Offbeat Careers In India

10 years ago, when children were lovingly asked, what they want to be when they “grow up”, every child picked from one of these – doctor, lawyer, engineer. And their parents had a beatific smile, their hearts brimming with love and pride, for that reply. They cosseted their child with love and pined for them to attain a Dr., Barrister or B.E prefix to their name. Those professions flourished and the esoteric practitioners of these professions hoped that their off springs would carry on the legacy. But what happens when someone says, he or she wants to be a bartender? Or a pet groomer? Or a chef? Then you know that India is finally catching up with the world and offbeat careers have a foothold in the country, with many choosing these eccentric (offbeat is just a euphemism!) options over traversing the beaten path.

Every person has a different skill set which may not allow everyone to become a doctor, engineer or a lawyer. When you apply this skill to earn a living and excel at what you do (well, it is your forte!), with or without being chained to a desk, you know you have chosen an offbeat career. As Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Luckily for him, he loved his work, which happened to have a turnover of millions of dollars.

1. Radio Jockey

With FM becoming hugely popular in India in the last 10 years, the scope for this profession has increased manifold. Main skills required? A rich voice with ability to modulate it as required; an affable personality, which will get listeners to interact with you and flexible hours. There are many voice training schools, around the country, that help you in the journey and also guarantee placements. And there are many other spin-off careers if being an RJ isn’t your thing, even though you have discovered a treasure trove with an emotive voice. You can be a voice artist, a trainer, et al.

2. Environmentalist/ Social Worker

When industrialization set in, no one was prescient enough to predict the massive amounts of destruction of nature it would amount to in the subsequent years. And why would we think of the future, when the smoke and steam was being converted into wads of cash and employment for the general public. But when, the indigenous practices took a hit, there came a new age of environmentalism. Slowly, people became more aware and the crusaders of the nature gained a strong foothold. In a developing country like India, environmentalism is a growing profession. Surely, no one dreams of being an environmentalist when they are 10, but as the mind grows, develops and learns, tough times call for tough people and tough measures.


3. Personal Shopper

Most metropolitan cities in India have pockets known as the city’s shopping paradise. The most satisfying shopping is done when everyone (read: your shopping companions), including your own eyes approve of what you’ve bought. You may need some help and a second opinion from time to time and your best friend’s might not be it, they don’t really want to tell you that the new fur coat looks like it has a life of its own! That’s where a personal shopper comes into play. He/She will map your preferences and dressing styles; gauge your body type and suggest the most flattering clothes and narrow down stores that are most likely to stock your choices. They facilitate and make your shopping experience easier.

4. Chocolatier

Ever heard of the book Chocolat by Joanne Harris? If you’re a chocolate fanatic and you haven’t read this book, you’re missing something. This book has the power to make you want chocolate only with the power of words and the book describes the protagonist, Vianne as a perfect chocolatier. A chocolatier isn’t a chocolate manufacture, he/she is a chocolate expert who makes and designs chocolates in her unique way. Are you chocolate crazy and a great cook? This is your calling. There are many training institutions for honing your skills at chocolate making; they also award certificates after completion.

5. Wine Sommelier

The grapes used, the soil the grapes were grown in, the age of the wine, the other ingredients – all this is what a wine sommelier can tell you about a wine, by tilting the glass at a particular angle, taking a whiff of the wine and a tiny sip. Wine sommeliers are highly observant, perceptive and have a repository of knowledge about wines. There are many courses at hotel management institutes that equip you with a ‘wine sommelier’ tag. Higher courses can be pursued abroad, which will add weight to your degree. The scope for sommeliers is on the rise as many high end hotels employ wine sommeliers to perfect the taste and accompaniments of the wine.

Priyanka Pimpale

Writer, dreamer, avid Scrabble player, and forever in search of new words :D

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