it still. It is not only fascinating but is everything I have looked for, for so long. I love studying the human mind and for that I could have easily taken up Psychology but I love History, Biology and Arts as well. I have looked for a subject that gave me everything, and I found it in Archaeology. A writer can never have asked for a subject that was less practical and artistic at the same time. It is unpredictable and I love that unpredictability.”
I have already taken the road less travelled and I know in future I will not regret it. I will never regret one moment of life as a student because I know how beautiful it is to get up every day and know that this is what I love to do.
Taking a different road is not easy! It was more difficult to stay put with my decision than becoming an author at the age of 17. No one in my family could have thought I would change course so dramatically as well. And I am sure many still feel I am a retard.
Archaeology is a subject with an international perspective, for archaeology is the most global of all sciences. The driving force of this subject seeps into few hearts and I must say it is as challenging as trying to become Einstein. Archaeology is a handmaid of history, but I truly feel quiet far away from it. It is logical for sure, it requires proofs and yet it needs true commitment. You cannot take it as lightly as you take history; and please don’t say I don’t take history lightly. Almost everyone does, and passionately gets bored of the subject.
The proper goal of Archaeology is to study a human that vanished from Earth lakhs or millions of years ago. It connects the past to the present developing the future and adding new chapters in your history books. It is a more logical side of history in simpler words.
You cannot expect to go out one day and dig a pit and find the greatest discovery. It will never work like that because as I said earlier, no one can predict the adversities of the subject itself. The unpredictability is at its extremes and if you are wondering it might not be difficult, I must say it is a difficult subject if you are not ready for the bumps and ditches. Your passion for the subject will decide your future here and if you are deeply passionate about this, I must say you will live for it.
It might seem challenging to choose what you have dreamed to be all your life but not all decisions will be wrong. You will be happier with a subject that means the life to you.
(The author is a student of Maharaja Siyajirao University)