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Posted by Shanky - - 17 comments

NangYuan Terrace and Doing Nothing

As I had told you guys before reaching Mumbai, I had been to the islands of Thailand and met people from other countries. During these encounters I realized that though every human being is unique, there are lessons we can take from everybody we meet and apply it in our lives. So here are some of my interesting observations:

Everybody has problems - If you know me personally, then you know how much I desist the Indian way of "settling down". While your parents will want you to be unique early in your school days and the trophies you bring home for poetry and elocution is much appreciated, it is never seriously viewed. It is to be written in the "hobbies" section of your resume. The main part of your resume is supposed to follow the routine route of Professional Education --> Work --> MBA --> Work --> Marry --> Home and Car --> Kids -- Die! I thought or was led to believe by the books and Hollywood movies that my counterparts in the western hemisphere have a better life! But I was proved wrong by Danielle, a 20 something English girl who was an accountant in a firm and quit her job because it became "too much". She narrated her woes in life and the pressures the society in UK puts on an individual. Her next career move, according to the society and her family should be to get an MBA, then get married and settle down in life. But she wants to be a writer and volunteer in the education space. I was totally flabbergasted! It was a story like any other Indian's only that she was super cute and had an English accent! 

Get real. Get experience - I had to walk over 5 Km to get to the highest viewing point on Koh Tao - my most favorite spot in Thailand. The viewpoint was called Nangyuan Terrace and was actually a part of a resort. As a PR move the resort had allowed free access to the public and right at the ledge of the viewpoint is a restaurant overlooking the beautiful atoll Nang Yuan which is a popular day trip among visitors. It is here that I met David - A guy from England who lost his job with Barclays Capital. He is travelling and trying to find a job in SE Asia as the economy here is touted to be better. While talking to him topics about India and its culture came up. He was very curious to know how the marriage system works and the role that gold plays in the marriage and hence the economy. He even tutored me about the economic impact at which point I yawned more than I nodded. And then he revealed that he does not even have a degree which made me almost jump off the cliff! Looking at my expression and my open mouth he explained further - "Unlike India, in the western hemisphere you need experience. Your certificate does not hold any value for a job application unless you have worked in the industry. If you want to change your sector and find a new career or even an alternate career, then get real, get some experience and work your way up. I started 7 years ago as a back office analyst and now I have been fired as a consultant" 

Exposure is reality - We often come across westerners in weird, unique, different careers and wonder how they had even thought about becoming what they were. I kind of figured out the answer to this question while exploring the beautiful reefs of Koh Tao. My dive instructor was a guy named Toby and he was all of 20 years. While it amused me to no end that he was an instructor at such a young age, it irritated him that I was amused by his age. Shamelessly, I kept prodding about how he knew that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He said he was exposed to diving at 15, the minimum age for you to be certified, and got hooked to it. He has been diving ever since and took up the instructor course at 18, again the minimum age to start, and became an instructor at 18! In India rarely do we get such exposure to a variety of professions. Rarely do we travel to other nations to give a different experience to our children. If there needs to be change in the way we look at life and career it is not enough if we swap marks for grades and give prizes for everyone. Rather, I would say make competition mandatory but the basis of competition must be different depending on the student. For that you need to expose him and bring to his cognition that there are alternate avenues available. 

Do nothing - We Indians have a compulsive need to be doing something. While we plan our holidays we plan for "activities" to be done and sights to be seen. If there were not enough things to do then we label the place as "Not so good". "It was fun but there is nothing to do beyond a day in Kodaikanal and it gets boring." Such statements are testimonial that we have lost the power to extract happiness in doing nothing and just enjoying each others' company! We need a boat ride or a monkey falls or at least a children's park to enjoy the holiday. But travelling and doing nothing during a holiday is awesome. Its fun! All through this entire sojourn I had so little to do and I enjoyed it! I did not have a "must see" place that I was anxious not to miss out or a "must try" activity that I desperately wanted to try. I did nothing but laze around the beach, read a book and eat at the local coffee shop. I simply loved it!

Confusion - After all this, I was confused! What am I doing? Am I doing the right thing? But confusion is good. Confusion leads to good conclusions. 

This post has been entered for the expedia travel competition in indiblogger. 

17 Responses so far.

  1. ravishnkr says:

    Ha ha.... wat u said is true ! All the roads and streets of life are filled with wonderful experiences tat extracts out all the emotions from u...Nice to see tat all u engineering and MBA grads have started to Pen things other than profession. Things back home will change slowly....New breeze of thoughts have already been brought into the famliy by all the young visionaries... Coming years ll c a big change!!! keep writing

  2. Shanky says:

    Thanks Ravi :) Hope to see some changes in the mindset of parents and the society.

  3. Murali says:

    Great one bro!!! I seriously doubt you have anything else to do other than writing.

  4. Shanky says:

    Thambi, its called time management :D

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great Post !! I can see your writings style getting matured post by post !


  6. Ashok - ABGLP says:

    Good post...tho feel the case of Danielle is more of exception than a rule in the west.

  7. Shanky says:

    Thanks for the visit Ashok. The incident involves much more dialog than what is recorded in the post and she assured me that it was the case in west.
    Though that might be the secret way of MI6 to ward off skilled labor to UK. Nice movie to make, what say?

  8. Gaurav says:

    Shanky ... I am the one who appreciates you with all my heart .. ... great read dear !!

  9. abhimir says:

    We cannot blame parents for what I feel is equally our fault for being in this 'rat race'. They did not push us, yes, they had expectations, but then at the end of the day, it was our call, to not take the 'road not taken'. In fact, I feel we, with all the opportunities, exposure that we have had, still choosing the 'rat race', is even more unforgivable, than our parents who have known 'rat race' as the only way of life.

  10. Shanky says:

    Agreed Sarangi! Good point about not wanting to change even after realizing it. For example, all I could do was write a blog post and not quit my job *facepalm* to pursue my passion. But things must/will change from us.

    Also, I am not blaming the parents but the system as a whole and I am advocating for early exposure to avoid institutionalization of rat race.

  11. Holmes observation man :)
    Best of luck for the contest!

  12. Joker! says:

    dei! ne intha alavukku ezhuthuve nu naan ninaikkave ilaye :) Good one! Kalakkals! Lemme read al ur blogs now :)

  13. Shanky says:

    Ha ha... thanks da! I guess this is Arun Mozhi :)

  14. banti says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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