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