Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bloom! flower Bloom!!

All the buds in the garden, perk up and listen. It is sunrise time, and the metrological dept. has announced that the sun will rise at 5.42 am today and all you damn lazy buds better bloom at exactly 5.42 am. Not a minute later, not 5 minutes later - exactly at 5.42 - GOT IT? Any later, you cease to be a flower and you will always remain the one that missed the sunrise.

What if it is cloudy today and I feel like blooming at 5.50 instead. Sorry - you will still be blemished, for life.

What if I want to see that sparrow that is flying hither and tither - it looks very pretty, you see. Sorry - NOPE.

What if I really really want to watch the other buds bloom - it is a beautiful sight you know - it is like seeing your life unfold right in front of you ;-) hehe, what say? Sorry - stop being poetic - it is not your job to be poetic, it is your job to be a flower that blooms at 5.42.

Kids, don't kid around. Your job is not to be a kid and goof around pointlessly - what is the point in that. Your job is to quickly pick up skills, as quickly and humanly possible, and start earning as much money as possible as early as you can. If you want to just be and learn intrinsically by doing things and observing things at your own pace, sorry- you are in the wrong place and in the wrong century for that matter.

You jackass middle-school, high-school students, the same goes for you too. What you should learn in 12th standard learn in 11th. Even better cram it in while you are still in 10th or 9th std. Wait, wait. You have those two empty months called annual holidays after your 8th std. exams- why not start then? Uh? You damn useless pinheads!

What do you want to become when you grow up? "Uh…i don't know…I like reading books and watching movies…may be, I'll become a…" Stop it you idiot, that was a rhetorical question. And moreover there are only three correct answers to that question - doctor, engineer and if you don't know any better, charted accountant. That's it. The world functions only because of these three professions, and you must become one of those. If you don't, the earth will part, and down you'll go and have to collect samples of magma for the rest of your life and burn in it.

"Hey…that's not a bad idea, I like playing with rocks and stuff, even collecting and analyzing them..may be I'll study geology and about magma and become a …"

Stop it, you empty-headed mud doll. I was using an imagery to drive some sense into you…not for you to let your imagination loose and get dangerous ideas!!! What nerve - this kid! Whoever has heard of anyone becoming a …and getting ahead in life.

There are relatives of mine, who used to come to me uninvited and start giving me advice as to how my 10th std exams (and later on it was the 12th std. exams and so on) is going to completely change my life, and how it is a make-or-break situation and not even God can save me if I bungle it. One of the most abundant natural resources in India is "free advice". Actually free, absolutely irrelevant, useless, advice.

My 10th exams came and went. My 12th exams also came and went. Nothing happened. My life didn't change. I just got into new classrooms, and met a few more people on the way.

I see students walk through fire when they are in their 10th or 12th std. They attend IIT coaching classes starting from kindergarten. A relaxed pointless afternoon is a distant dream for most students in that age. Countless thoughts and ruminations that should feed the imagination and help them grow and mature into full human beings will never occur or happen. They will remain locked in their over-pushed over-processing brains. It is a murder that will never be discovered.

Unclench your butts, parents. Let your kids breath. And let those locked-up thoughts blossom. It will be a different sunrise. But how will you know whether it is good or not unless you open your windows and let the light in.


GB said...

What about girls who get told not to become an engineer/lawyer/CA because they can't be good wives/mothers, eh? Andha anubhavam engalaku undu :D Droop! flower Droop! only.

journeyman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
journeyman said...

I cannot agree more with you. Everybody seems to be in a rush. Yet, nobody is clear about their own destination as much as they seem to be in following the herd :). This is a prevailing problem among Indians anywhere in the world. I have my relatives in the US who treat their kids as though they still live in the India and even decide on their college careers; all of them become stereotype - engineers, doctors, bankers. I am glad that at my home I had the freedom to choose :)

Chandrima said...

