Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Stereotype

If you believe in birth and rebirth, and the theory of your next life being decided on the acts committed in the present one, then you have to agree with me on the following point: murderers, rapists, hijackers who crash airplanes into high-rises and other similarly sinful people are reborn as stereotypes in their next lives. Being a stereotype is like reliving a life already led by countless others before you, and neither will you be the last one to do so, well at least in most fields of life. We first have a prototype, and then based on its success or failure the process is automated and assembly line production of the same begins. That’s as true for products as human beings.

A long, long time ago there must have been a Marwari kid, who after dropping out of middle school opened a shop, and in spite of failing his math lessons time and again, somehow managed to make more profits than he could calculate. Or let’s talk about that Bengali youth in the ‘70s who, sitting in his comfortable old Kolkata verandah, read Marx, Gorky and others and made his contribution by voting the communists to power. He was extremely active during strikes and book launches, and hibernated just during his working hours sitting in that den of inefficiency, which also goes by the name of government offices at times. The Parsi grandfather, Pestonji, who was the first one to drive his old jalopy well past its best before date, also initiated another series of stereotypes. In the present age you ask any kid between the age of seven and fourteen what does he/she want to become after growing up and pat comes the answer, computer engineer and an MBA, and they immediately re-immerse themselves in their quest of understanding Einstein’s laws .

Today if you do not adhere to the rules that have already been laid out, you are different, eccentric, odd-ball etc. If you don’t do much in life, here much is the stereotype much, that is making money kinds, then you die an odd-ball who was talked more than talked to. If by some queer stroke of fate you happen to make it big, again big being the conventional big, you will just succeed in starting a new breed of stereotypes. Your grandson will be forced to eat his dessert before the main course, because you did so and became big. A whole new stereotype story will start all over again.

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