All my life I had desperately managed to achieve what everyone would hardly call average grades, I always felt like a donkey with a pile of books on his back. But the evil spirit within me endured the years upon years of torture; I endured this educational brutality. Thanks to “gaaliyaan, jotay and thudday” of my parents, and sometimes by elder, finer, and brighter siblings too, for helping me endure this grinding process.
I studied in one of the best schools in town of the era, a reputable college, and an Okay University that was on the verge of rising and expanding. However, the point of this dreadful, seemingly never ending, process of “forced education” was lost on me. Had it been left to my own machinations, I would have been content with other worldly pleasures. And after 16 years of this hate-hate relationship with formal education, I passed out with a piece of paper in my hand that I absolutely had no idea what good will it bring? I didn’t really know what exactly did I learn and why did I have to go through all this except the society (read: family) told me that I need to make money, and a lot of it. How? That it didn’t tell, convenient, eh?
Do all those who don’t earn a piece of paper go to their graves without money? Do they die poor and hungry? I would often ask such non-sense questions, and I was permanently labeled as “consistently inconsistent”, “emotionally unstable”, and “mentally misfit” and not by some strangers, mind you.
The only thing that I had seemingly learned from this educational experience was the depth and width of my ignorance. As I expected it to turn out, within six months of my graduation with a “Masters” degree, my memory started betraying me and I had started having troubles even recalling the names of Elective courses I studied and passed just a few months ago. Demented as I am, once I had a pretty nightmarish experience during an interview with an HR Director of one of the largest Textile firms in the country where I had applied for a certain Marketing position, he asked me to talk about any topic of my preference from the Brand Management textbook I studied, and I was like what? Err, What?
I grew up with many complexes and fears, chiefly among them was the fear of “gaaliyaan, jootay and thudday” of my parents. However, when I matriculated, I was almost 16, and the growing up body of a teenager seemed to be less affected by them as compared to a child’s body. So, naturally, my father’s insolent, deplorable, and rebellious son had started to emerge from the depths under my skin. He didn’t quite like it though, still doesn’t. As soon as the matriculation exams were over, I made this announcement of liberty: “No more Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics, Sir, I just hate them, any more dosage of these subjects will prove fatal for me”. The experience must have been very disturbing for my father, for having a disappointing son all along, I now understand. So, he decided to go silent and let me pick my higher secondary school subjects combination, “Ja beta! Jee Lay Apni Zindagi”, I am sure he must have meant.
I came, I saw, and I picked the subjects, but, I was betrayed. Nobody during the entire process bothered telling me what Statistics was really about, and I picked it because one of my friends Dubbo picked it too, so did Khurram, and a horde of other guys I knew of. I hated Mathematics so much; I never actually tried to find out more about the bitch to come to know that Statistics is just her illegitimate child. Ultimately, the cruel abomination of the high school got over, and my father actually threw a party, not to celebrate any achievement, distinction or grades, but to celebrate that I got this far without being flunked or repeating a year, a miracle he did not expect.
I opted for Political Science and Journalism in the undergrad, and for the first time in my entire life, I felt myself home. I found a tinge of peace, and salvation. I instantly knew that I was the Plato of the age, the John Locke of my country, and a Rousseau in the making. And for the first time ever, ever, my grades improved slightly compared to the trends of the previous 12 years of education. However, as legend would have it, by the time I had completed the undergrad degree, I was infatuated with two separate females; one from a species with more humanoid appearance called girls, and the other my preferred brand of tobacco, the later being a more serious relationship I now realize.
My father, who had by now made a compromise with my Social Scientific affair, insisted a lot that I should continue on the path of Political Science or Law. I privately agreed with my father, but one of the things that women would make men do is to want to make money and go completely ATM. My particular love interest played fear on me, “what would you do with an MA Political Science or LLB? Be a beggar? Teach elementary school? Do you know how much money they make?” Unfortunately, we didn’t have 200 TV channels back then, and the race for mushroom “analyst” growth had not yet begun or I could have told her, “look babe! By any luck, we can literally become millionaires in no time; all I need is a little more stomach for sensationalism and less for journalism”.
But women and their love for brands is very strong, she made me go all out to study “Brand” Management, and then there I was one day taking admission in an MBA program. It took me about two and a half years to complete that nonsensical mixture of certain subjects that make you specialist of none. It’s the kind of degree corporations need to have jacks (read: jerks) of all trades, masters of none, and make them do all kinds of dirty work at a ridiculously cheap price that even does not justify the investment in a single piece of paper in terms of money, time and energy. But, that doesn’t matter to anyone, all you have to do is get in the grind, start making money, become an ATM machine, and stay in the grind, and keep making as much money as possible and don’t ask questions.
I asked questions!
I was a misfit. I never stayed in a job. I never knew why I have done what I did and why I was doing this all now. My heart was at one place, the mind was at another. Is making whatever amount of some pennies the sole purpose of life? Is this it? Be born, grow up, make money, have children, and die trying to make others happy? There is so much of an ape in it – where is the human part?
Don’t even give a damn about your being. Why are you here? What is the point of doing all this? How about doing something right ourselves and judging others less? Why do we worry about “change” in a society where everyone wants to change others by hook or by crook, by abuse or by a bullet – CHANGE! YOU BLITHERING IDIOT!!!
But, what change? Nobody has answers for that. But, what about changing ourselves? That falls in the kind of questions that are prohibited. So much of an ape there is.
I hated myself for living a life others expected of me. The more questions I asked, the more haunting the experience became, I kept losing faith as well as energy in my abilities, ambitions, as well as motivations in life. I gradually became more and more uncomfortable with the life I had lived, and the lives around me, and at ripe young years I started getting old and lackluster and sick.
During all this, I tested so many things, I thought, I wrote, I tried acting, I tried to explore the realms of the occult, I flirted with a lot of women, I lied, I cheated, I betrayed, I tried political activism, and I even tried mysticism and studying in a seminary and much more.
I confess, for many people around me I am just a crackpot, but something inside me keeps telling me I am not there yet.
If I am not a chance product, if there is a God, then there must be a purpose for me, and either the purpose needs present itself to me, or I need to find it. If there is no God, and I am just ape’s extended family, I have no worries for a purpose, and then all these discourses on mind and matter, pain and pleasure, perception and existence are futile. Then let me live a life of experimentation; for at least there is a sense of adventure to it.
One day if I die to find myself facing a God, I want to be able to tell Him, “look dear God! I never took you as a given in my life, I set out to find you and here I am, such a pleasure to find you here!”