Stool & The Mango

12:33 PM Shanky 9 Comments

I am Raj, 25 year old male and I am going to end this life! No not the age old suicide that you are thinking about. I am going to end this life and start a new one. No, I don’t believe in second birth either and that is not the new life that I am talking about as well. No... I mean… Wait till I complete my story please. Good.
So I am Raj, I am 25 year old average looking male living in Mumbai. I was born and brought up in Bangalore but my career brought me to the position and place I am in today. I refer to career as something that has life, as if it held my hand and led me to the place where I am. Yes. You are right, at least this time. Don't laugh! Career, as many will tell you, has a great power to lead you down a path that you might not take usually or you might not have envisioned to take. For you to understand this, I want you to relive my story with me as I unfold it to you. If you can identify yourself with it, it’s not a great deal because almost everyone my age today in India will identify themselves with it.

It all started in my primary school days where every child was made to answer a horrible question. What do you want to be in life? And the social/peer pressure starts from right there! If any of the kid answers that he wants to be a rock star or a basket ball player or politician he will be laughed up on. Thanks to my mom's upbringing, I was one of those very self conscious kids in the class who would check his trouser's zipper twice whenever someone on the other side of the road is laughing for some god forsaken reason. I think something is wrong with me when someone whispers in front of me and I correct my hair, my tie and pull in my tummy. So there was no way that I am going to tell them that I want to be a news reader! I told them that I wanted to be a doctor and that is what my mother also wanted me to be. That evening little did I know that my mother will be shedding tears of joy when she hears what I told in the class through my teacher. My teacher was generous enough to add, "You are blessed to have such a son Mrs. Shetty. Not every child wants to make his mom's dream come true." Damn her! Not for the sweet words, of course, but for the conformity pressure that she had brought into play in my life. From that day on my mom always sat beside me when I studied Science and Maths. News was cut and Discovery Channel was on during dinner time. Books about plants, animals and human biology for children were gifted generously. I mean which kid wants to read all this!!?? Just show me and I shall make him straight! But the good side of this was that it increased my appetite for books. I started borrowing books from the school library and it was always Enid Blyton and Encyclopedia combo offer. The librarian would peer down from his high-desk and reveal his nicotine stained teeth in the name of a friendly smile while I would be standing wide-eyed and in a semi-nausea state because of his bad breath.

After a horrible show in ninth grade science which had, for the first time, biology as a separate paper, I convinced myself I cannot be a doctor. It was quite difficult to convince my mother though. But the point is I was out of the pressure to confirm to a silly sentence that I had said in my days when I was wetting my bed, a hanky was pinned to my shirt pocket and a lollypop was more valuable than a Porsche! During my late secondary year came another pressure to confirm to. Mr. Gates, how much ever he may donate for good causes and be loved by the entire world, I shall always reserve a special place of dislike for him. In fact I clicked the stupid link in FB that said "Wow! Now we can unlike posts as well" just so that I can unlike his fan page or profile page. He became rich, famous and admired because of windows. Did he ever think about the butterfly effect that will cause halfway down the world where the hairy Indians will have to try to be like Harry conjuring magic with some crappy software? Especially, if you are from a modest middle class family whose only Sunday luxury is to eat chicken briyani for lunch, the going gets tougher. Every second cousin of every goddamn neighbor will come from US and will tell how they all live happily in US and that software is going to rule the world. Even at that age I vowed not to eat any of the chocolates they gave (Except Snickers, of course) as it came with an evil intention and from an evil empire. But chocolates are only for few days and then you will be back to Sunday briyani and the dinner table conversation will revolve around what subjects I have to take in my higher secondary or college to have a bright future. I was frustrated with all this and I told them, I wanted to be a journalist. I told them that I like the analysis and adventure, I can create a huge impact on the society and the travel and glamour were such excellent perks that comes with a career in journalism. My father was supportive to this as always. He took me on a long walk and gave me an even longer lecture about how I can pursue it once I complete my degree and get a job. He said you need to have a "proper" job which is the basement and then you can build over it later. He gave another analogy of how a stool helps us to elevate ourselves to pluck ripe mangoes which is otherwise out of our reach. He told me like a "steady" "proper" job will be like the stool that will help me get the "hobby", "part time" journalist job which was of course, the mango in my life. I was so happy to have such a dad who can easily relate to me and is ever supportive that he agreed that I can be a journalist! Yes, I was a lil naive. Ok... as naive as Manmohan Singh. Alright buddy... I was an idiot; proceed with the story when you are done mocking me!

I joined one of the best colleges in India which has institute and technology in its name (Ha! Even now, I have the journalistic instincts of covering up for law suits). To my relief or wonder I am not able to describe it properly, I found many of them also had come with the same struggle in life. Musicians, singers, athletes, Astronauts, designers, choreographers had come from different corners of the country. Can you believe that they had something called sports quota and they did not allow these "Sports Quota" students to travel for sports meet? Yes, our professors had a very twisted sense of humor to say the least. We can keep dreaming about all the gold medals India will win in Olympics. So with every other talent in us hung by the laboratory copper wires or bottled in the chemical lab beakers or compiled as programs in a PC, we passed out. We were the crème-de-la-crème of the nation. Citizens who will take this nation to soaring heights. So high, that India itself will look small and hence we will develop a sense of belongingness to the world at large and be transcending leaders! Ok, you can come down now - Nothing like that happened. By this time we were so accustomed to adjusting our sights, vision and compromising to do only what is demanded of us. We did not aim to stretch ourselves or do something out of the ordinary. We just wanted to be one among the others, the common people who will go back to eating chicken briyani on sundays and may be, because of our profoundly improved lives, also have vanilla ice cream as dessert.

So after eating Sunday chicken briyani and then briyani with vanila ice cream as dessert for three years I joined a premier B School. I am sitting here, trying to sell a product that neither the customer nor the company wants (it in the warehouse) and hence hangs in the air. But, a premier B school degree has its own impact on life. It means that I can have some red wine or chilled beer along with the briyani now!  But today, I have chosen to redeem my life and apply through all the channels possible. Write stories about my experiences and my travel with the belief that one day or the other I will get to be a glamorous journalist who travels the world and is admired by everyone (especially ladies). And in my second life, where I am going to keep writing in my diary and in job portals, I have vowed that I shall allow my son/daughter to get their mango by climbing the tree, if they want to. How long can it take? Especially now that I have my stool which I can lend them, they should get it in a jump or two! So, here we go... Up, up and away!!!

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  1. Great one Bro....:) Am still searching for that stool ;)

  2. Machi, Nice write up . Can you lend me ur stool :P


  3. @Murali - Thanks Thambi. U need to work harder to get the stool in shape.

    @Veeru - Unaku illamaya machi ;)

  4. @shanky well written
    (PS:@Sports quota nu namma pondoos a sollalaye :P ?)

  5. Good one Shanky! Keep the flair flowing!

  6. @King Bell - awesome name machi... Sathyama pondoos a sollala da... Actually Chess is a game and not a sport :) What say?

  7. Sooper Shanky!! Neenga inga irukaveandiya aale illa!! - Arun


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