Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Successful Person

[NOTE: I have just assumed the gender of the imaginary successful person as male to do away with he/she, his/her, him/her problems. Any form of mental stress caused by this to anybody is purely unintentional and you are more than welcome to edit the document by changing the gender. The ‘replace all’ option in MS Word will come in very helpful in this pursuit]

A successful person starts life as a precocious child. In most cases he is born to a well-to-do family, in few others his legend becomes even bigger. He starts off a dozen paces ahead of his peers and he knows his nursery rhymes while the others are still fumbling with their ‘maa s’ and ‘papa s’. He is a teachers pet and knows more at the age of three than the teacher knew in her third standard. He comes first in class, and his parents mourn every report card day when this other guy pips him to the post by a mark or two. He puts in those three extra hours per day for that one mark, and the parents take a more than eager in interest in comparing the mark sheet with that other boy, who just manages to barely get ninety percent marks.

He does equally well at all subjects, but his favorite subject changes from history to math and science subjects as soon as his parents tell him that those are the ones which will make him the only thing worth being, an engineer. In today’s world his parents can’t let him remain just a mug pot, so he takes classes galore. After those eight periods in school, he scoots to his teacher’s place for extra private lessons. No sooner than that is over that he will be dutifully drawing the village scene at the neighborhood drawing class. He will be reading the newspaper, of course as a chore. Then he will answer the question about the highest temperature recorded in the Atacama desert in the year in which the fortieth president of the United States visited Pyong Yong, in the inter school quiz contest. As his board exams appear he will get into a shell, add more weight in kilograms than the no. of movies he would have seen in his entire life. He will look down at other kids who go out to play during evenings and lose precious study hours. He will make himself, his teachers and the housemaid proud by getting the highest marks in the exams in the thirty year history of his school. By the way, he will have girls swooning over him, but he will continue with his vocation, which will put even the sages in the Hindu epics to shame.

He will shine brighter than ever in the higher secondary years and will be reprimanded for sleeping one minute after four in the morning. He will join all forms of coaching available in his city and any other in a radius of hundred kilometers which will guarantee him a place in the best engineering college in the country. He will obviously get through the entrance exams and will breathe easy.

Having finished a majority of the hard work, he will out perform all his friends at all extra curricular activities in college and still maintain astronomical figures in his marksheet. He will break more relationships then he will enter. He will have the best years of his life. Just before leaving college, he will realize that the past twenty some years were spent with only purpose in mind, to become an engineer. Then being in that rebellious stage he will question himself why. He will realize it’s the money, honey. And that would be the end of all engineering dreams and getting admission into the countries premier management school will become the new target. He will complete this one with equal ease. After a couple of years he will come out of the hallowed portals with eight figure salaries in US dollars. He will start his life, in cooler climes of the western world as an consultant, using his slave, the personal computer to help him decide the best investment options for his clients. Then he will realize its high time he married. Girls and their parents will lay themselves prostrate before him and his parents and like Draupadi our hero will make his choice. Amid pomp and show and joy unbridled his marriage will be solemnized and thus the fairy tale will begin. Junior genius will come in three years time and the story will repeat itself.

We hereby come to then end of yet another story of the stereotypical successful Indian. He succeeded in maintaining the standards of the society. He did not go astray in search of hypothetical objects like his personal goals, desires, wishes etc. He did not become a traveler that he guiltily once dreamt about becoming one winter night in his tenth year. He did not marry his first love, the dark daughter of the grocery store keeper, who belonged to the other community. Every time he heard the national anthem in the latest Karan Johar blockbuster in his plush US home, he dutifully stood up and remained so for the whole fifty two seconds of the anthem.

He became the symbol of success in his small hometown and every kid was put to sleep by her mother with the success story of this Kumaraswami, Ganguly, Patel or Verma uncle. They too had to be like him, a successful man.


Sumitra said...

I guess this one is the most stirring of all your essays. Good protrayal of the 'ambitious' Indian mind!

Suhel Banerjee said...

@ reshma & Sumitra - Humble bow taken:)