Saturday, September 18, 2010

For A Better Future

I have noticed that I always get ideas for my blogs whenever I am travelling alone. This time, it isn't an idea as such. Rather, its a series of thoughts which were started when I was travelling from Delhi to Gurgaon in the metro. A family was seated just next to where I was standing. A man - fully suited up and busy with his laptop, a lady (apparently his wife) clad traditionally in a saree with her head covered and their child who seemed to be less than a year old. Small kids have always interested me ever since I can remember. He was sitting on his mother's lap and staring at me intently. I had my earphones on with music playing full blast on my cell phone. When I noticed that this kid is "checking" me out, I made some strange silly faces at him, and that brought that typical childish smile on his face. The smile encouraged me to make even more stupider faces and soon enough quite a number of people standing in the train were getting entertained with my stupidity. Suddenly, the kid became a bit adventurous and pulled my earphones out which brought my cell crashing down from my shirt pocket. In an instant he got a slap from his mother who apologised to me. I was just thankful that my poor cell was safe and sound.
What's so great about this event, you might think. I look at it in this way. It showed me three different personalities. 
#1.  A working man, burdened with work pressures so much that he has to work even while travelling.
#2. A housewife, who has to follow her husband everywhere and also take full responsibility for her child.
#3. A child, who has no idea about the world and behaviour expected of him by the society. For him, the world is an adventure, full of interesting things and wierd people.

As kids ourselves, how many of us were as dull as we are now? When we are young without "knowledge", even a trivial thing like a shoelace seems so damn interesting. The world is out there waiting for us to explore it. Everybody has dreams about what they would become when they grow old. As far as I am concerned, when I was a tiny tot, the profession that fascinated me the most was that of a bus driver. Sitting with my mother in a bus, I could stare with interest for hours as the driver turned that huge round ring (which I learnt later is called "steering wheel") and push back and forth a long lever (gear). Man, driving a bus would be so much fun!!!!!! Later though my brother, who is 3 years older to me somehow managed to convince me that being a conductor would be a better option since apparently he was the one who got all the money. Engineering was not present even in my wildest dreams.
But then as I grew up and learnt that society does not give much respect to a bus driver or a conductor, I had to look at other professions. The prime was obviously that of a doctor, both my parents being the same. I would spend hours "cutting" up (or rather sawing up as it would look like) my brother in surgery during our playtime each of us taking turns at being the patient and the doctor. But then, doctors always had to rush at odd times, even at midnight whenever there was a patient to be taken care of. Also they hardly had holidays. Who the hell wanted so much respect without any holidays? So being a doctor was struck off from my career options and somehow I luckily ended up as an engineer.
So what exactly is the point I am trying to make here?
Basically its not we, who want to be what we are. Its the society, which makes us what we are. And by society it includes our parents, family, teachers, friends and all those people who have the power to influence our way of thinking. If people like these hadn't influenced me when I was small, who knows, maybe today I would have been driving a rickety Kadamba bus between Mapusa and Panaji or maybe shouting "Punje direct direct" in the same. Not that I have any regrets at not being able to do so.

Most of us are not doing what we wish to do, rather we prefer to follow the rules that the society sets for us and be what others want us to be. The man in the train must have been working very hard to take care of his family. But was he really happy? Maybe he was. But there were more chances that he wasn't. Throughout the incident, not once did he raise his head from the laptop screen. And in the process, he must be missing seeing his son's childhood. The lady was expected to take care of her child and be responsible for his actions. If the child does not behave himself, its his mother's fault. And by good behaviour, we mean stay still and totally quiet. Do not disturb other people. Never talk to strangers. Staring is bad manners. All of us are taught these social ettiquettes at a very early age, so that we grow up into well-behaved children. While I do agree that some mannerisms are definitely required to be inculcated very  early in our life, forcing this behaviour can sometimes be harmful to ones ability to think differently.
If you don't agree, just think for once. When was the last time you were so much engrossed in something which was trivial for others? When was the last time that you had an idea which you felt could change the world or make it a better place? Or to quote a popular saying, When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time that your idol was a superhero or a cartoon character and not a business tycoon?
As we grow up, we begin to supress our childhood dreams for fear of disapproval from those around us. Even if you are very happy, you would never dance on the road because you feel that people will ridicule you. When you are frustrated, you don't yell your head off because you think people would think you are crazy. Slowly we gather so many inhibitions, that our whole outlook of life changes. Now we also expect the same from others what was earlier expected of us, and the whole cycle continues.
I thought that day, why can't I no longer be like that child, innocent and so damn curious. Why didn't I find the world as interesting as it was when I was a toddler? Just in a few years, I had changed so much.
What I want to tell all you readers is, it is only one life that we get. Live it the way YOU want to. All of us have a right to be happy. If you truly love doing something, go for it irrespective of how old you are, where you are. Jump, whenever you feel like jumping, sing at the top of your voice. Who cares what your neighbor thinks? It's you who is happy, not him. As my photography teacher told our class once, "Whenever you go out and witness a scene that you want to capture, go ahead and capture it the way you want to. It's only you who can see it the way you are seeing it. Even if it means you have to lie down on the road or stand in wierd positions, do it without getting conscious as to what your onlookers think. You may never get the scene back ever again."
Whenever you are worried about the future, remember this. Whats the use of having a better future, when you can't enjoy the present? The future is something all of us want to make better, and when that future becomes present, we start worrying about it's future. So just stop worrying for sometime and live the moment. You may never get it back.
So here cums the end to a post which is totally unlike my usual ones. Sometimes I just can't prevent myself from typing out my thoughts as they are flowing in my mind. To end it, I would like to say,
"Yesterday was History, Tomorrow is Mystery. But Today is a gift, that's why it is called Present." Enjoyy!!!