Very nice post, I am a parent and absolutely indifferent as far as raising a doctor, engineer or CA is concerned, but you know what I get to see rolling eyes from all over because of this attitude. But who cares, my child will become what she wants to become and it does not matter if she does not want to become anything. What do you say ;-)

magesh said...

@GB - I agree. The problem is generic in nature - with parents imposing their worldview and expectations on kids, and I agree that girls are worse off in this equation.

@ Journeyman - actually, I got triggered by your comment on IITs and coaching classes in a previous post. I am reminded of one scene I saw in the US: I went to a beach in CT. There was an Caucasian-American family with small kids- these kids were rolling in the sand, running into the water and splashing around, and their parents just stood from a distance and watched all this happening. Also, there was a desi-family, with a small kid in the beach. You should have seen the dad react- he would give thousand instructions to his son, hold his hands if he went even 10 ft close to the water and pretty much micro-managed every single move of the kid- I felt very sorry for the desi-kid. He has very caring parents- okay. But he is losing out on a great deal of things in life - like discovering by himself the shocking pleasure of the cold water.

@Chandrima- Lucky kid, yours. Actually if majority of the people roll their eyes - then it is a sure sign that you are doing something right. If we conform to all the expectations and stereotypes in the society, and raise no eyebrows- then, our lives will be one boring dud.

Anonymous said...

Indian, American, Chinese, European why even African parents push their children to succeed IF the parents are middle class , the race doesn't matter.
Indian parents seem to be the 'worst' only because we are the biggest middle class in the world and also because the population is expanding, hence the cut-throat competition.
The trick is to find time and inclination to wonder and dream while running and rushing. Drinking in the bright blue sky while waiting for the bus or train, drawing energy from an innocent baby smile inside a humid packed bus,recognizing the wild beauty on wayside flowers,the list is endless if one decides to seek small joys, free of cost and freeing the mind.
This is all the parents too could do if they are rushing to help the 'buds' racing.

Janani said...

There was once a parent that called me to ask what syllabus-school his 6 year old kid should go to in order to improve his chances of getting into IIT!

Anyway, when capitalism makes enough money for all of us, all of us can ponder life and the sunflowers and pansier Bertie Wooster style.

And you probably already read this piece

magesh said...

@ Anon: I do agree with the middle class argument to some extent - there is definitely some truth there. Other than that - parents sometimes tend to impose their views as to what constitutes good/bad, respectable career and a good life on their kids. And also, sometimes parents exhibit a general lack of empathy of what a young person might need/feel like.

@ Janani: liked the capitalism part. Hope that by the time we have enough resources and scope to enjoy life, our senses are not padded with cynicism and lethargy. There are some things that once lost, are difficult to get back. Thanks for the link- I had read half of it earlier, and got diverted due to the length of the article- went back and read it - movies like Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Sex and the city are made for emerging adults or man-boys/woman-girls.

Vibhor said...

I guess, I was lucky enough in that sense, my parents never pushed me and I never ever appeared for IITs. Although I did end up doing engineering in IT (just because I thought computers are all about playing games and all the fun things in life).

So, I guess the best way for any kid is either your parents (or at-least one of them is cool enough) OR you and your family are mostly ignorant (which helped in those days of growing up in 90s in a sleepy town of Gurgaon, I guess it is quite impossible these days anywhere in India).

magesh said...

@Vibhor - I would fall in the same category as well. :)

Anonymous said...

Super, super post Magesh! Applause (just that I don't know to whistle; not enough to even virtually assume it I guess! :D)

Every year as the world goes gaga over the State Rankers - among whom my sister is one - and the school toppers in regional and national dailies, I look for columns on attempted suicides which lay safely tucked in between the 8th and 12th pages, behind all the reams of gleams, which nobody ever talks or cares about. Sighs!

And the following lines were so... I'll leave it at that:

"If you want to just be and learn intrinsically by doing things and observing things at your own pace, sorry- you are in the wrong place and in the wrong century for that matter."

Vemula Madhu said...

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