It's one of those things that we as children strived for, yet resent now that we've tasted it. When you ask a little child what they want to become, they respond with all sorts of ambitious and ridiculous answers, like a rich man, a supermodel, and the adorable, "I want to be a daddy!" Ask a teenager the same question and you'll be surprised by the casual shrug of their shoulders or a rather plain response.
As we grow up, we lose our ability to dream, to explore, to seek adventure and to solve mysteries. Instead, we take life itself to be a mystery that we cannot solve. We lose the light that used to one spur us on as children and replace it with the dark, gloomy reality.
I contemplated all of this as I stressed over my subject choices that loom before me in August.
When I was little, I used to believe that I would be a bestselling author by eleven. I'd written so many books that I thought were worthy of being on the shelf, and believe me I was actually prepared to send them to a publisher had my parents not been sensible, that I would never have dreamed of being where I am today. I no longer aspire to be an author, let alone pen a short story. Reality finally struck and I realised that I had to choose sensible, "gateway" subjects so that later on I could study anything I liked.
Still, I hated accounting. I hated it with a passion. I still do. I was going to take it though, because "The Bollywood Set" was meant for Indians, and I was one. I had to do it. I knew that I could fall back on accounting if my dreams failed. Yet the niggling question at the back of my mind was "Why can't I take history if I like it?"
The answer was quite simple - history just won't get you anywhere in life.
Only quite recently did I contemplate thoroughly what I was doing to myself. I was becoming just another puppet of the Indian Dream - a doctor, lawyer or accountant that can manage to handle her six children, demanding husband, house work and annoying mother in law. Okay, I didn't even make half the cut but I knew that I would one day, if I continued the way I was; living up to the perfect Gujurati girl role. Those long nights awake and daydreaming in class are what set me right in terms of my priorities. My priority was my dream. And my dream could become a reality.
I wanted to be an entrepreneur with a successful firm and many successful social entrepreneurship initiatives. I wanted to be one of the greatest helpers to mankind and uplift humanity. I wanted to make my mark in the world by making a mark on the hearts of people. I wanted to be what Millionaire Mentor describes as odd - Number One.
Yet tell an adult that one day you hope to own a McClaren, have as many homes operating as Oprah Winfrey does, and be a success story - because you want to work for it and not have it handed to you on the plate - they'll laugh in your face.
Sure, it is difficult to actually achieve these ambitious goals, but it is far from impossible. Whenever someone says that you want to be Bill Gates, in a sarcastic tone of course, tell them that if Bill Gates could do it, so could you.
The difference between success and mediocrity is that those who succeed dared to dream beyond the barriers that society creates.
Your dreams are yours to own. Don't follow your dreams, chase them. Don't lose your childhood belief that anything is possible, because even if you aspire to be a genetic engineer and clone people, or find the cure for cancer, all of which are highly "unlikely" to happen, trying won't create any sort of loss. If the cure for HIV lies in the mind of a child who believes she can do nothing to better the world, the world has failed her. Don't make other people's doubts your downfall.
My favourite motivational quote (from Millionaire Mentor of course! Follow him on Instagram @millionairementor) is "They used to laugh at my dreams, now they ask how I did it." Be the kind of person who achieves what is beyond possible. You can.
These and more rather complex issues left me puzzled as I watched children ride gleefully on the carousel at the Al Ansaar souk, travelling to nowhere - the place where every dream that you dare to dream really does come true. Little did they know that later on in life they would learn that life isn't as simple as the fair ground. Though the carousel of life does keep turning, you start losing hope in your destination. The knife that will be plunged into a child's candyfloss heart in the future will cause the sugar of hope to seep out in pink, bloody droplets.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
With these thoughts whirling through my mind, I'll be choosing subjects later on in the year, and while I still am uncertain, I know that my childhood hopes and dreams should never die.