Monday, March 24, 2014

"What Do You Do For A Living?" - India

Disclaimer: This post is written under severe influence of Gold Label, a barking dog and a foot massager. All thoughts to follow can probably be blamed on the Gold Label. (Parents who plan on sending messages to me saying your kids read this and the Gold Label bit will have a negative influence on them. Pish posh, your 12 year old kid smokes up and watches porn while you're away). Also this may or may not involve my life story.

We've grown up in a country where a public sector job is superior to nailing Mila Kunis. And if Justin Timberlake was Indian, he'd have the unique distinction of doing both. (Cry me a river would have been a political save water campaign). Furthermore, at the age of 16, we're considered too young to chill beyond 7pm with our friends but we're supposed to be mature enough to know what we want to do in our lives. "What do you want to be? You want to be a doctor? Science with Bio. Engineer? PCM. CA karoge? Commerce. Psychology padni hai? Humanities karo beta." A certain John Lennon said he wants to be happy. There really isn't a professional course that can teach you that.

In the summer of 2009, to very proud parents and grandparents, I got admission in Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College, Delhi University. "Sada ladka, sikhaan de naal rehega BCom karega. Taraki karega." I spent majority of the first year going into every college Delhi University had to offer apart for my own and performing for random students bunking classes. As a result, at the end of the year I had 1.2% attendance, parents wondering where I went everyday after saying I'm off to college and a university who said I'm not eligible to give exams because I didn't attend classes (I'd just like to point out here that the teacher's weren't that keen on taking classes either).
Chalo ji, pehla saal repeat, parents pareshaan, aas pass society waale nazar utha ke dekh rahe. That year by far was the best learning experience of my life. It taught me that your relatives and the relatives of your neighbours who are in the most boring dead end job you could possiblty imagine will give you life advice while you in your head say, "Bhenchod tu clerk ki naukri karta hai." Because of course, society demands you to be polite to people insulting you if they're elder to you and/or are related.
I've had relatives of neighbours come up to me and ask what I do for a living. And having assumed that "I do magic" isn't a satisfactory answer, they've gone on to tell me how their wives were Harvard graduates and have led a successful life. (On further enquiry I learnt that their wife was a housewife and lived off of their husbands. Ghanta ukhaad liya Harvard degree ka).
But by far the most important thing that year taught me was that you shouldn't care about the money, the fame, the fortune, the success. Care about your happiness. Do things that make you happy, everything else will fall into place on it's own. Yes, it's easier said than done, yes you'll face rejection, yes you'll work harder than you would have ever worked had you taken the set path of school, college, post grad, office, marriage etc etc. But you'll be happier beyond your wildest dreams. I am. And trust me I've been way broke than I would have been had I done what society expects of me. But I've been happy even while broke. I know people who've been in similar fields and are amongst the happiest people I've met. Do what you want to do. Not what you think should be done based on what people have been doing over the years.
To end this, if I could contradict myself a bit and give life advice it would be this. "Do not set goals. Never ever ever set goals. The unhappiest people are those who set goals. Because if you achieve a goal, you're done. What next? The next goal? Is your life all about achieving goals and not living your life and not having time for yourself? On the other hand, if you don't achieve the set goal, you're sad that you couldn't get it. Don't set goals. Be happy enough, be brave enough, be proud enough to have the courage to deal with whatever life throws at you. Because being happy is way harder than being successful."
*goes back to Gold Label which is now accompanied by Nachos along with the foot massager.* *makes a note to put a wall hanging over the bed that says Life is Set Munna*