I have a bunch of pending assignments, a deadline this week, and a number of other submissions due in less than 10 days. And still, I thought I need to write this first, because it is more important. Because someone has to say it, someone has to stand up and voice it out.
I completed my class 10 from CBSE and scored a perfect 10, that is, 10 CGPA without upgradations. I still remember the day the result was out. I was happy and satisfied. I gave my best. “Do what you must, so that you can do what you want,” I heard somewhere while in class 10 and worked hard with the hope that it’ll enable me to do what I want.
Alas, I was wrong somewhere. I did what I must, and that resulted in the initiation of a never-ending chain of ‘musts’. I was admitted into a stream that didn’t interest me, put into IIT-JEE coaching, and was told that this is the new ‘must’. I could sense the beginning of a never-ending cycle of expectations and resultant suffocation. Still, I worked hard. However, luck didn’t favour me this time, or maybe I couldn’t work hard in spite of all my will. I failed to get into one of the ‘prestigious institutions’.
It was a failure, in contrast to the massive success in class 10. At least, this is what I was told. But surprisingly, this failure to get into one of the ‘prestigious institutions’ caused my parents to listen to me and allow me to do what I want rather than what I must: I got admitted into law school.
I was really excited on getting into a law school and gave my best in everything I did. I managed to keep up 9 CGPA until my fourth semester, got involved in research, started a legal start-up, and much more. Everyone was happy again. Then, the results of the fifth semester were out, and I scored 8.7 CGPA. I was still happy because 8.7 is still a pretty decent score in law school. And my parents were not because my CGPA was ‘reduced’ by 0.3.
I’m just out of my teenage and haven’t seen much of life, I agree; and based on my limited exposure, what I find is that failure is liberating. ‘Success’ is a stake that’ll keep on going higher. Failure has opened doors for me to do what I want, it has set me free. Success has burdened me with expectations and the burden of maintaining the status quo. Or wait, maybe it’s not what it seems to be. Maybe it’s our misinterpretation and flawed perception. Maybe success isn’t the mistake, giving up to the expectations of others is!
Dear parents, we understand that you love us unconditionally and will never leave us even if we don’t live up to your expectations. Hence, let it be shown that way. Don’t act like your love is conditional when it’s not. Don’t behave like your love is contingent on that exam score. Such emotional threats do not catalyse our performance, they shatter us.
We know you’re the happiest person when we achieve something. We also know that it’s natural for you to expect bigger things from us thereafter. But your love is greater than your expectations, we know that. Don’t burden us with your expectations. Expectations are natural, but imposing them on someone isn’t.
I know you’re muttering how sensitive and emotional I am to take your light rebukes so seriously and write a long post on that. Yes, I’m sensitive. My friends are sensitive. Our whole generation is way too sensitive. Why? Our whole generation is devoid of mutual love and affection, and you, parents, are the only ones we have who love us unconditionally. We know how difficult it is to find such loving humans, and that makes us sensitive towards you, and what you feel.
We know it’s natural for you to be concerned about our future. But we too are concerned for that. Please allow us to make our own decisions and learn from our mistakes. Experience is the best teacher, though you parents are the second-best teachers! Do not be so rigid about your views regarding how competitive the outer world is or how important our grade-sheet is. The world is changing, and things are changing, too.
Lastly, just because I’m saying that you’re wrong, don’t think that I’m going away from you. Just like “a master is no good if he can’t make his disciples better than himself”, “a father is no good if he can’t make his son capable of standing against himself.“