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The typical Indian dud kid

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Abhirup Bhunia:

An overwhelming percentage of children, even today, are asked to, and happily agree to, make life out of something which their parents deem fit. The father pulls the string and the child jazzes, often out of compulsion. Few decisive factors come into play: what profession the father is in, what the family has been doing for generations, social standing, what is ethically alright (if you are wondering what’s unethical according to parents, take fashion photography as an example), the unfulfilled dreams of the father, the standing in the neighborhood, and all that. The wrong people come in the wrong place and the ensuing flawed career decisions make things go wrong.

A significant reason why unemployment sees a rise (without trying to sound facetious) just like the population or the GDP rate, is because misguidance scores over right supervision. And for a change, we aren’t talking being misguided by friends; we are talking miscalculation by the know-all parents in India. Misjudgment by parents is common: Every parent thinks his son has the Einstein brain! In this age of competition there’s nothing called unconditional permanence — the only way permanence is achieved is by keeping the quality permanent. Let’s not forget, parents want to have their way to ensure a ‘permanent job’ and an ‘enduringly happy life’ for their child.

Let’s exemplify then. Suppose a science student whose father is an engineer, mother, a housewife, is least interested in taking up engineering as career – he wants to pursue microbiology for research — but isn’t allowed to do so. He is packed like a potato in a sack and stormed into an engineering college hoping another loser father, whose son is in a top engineering college (possibly forcefully), doesn’t sneer at him when they stumble upon each other in the environs. Also, at the same time, hopes are that the child would top the batch and come out with flying colors. The ‘good boy’, oblivious of what will follow, somehow makes it. He works hard, despite his utter dissatisfaction in doing so, despite his downright hatred for the subject, and does his father proud. What follows? He becomes a frustrated soul who will forever dawdle doing something which he loathes to earn his bread. He will be a disgruntled man with a dull potbelly who will forever vent his chronic ire on his wife — not something his father fancied.

In another case, someone who has been given all the liberty by his parents, will opt for film direction as his career choice. He will go to FTII with a whopping cash bank supplied by his merchant father. Having chosen the subject just for the sake of being ‘different’, and for the glamour associated with it, his creative sense is zero – He will have a movie direction certificate soon. But alas, he would have better suited anything but movies – Here’s a case of misplaced judgment by the student himself. He will loiter in Mumbai making third grade movies with B-class actors to make a living.

In another case, a kid who had been dictated to take up science in higher secondary by her parents who said, ‘there’s no future without science beta’, is a different dud. He hardly gets a pass mark in Maths. He loves to write, he has a peerless liking towards Barkha Dutt, and he contributes to the school magazine as readily as lackadaisically he does so for a science exhibition. Is it hard to pin down what the child looks to? (Yes, for his dad) The father will ‘arrange’ (there are several ways of arranging seats in colleges in India, talk about it later) a seat for him at a pretty good college. He will be sent to bring home the BTech degree. So will he. He will stagger, garrote, and will manage to do what he was asked to. Result: A horrible, incompetent, dreary new engineer will be born (possibly setting new records in the total number of engineers produced in India). He’ll becomes a mediocre and substandard engineer working at a firm that will make him work for 12 hours a day and give him little say in affairs that matter. He will earn an ordinary 25000 and will be the latest addition to the huge Indian middle class. He’ll occasionally dream of covering the war in Iraq for a news channel and the moment the undoable fantasy is broken, the frustration will shows up!

So the film industry’s vacancy for a good director remains vacant, the MNC which needs an intelligent brain continues to search for the right candidate, and all that!

The way to go: Making the right career decisions for yourself — listening to your heart’s call, not your parent’s unfounded justifications!


Abhirup Bhunia is a special correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz. He takes a special liking to global diplomacy and international developments along with social issues. Follow him at or contact him at

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