Friday, April 19, 2013

Hype and Hoopla





The trigger for writing this post is a candid conversation with a young man who joined a consultancy firm last year.  While in college, the chap was disillusioned with love and now he is miserable in his job. “I need a change. Pronto,” he says.

Some things in life are so hyped that most of us don’t feel the ‘awesome’ we were supposed to feel. It all begins with college. Remember the urgency to discard school uniforms and whiff the free college air? Once in college, it dawns that college is not about short skirts, toned bodies, dance competitions and endless cups at the college canteen. College is about assignments, deadlines and the anxiety associated with charting a career. Realities of life jerk us when real life Principal is the antithesis of a bumbling Boman Irani or an idiotic Anupam Kher. Girls who scorch the dance floor like a simpering Alia Bhatt or a sassy Sushmita Sen are as rare as Rahul Gandhi’s interaction with the media. As work pressure mounts, is it any surprise that we begin to miss school? The innocence, the disregard for time and the parental protection, all of it.  

Another idea that is least disputed, is the pleasure associated with falling in love. Unable to find beatific, angelic love, we begin to fall in love with the official downer of sorrow - beer. True, there is no lonelier feeling than watching your friend cootchie-coo while you wait for your ‘Bum Chik Wah Wah’ moment. This ‘love shove’ is a certified destroyer of friendship.  It leads to ‘we need to talk’ moments. And ‘we need to talk’ is all about your self-respect going down the drain. Sample the plight of this chap:
My girlfriend wants to breakup because I forgot to wish ‘Fudge’ on his third birthday. These days I spend all my time manaoing her pet pug. But my girlfriend ignores me.  She says she will go out with my roommate if I don’t apologize to Fudge in person. I am losing my self esteem. Please help.’

Finally look at the way, the idea of a job is sold. Click on the career options and organizations lure with phrases like ‘It’s all about you’; ‘Explore yourself as you grow with us’.  The problem with such sentimental marketing is that it fogs the realistic picture. The truth is that companies need motivated people to meet targets and stay afloat, while we need work to pay for our bread and butter. Yeah, that’s it. Simple. The emotional pitch of ‘Reinvent yourself’ heightens expectations. 

All too often the promised salary hike is delayed. The media blitz rarely gives the impression that while we will slog to meet targets, our boss will play Solitaire on his lappy.  More often than not, we  oscillate between two power centers at work. And chances of beer buddies back-stabbing for promotions are almost certain. Fifty bucks on this one.

Along with the first job comes the notion of independence. Yeah. No time limits, no sermons, no begging for car keys and no hiding the beer bottles in undergarments. So far so good.  But what about piles of laundry, tut-tut with the maid, absence of dabba wala, survival on Maggie, and sneering of neighborhood aunties? “Never let out your apartment to bachelors. No sense of time. No sense of cleanliness. And why do they need a water connection? Beer is all they drink. This generation is doomed, I tell you.”
 
Soon you begin to miss your mom who says, “Tedha hai par mera hai.”

So where does all this ranting lead to?
Well, it leads to a Zen like realization that when we make frequent changes, the next wish is to change again. Any change brings a new set of problems. Each moment is distinct and not comparable to another for a particular reason. 

Time to wake up and smell the coffee. Before it gets cold and you want tea again.


Picture Courtesy: freedigitalphotos

27 comments:

  1. Aha! Time to smell the coffee indeed :) That was one insightful post, Alka!

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  2. I do not know much about how it pans out in corporate world, but the problems my friends in Bangalore face are of their own making. A lot of us have this inherent Cinderella-syndrome sort of psyche- that school/college/boss, in that order makes our life hell. But ask any of these people what exactly do they seek in life, and I was surprised that they were blank. Beer on weekends is what they would replicate even if they have 3 day a week. The intent is not to blame my generation, but to the trend that assigns blame on others while faking the zeal for life which was never there.

    I sincerely believe in the integrated theories of well being, which say that if you are good, you will be so in whatever you come to be. If you are fun person, you will have person irrespective of what job you are in. Even if you are unemployed :)

    But then, I might be wrong. 28 years in not a long enough timeline after all.

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    1. Bang on. You are much wiser than your most with that time line.

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  3. Tell such young men that after school, college, and job, marriage is waiting for you :D

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  4. Grass is always greener on the other side. We don't realize it until we be there. True that you don't find girls being dance champions..it's all about tests, assignments, project works, tuition...well, then that's the cycle of life :)

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  5. True indeed!! My college dreams where lots of trendy, colorful clothes, freedom from nagging, slumber parties with hostel mates. And guess what, we had to start college in a dreary grey uniform, annoying hostel wardens substituted the nagging and the food was pathetic!! Yup, the hype and overexpectation of pretty much everything can't be avoided, but we learn our lessons on the way, and learn to see through all the fluff soon enough!

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    1. Glad, you identified with what I was trying to say here.

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  6. I agree that its time to wake up and smell the coffee, before it gets cold or before we want to drink something else. We are living in times that are solely driven by a frantic marketing blitzkreig. Once again a great post Alka.

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  7. Life is nothing but a series of detonations in your palace of dreams. I think the idea should be to go into things with some trepidation. Entering a phase with high hopes can land a person in a soup.

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  8. There could be a gap between expectations and reality, true. But what I appreciate more is that people are gustier, choosing happiness in off-beaten career paths instead of the more secure, cozy options. There is a restlessness to demand more, to get more out of life that I like.

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    1. True. You have used the perfect word for it.....restlessness.

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    2. *gutsier* damn the tab :).

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  9. Reading this post somehow brought a smile on my face :P Mainly because I know of people - a majority of them - who will be able to relate to it...Not so much in my case...I remember being glad when I got out of school :P I absolutely loved college - the new-found freedom in a new city despite the strict discipline - it was a strange high!! And then, I came to Bombay for my Masters' and that has been another exhilarating experience :)
    Of course, on the job-front - I remember getting really irritated but I decided to not stick around doing something I did not want to do and it was the BEST decision I made....The moment I got out of it, something else came my way and I love what I do today :) :)

    I feel the trick is to just look ahead and when you take a step, do it keeping all things in mind...And if you don't like where you are, you don't need to be there - just take the plunge and walk a different path..You will still land in a good place!

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  10. We the skeptical want our cubs to discover disillusionment for themselves. Why spoil all the fun?

    Didn't we all go through the same cycle?

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  11. Some amongst these boys are right.
    Its ambition,compitition and fear of losing to the man next door

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  12. Alka, this post is very thought provoking. The youth today is in a great hurry. They want easy money and all fun. To be ambitious is good. They must first Deserve then Desire.

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  13. Yes, that's something that I can't seem to relate to...I have somehow managed to be always happy with what i have rather than running after what i dont have.

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  14. Alka,

    Finally caught up with all pending posts. You would know the reasons of my absence if you visited my blogspace. Do we really have any Role Models? Even parents have shed that, isn't it? No matter what happens one should never lose Faith in God and self. I agree we use some words or expressions without understanding. It is not easy to become a writer as it needs a lot of patience and at times a godfather also. We need more organisations like this one for child development or upliftment of backward classes. PM's THEEK HAI has been a famous background score. Your categorization of people is so apt. At times we do get lost into nostalgia. Life is full of such wishes and once it is filled another one takes birth. It is a never ending process.

    Take care

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  15. ditto to whatever Uncle Jack says above.
    We are a disillusioned lot...our system is in constant fight to learn the true face of things...but by that time another truth beckons to be explored. This is life and I wonder which era had it the same?!

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