Let X be an arbitrary character representing all of us, at some or the other stage of our life.
Now let us have a look at X’s life:
X is born. His cradle is surrounded by distant relatives who all claim that his features resemble their own. X’s mother is lying peacefully on the bed beside his cradle. She starts knitting strings of dreams for her little baby.
X will be a doctor one day
X will make me proud one day
X will get married and give me grandchildren one day
The parents start a slideshow of dreams for little poor X who has just entered the Universe and has completely no idea he has landed in a world so peculiar that from now on his life will be like a Drawing Room TV set whose remote control arguably shifts from one hand to the other.
X is 4 now. (No, he’s not Tobias Eaton). He is climbing the steps of his school bus and crying his way on the first day to a place where he will receive everything except education. He will be taught all kinds of complex stuff but will never be taught why it is important to learn them. He would be expected to mug up dates and formulae which will have no direct or indirect connection to increasing his intellect. Rightly in the words of the great Albert Einstein:
"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school."
X turns 10. He is celebrating his birthday at home and the huge gathering is clapping and singing the birthday song for him. He is dressed in a glittering and sequined Nicker-Shirt outfit. He blows the candles and cuts the cake. All the aunties adjust the palloos of their red-pink-orange-green Sarees and jump forward to leave their lipstick imprints on X’s cheek. He is only rubbing the gloss off his cheek when he is suddenly carried up to the shoulders of a heavily-built uncle who starts dancing with X’s legs hanging down from either side of his bald head. Startled with all the noise and commotion X bursts crying. To make matters worse, all his relatives start consoling him with sentences that are far from providing any consolation.
“Oh this kid is so sensitive”
“Why are you crying like girls?” (As if boys don’t have tear ducts. Du-uh)
“Le beta ro mat. Campa peele” (Don’t cry son, take this soft drink)
Tired of all the melodrama, little X goes back to his room and pretends to sleep. He wishes this day would have been a somber affair with only his family but he still can’t do anything to shoo away his irritating guests who are still munching on a plate stuffed with wafers, cake, toffees and a samosa. And of course, the Campa.
X is now 16. He is scrolling down his Facebook home screen and his mother is peering down on his computer from behind his back. Realizing the presence of his mother, X instinctively changes the tab and stares blankly at the Google search box. Not that he’s doing anything wrong, but he still doesn't like to be spied upon. Just when his mother is about to head to the kitchen, X’s phone hung to the charging point starts to ring. And just when he is about to hurry to it....There. His mother answers the call. He stands frozen when his mother angrily puts down the phone without uttering a word.
“The advertising perverts”. And she heads to the kitchen.
X heaves a sigh of relief.
The doorbell rings and X goes down to open the gate. Her mother’s friend glares at him with a sugary smile.
“OMG beta you've grown so big!”
“OMG beta you've grown so big!”
Does anyone also grow small, aunty?
As the lady rests her hips on the sofa, X’s mother appears out of the kitchen. X is about to head back to his room when the aunty babbles up again.
“So which stream are you planning to take after class X results?”
There you go.
“I am not sure, aunty. Humanities would be the preference most probably”
“Arts!? Arts lekar kya karoge!?” (What will you do after taking Arts?)
And then there was no stopping at all.
“Beta Science leke Engineering karo. 4 saal ki mehnat hai fir aish hi aish.” (Take Science and pursue Engineering. Just 4 year's hard work and then sheer luxury)
X is now 23. He is done with the 4 saal ki mehnat and is nowhere near to aish. It is a very busy Monday as he hops from one interview to the other. By the evening when it is all over, he is hell tired, more of his life than of his daily routine. He imagines what life would have been had he listened to his heart and pursued his dreams. Then the auto stops outside his house and he sighs over what life had become, rather.
X is now 27. After changing multiple jobs, he has finally got a decent one. He has endless working hours and sleepless nights. He starts thinking of his past. The only girl he ever loved had been married off to somebody else because her parents thought that X was an aimless poor guy who will never be able to keep their daughter happy. X is also going to be married soon to a girl he doesn't know as yet. It doesn't matter anyway, he thought. Mom is happy.
And the rest, we all know, is the life of a common human being. 90 per cent of “common” people live this kind of a life. And the rest 10 per cent become their idols.
We will all die one day and blah blah. Nobody is going to give a damn what job we had, whom we got married to and how much we earned. Then whom do we do this all for? Why don’t we let our lives be our own? We become what we become not because of our talent or our education, but because of our choices. One choice can make all the difference.
P.S: As the #KissOfLove campaign emerges as a breakthrough of sorts, I read a newspaper article where a JNU student was quoted as saying:
“Ye log rape aur crime se nahi, chumme se darte hain” (These people are not afraid of rapes and crimes, but of kisses)
What happens to people’s moral policing when they see girls being teased and children being harassed? They keep quiet when all that happens and mind their own business. But they have all the time in the world to hit and abuse couples walking on the road? Such double standards exist to ruin the society. They again and again prove the harsh reality that your life is not yours.