Sunday, November 27, 2005

I don't know anymore.

A dingy hostel room. 8 feet by 7, a metal cot next to one wall, a four leg table next to the cot. On the table is a collection of wires attached to an old car stereo and some speakers. A chair, conveniently placed at a corner to pile unwashed clothes on. Five men. No, "guys". Sitting around, on the floor, on the bed, and even under the table.

A zero-watt bulb glows dimly near the ceiling. Red. Pink Floyd is being paid homage, as Indian hostelites have done for the last few decades, and will do for the next few. Someone is smoking a joint. Someone is not. And someone's waiting for it to come their way.

They all don't know what's going to happen. They don't know why they're where they are, or where they want to go. Even where they have to go. Five people, who've been told all their life that an engineering degree would take them there. They would have arrived. They have. Only they don't fucking know where.

But in life's fogginess, it dawns on them, with the unerring clarity of a grass-induced high, that this is the clearest their life will ever be. They know they have no frigging clue - a few years later, they still won't have a clue but will be too full of it to admit anything.

They're all talented, but not in the way society would be proud of. Some can sing, some can play a mean guitar, and some can kill flies with one hand. But something tells them this isn't what they came here to become. A one-handed fly-swatting guitarist singer isn't going to cut it, not in the resume department, no sir.

But they did cut it, somewhere. And ten years later, today, one of them stands and looks back and sees the bullshit they fed to him. A farcical glorification of muggu behaviour. An absurd lack of self determination, proliferated by superstitious beliefs, and reinforced by the education system. When in doubt, shut the fuck up, they said. Lie if it helps you, they said. Stand for what's right, only as long as it's winning, they said. HONK before an intersection, they said.

Games are for losers, a 10 year career, tops. Media is for pimps, Hospitality for "waiters" and B.Sc for the people who couldn't make the "engineering" or "medical" grade. Learn to save. Sex is not even a word.

Some chose not to listen anymore. One of them who, when he looks back, realizes how silly it all was. And today, he's seeing it again.

The schools are feeding the same crap to the children. They interview kids - kids that are three years old - and expect them to know the ABCD. And of course, how the optic nerve works. They're supposed to know, dammit, what were you doing for three years?

Then they interview the parents. We only want the best, they say - a rat race for grades again. Tutions for them, extra classes, and please, if they do badly in the exams we don't want them here. What's that, a guitar? In your spare time only.

And parents listen. They want to fire the competitive spirit in their kids. Only in the academic department, of course. My kid is better than yours, you hear them think. Yeah, take that, you little prick - why don't you see, it's simple, the square of the hypotenuse is....okay, I'll change your diaper now.

Get ready, or they'll get you.

I wonder what it would be like to have been "got". I wonder, because I've always been running. Jumping, screaming, crying, laughing, but always running. It's terrifying to have to run forever. How long will it take for us to figure that out?

Our kids don't have to be like us.

Our kids should be kids. And we should be kids, more often.

(And buy that Playstation 2 we have been wanting for the last few months.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go buy that Playstation...NOW. This is your mother.

6:24 PM, November 27, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go buy that playstation.....NOW. This is your mother.

6:26 PM, November 27, 2005  
Blogger Anuja said...

forget the playstation, and pick that guitar for your kid! and ensure that he practices enough to win the Indian Idol or saregamapa or something by the time he is 16, no make that 15, um 13... ;)

on a serious note though, damn well-written piece.


1:53 PM, November 28, 2005  

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