“Say mate, are you satisfied with what is going on in your life, ummm, what you have achieved till now?” I asked a friend of mine the other day. This thought had been in my mind for quite a long time now. I do not know if I am alright with what’s going on. I do not know or have a count in my life as to how many times I have compromised with what the system has in store for me and has to offer me. The system is just so decided that you don’t have an option to look out of it. And we cannot do anything about it.
As we grow up, we have this set path where we are to go. There are no alternatives. You have to fit in the system. Think as the system wants you to think, perform as the system wants you to. You understand what I am talking about?
See. I was born and brought up in an educated teaching family, so to say. My Grandfather had been a teacher, and so are my mother and father, my aunts and uncle and all. But there was this narrow thinking as to what life was altogether. You have to study, and study, and study. There was no alternative for not studying the texts. I am grateful for that, as I now am an Engineer and all. But that’s not the point. What I like to bring in is that, the system drives us and we do not have a say in this.
When you are in the system, you see, think, and feel as the system. For instance, in the society, being educated, and getting a good job, and getting settled is what a successful person is. Yes it is; no doubt about it. If we are in this flow of thinking, I am a successful person and am satisfied, because I meet most of the criteria. Which implies, in the system I am successful. I keep reading in books, how a son has to live up to the expectations, for instance like, to go to the prestigious school that his father and his grandfather had gone. Those are fiction books, but these fiction stories do come up out of the society we live in.
Don’t you think you are tightly bound? Well, I do. Now for once, come out of the system and think what you really want and all. I wanted to become a musician, or a writer, or a poet, or an essayist, or something. It was out of the system. It was something that I was not expected to be. (Please do not take it that the said professions are inferior or something. I am just making a point, that’s all.) Try music, it is something posh and for people of high ends. “Music does not fill your stomach”, is a recurrent chide you get if you seriously think about following it. Being from a middle class background, music was not a profession that could sustain me and my family, neither was sports nor was writing.
There was no option. You have this notion in the entire land (I mean the country I’m from) that for a secure living in the future, it is Engineering or Medical. You don’t believe me? Alright, randomly pick a kid from any school, and ask then what they want to become in future. I tried it, to about a hundred kids. Only one said I want to be a teacher. And the ninety nine said either of the above profession. What I want to bring is that, this said notion is so much engraved in each and every individual that, it comes as a natural thing now. It is in us so deep; we think it is the only thing. (This Engineering-Medical syndrome is brought just to make the point of how well the society is entangled with the system.)
So much for free thinking and free living. Think about how much of the path we take, the thoughts we think and the like are influenced by the system.
I happen to have friends, who have real good potential to make it big in life, to excel and all. They are really good in mathematics, analytics. And by good, I mean they can be thinkers and philosophers in it. But driven by the system, they have gone searching for the secure pasture of normal, yet maybe rich lives. I wonder if that was what they wanted all along. But, it is just a waste of talent and the gift. But I am afraid I will also have to go for it very soon.
I also have friends and relatives for that matter, who played music and soccer as they are the personification of the game itself. But they cannot live their passion. Why? It is the system. Say for cricket, there are millions who want to make it big in this game and all. Of these millions, I can bet, there are at least thousands who play better than the ones who made it into the mainstream play. It is not about their talents or that they are not good so they don’t get in and all. It is the system that decides their fate in the said game. I for one, even if I want to play this game with my whole heart and soul and even if I am really good in it, I know I will never have got into it. It is the system that decides.
Take for example, the women in the society. There are claims that they are given equal rights and all. But are they? Yes, they are. At least in the papers. But this system is so fixed that even with the rights given of being independent and all; they are expected to be the same age old inscripted womanly character in the whole scene of family life. A girl child is expected to know cooking and feeding the family. It is ‘expected’ of them. It is the system that decides how she will be. And the women for one accept it. A woman army officer is frowned upon. A woman public leader is despised. This is what the system is.
Alright, by system I mean the unwritten laws and said norms that govern the way how an individual is expected to perform their part in the society. It is the path that he or she is expected to take.
Now, I don’t want to start a revolution against the said system and all. Neither do I want to create this feeling in anyone. I just want to bring to light what everyone thinks and feel but cannot help it. I love my being, my existence in the society. So I have to abide by the system. And I have been doing it. I don’t have a choice.
Now, the question is, being given a chance, what will you do? I want to live my dreams, my passions, a life not inhibited with the worries of keeping aligned with the system. A life where I can be what I want to be.
Practically speaking, this life I want to live is: I would want to take a break from my studies after graduating my high school, then go enlist in the army or something, then if I want to, I will study again. I want to just play the piano and make a living out of it, I want to just write and feed my family. Then when I am forty, I want to do college again, not any other degree, but some engineering, or some medical degree, in some good institution.
Is this possible? I guess not. I had to go to school at the age of four, then study all the way to high school, then senior secondary school, then four years of engineering. By the time I graduated I was already twenty two. I could not afford to take a break after my high school, or my secondary. People make a fuss about this year break. If I had taken it, I would never have got into any Degree college. Now that’s the truth. Now, I cannot go back to college after I get cross over my fortieth year. I won’t get any. (Now there are exceptions of getting a degree after fifty and all, but I am not the exception, so excuse me)
This is the system. You cannot design your life and live it. You cannot wake up one morning and say, “Today is a nice day for science” and you take up studying your MS. The system has all set it up. If you lag behind, you suffer in the system. Your off-springs will bear this curse along with you. This is the system I am talking about.
Now, I don’t want to go on and on and on. I just want to break this monologue by asking yet again, “Are you satisfied with the life you are living ?”, “Are you living the life you designed?”
Note: This post may not have a steady flow of ideas and all, but it does read out what is in my mind.