In today’s world there are only two types of people. People who have succeeded and the rest who spend all their lives longing for it. Now comes the question, how does one measure success?
My perception is that it is the satisfaction or the amount of peace and joy you are left with after 25 years since your birth. Though the retirement age is fixed by the government around 60, our life wants us to retire from peace and joy soon after our teens. Unfortunately, in the current scenario it is even earlier.
Our parents design a miniature painting in their minds of how our lives should be for the next 20 years immediately after birth. Even before the child recognizes them, they decide whether their son would become a doctor or an engineer (yes, just these). In my case, this did not happen. However, I am not sure if I should feel happy about it.
The parents are not to be blamed, as the world would have them run the race further than they expected. They get learning aids for their children instead of toys. The electronic world here took advantage of this situation and grew its business. It convinced parents that having a particular gadget would improve their children’s IQ. (Really?)
When a child wanted to play with toys, it was given electronic gadgets. When it wanted to learn to walk and run, it was admitted into a play-school. By the time it started recognizing the alphabets and numbers, the parents wanted it to recite poems and talk fluently in English as their neighbor’s kids have already succeeded in it.
Now that they have been victimized for not winning the competition with others, they are put into some of the great private institutions that cost more. The more the fee, the more the child will be equipped to run the race. Another myth that parents are made to believe. Education has now turned into a profitable business. Yes, you read that right. (No, I’m really not blaming the parents)
The children have now completed their fifth grade. The parents gear up to put their kids in the best IIT JEE coaching classes. Children spend extra hours of classes and studies within the school and with the private tutors outside. They forget something called playing with friends (who are now merely their competitors). This includes their relatives, who only talk about grades and hardly about the greatness of relationships. They can’t be blamed either.
In their ninth grade, school coaches them for the 10th board exams. In the 11th grade, it coaches them for 12th board exams. Needless to mention, the entrance tests. By the time the teens settle into their (parent’s) wish-listed universities that guarantee good placements, they realize that they have wasted their teen life. Now that they wanted to enjoy the rest of their lives, they think college life is the only chance. However, they are asked questions about why they chose that course or college. College life now turns into a confused phase for them.
Time doesn’t wait for these confused college goers, they are forced into getting placed in some XYZ MNCs even before they start thinking about choosing their career. Some who are not interested in being one among the crowd, feel reluctant towards it. They concentrate on their dreams. The pressure starts coming from all around which includes family, friends, relatives, neighborhood, the institution and mainly their own college mates.
Few would have lost their path in this pressure. The rest would have fulfilled the society’s wish of getting placed. Rarely, a very few would have actually chosen their dream path. They graduate just to be terrified with the aftermath of life. They are just in their mid-20s but the word “responsibility” itself would have become a burden to them. It is only after college that they start living their lives. They do a tiresome job-hunt and get settled with just about anything that would help to shut “that” relative’s mouth. For the first time, they regret not being a part of the crowd that moved into some XYZ MNC on campus. Especially since the so-called reality says on-campus candidates are way brighter and intelligent.
With mild hopes of getting a second chance to prove themselves to the society, they work towards their dream while fulling the society’s demand of earning money (the only way to earn some respect from them). They get exhausted in the battle of getting admission in prestigious institutions for specializations after going through quotas and reservations which are very much inclined to the caste system irrespective of the financial background of the candidates.
Striving hard amidst their dream and the reality of this world, the twenties are almost gone. Sadly, every aspiring youngster in India is trained by the society to run the race even if he/she is not really interested. By the time they realize what/why they are running behind, they lose all their peace and joy. The funniest part is that it is the same point of time where these exhausted souls are expected to commit themselves to newer relationships. Yes, it is nothing but the pressure of marriage (humans have expiry dates it seems).
Finally, the once aspiring youngsters will be leading a boring life of getting underpaid in a company and paying loans all through their professional life. Dear readers, do you think it is over?
No, as history repeats itself, the same cycle is repeated on their next generation. Not because he/she wanted his/her child to achieve what they couldn’t, not because he/she wanted to secure the child’s life, not because the nation needs good leaders or businessmen but just because the competition never stops and the race never ends. Also, mainly because the society never stops comparing.
Desperately hoping for a positive change for the future generations to breathe, play, eat, sleep and grow healthy with loads of happiness and peace because everyone needs some childhood memories to cherish later.
The piece was originally published on the blog TheRealMe. It has been published on YKA by the author.