Monday, January 12, 2009

What do you want to do in life?

Did anybody ever ask me that question, in a serious sense, when I was growing up as a kid? I believe many of Indian kids would be asking this question. What is it that really interests me? What is it that I want to do as an adult? Which field of work interests me? I believe amongst Indian parents, they make most of their kids career decisions. For heavens sake please start taking your kids decision making skills into confidence and talk thru them regarding what they want to do in life.

Back in India, every parent want their kids either to get into the family business, if they have one, or study engineering/medicine as it is a generally believed notion in Indian society that only these 2 professional degree's can provide a safe and secure future. Well, amongst families involved in movies it could be that they want their kids to be involved in the movie industry itself. This is one of the reasons as to why it is very difficult to get a break in the Indian film industry unless you have a filmi parent/uncle/aunt.

In India, because of its huge population competition is high, really high. Every year, after finishing their high-school millions of students take up the entrance exams conducted by prestigious Engineering and Medical colleges to fill a few 1000 seats. I am sure nearly half of them take the entrance exams, for these seats, out of compulsion by their parents. Excluding them, still it is a large number of students vying for a few number of seats. I was one among those half interested students who did go for every other entrance exam when I knew for sure that I would not even come any closer to the expectation of these colleges while my father and sister insisted on me taking these exams and also made me sit and prepare for these exams. How can someone put his heart and mind into something that really does not interest him? Agreed I was just an average student but the kind of expectation that was set on me was huge and impractical for me to achieve.

Me getting into ivy league colleges of India was never going to happen. I knew it from day one and every attempt by me to convey the same to my father and sister went into deaf ears. Infact, I was even told that I should not even apply to any of the arts and science colleges. It was projected as though that only Engineers and Doctors, that too studying only in prestigious colleges, can lead a decent life and the rest are left to beg for their lives. I would totally disagree to that.

I eventually ended up getting my Bachelor in Engneering from one of the local colleges (SRM Engineering College) which was definitely no where near to an ivy college standard like that of the IIT's (Indian Institute of Technology) or the REC's (Regional Engineering College). I am doing good today and able to lead a decent life and support my family. Did I really want to do engineering? That's another debate as I said earlier only 2 options were placed in front of me, engineering or medicine and I managed to get an engineering seat.

The sad part is that, today as I reflect back on what happened to me in the early 90's, more than 15 years later even today I see this trend amongst parents back in India though I would have to agree that at least a few parents have started listening to what their kids want to do with their lives.

The society back in India has to be blamed for this kind of preconceived notions that parents have for their kids. No parent wants to tell that their kid is a lawyer or a musician or a sportsperson or any of the other innumerable professions that can provide a decent lifestyle. Every parent wants to tell that their kid is either a engineer or a doctor. I am sure that every parent, without an iota of doubt, has the best of interests for their kids and they want their kids to have all the best that this planet has to offer. But still every individual has a life of his/her own that he/she wants to live. So for god's sake please listen to your kids and let them live their lives and you be a guiding force in case if they take a wrong decision.

Lastly, I am not asking parents not to play any part in deciding their kids life, of course they have all the right to do that after all they (parents) created them (kids), but listen to what the kid has to say, listen to his aspirations, his interests, his ambitions, his dreams and his thoughts and be a good guide using your life's experiences. Do not make them live your life. Let them live theirs.

Come what may, it is still a long way to go before Indian parents let their kids lead his/her life in his/her own terms rather than theirs (parents).


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Purpose of Life!!!

Why has god, the supreme power, brought us into this planet? What was his expectation? Did he had a reasoning and explanation to have brought us here or is the whole purpose of landing us in this planet is for us to find answers to these questions and thereby answer the question, What is the purpose of our life?

I have never thought of identifying the purpose of my life until recently as those who know me would know that I have always been the kind of person who does not think toooo much about life but just takes life as it comes. But off late I have been thinking and trying to answer the above mentioned questions. I can tell you for sure that neither have I found the purpose of my life nor sure whether I will be able to figure it out. I will definitely post a blog the day I find the purpose of my life. Yet another reason for you to keep track of my blog... :)

So now I have a question as to how does one come to know if they have identified the purpose of their life. How do we measure it?. Are we allowed to measure it, in the first place? or As humans are we allowed to only keep looking for the purpose of our life and it is only after our death that the gods get to measure it and accordingly decide our next life form, if there was one, or whether our souls go to heaven or hell.

This reminds me of a dialogue from a recent Hollywood movie, "The Bucket List" starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. In that movie, at one point Morgan Freeman mentions to Jack Nicholson that the ancient Egyptians believed, after our death the gods ask our souls two questions as follows...

1. Have you found joy in your life?
2. Have others found joy out of your life?

...based on the the answer to these questions the gods decided whether we served the purpose of our life and whether we deserve to go to heaven or hell.

I found this interesting, particularly the second question. I am sure many of us will tell "Yes" for the first one but how many of us can tell "Yes" for the second question. Is the purpose of our life, is to give joy and hope to others? Could be. What say? I feel as humans we all are responsible for each other and if we can help each other be happy there is nothing more joyful than seeing joy in others eyes.

Anyway, while I continue my journey to identify the purpose of my life you too continue yours and lets hope our paths cross each others for good.

If at all we were lucky to know the purpose of our lives, does it mean that there is nothing interesting anymore in our lives? Or since we have found the purpose of our lives we basically start relaxing or do the opposite of it and try and perfect the cause of the purpose of our lives? Well I will leave that question to someone who has, in the first place, identified the purpose of his/her life. If you are that person, then please do leave a note... :)


Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's resolution

Every year millions of people around the globe decide to take a resolution, hopefully for a good reason, by New Year's eve and decide to implement the same from New Year's day. The resolutions range from Quitting Smoking to Hitting the gym more often to Not speeding and thereby avoiding traffic tickets and what not. But the question is how many of them really keep up to their resolutions and how many even try to keep up to it. Probably that's one of the reason why we see a hike in the number of gym registrations in January as compared to rest of the year.

I believe that you would be able follow these resolutions as long as you take these resolutions heartfelt and you really want to do it for a good reason rather than take it just because you want to join the bandwagon of people who have taken a New Year Resolution.

On a sidetrack, this year (2009) I hear from a lot of people that their resolution is to spend less given the tough economic situation. But I sincerely hope that people fail in this resolution, at least those who can afford to spend, as spending is what is all economy about. More dollars people spend more dollars in circulation and better the economy. Anyway, everybody is playing a wait and watch game here. So will I. But I will definitely not curtail on my spending unless I feel I am spending above my limitations.

Getting back on track, I have also taken a few funny resolutions, just for the heck of it and also taken some serious resolutions, at least serious for me. One such resolution that I can remember is something that I took, I believe, in 1982/83 when I was 7/8 years old. I had this funny habit of sucking my left thumb as a kid and my parents tried different methods for me get rid of this habit like wiping my left thumb with a bitter neem tree solution so that the next time when I suck my thumb it would taste bitter and then onwards I would stop sucking my thumb. But me being me, none worked and I was happily sucking my thumb as though there was a sweet juice coming out of it... :)
It was not as though the habit was dangerous or affecting me physically/mentally. But the fact that I was kind of stubborn in not getting away from the habit, I believe, made my parents a bit annoyed though it was obvious that as I grew older I would automatically get rid of it.

Then, I believe, in 1982/83 when I was 7/8 years old in December my mom and my sister (4 yrs elder) asked me to take it as a New Year Resolution and stop sucking my thumb from January 1 of the following year. It was a tough decision for me to give away the habit that has been with me for a long time until then in my life. Imagine a kid being told that he can play all he wants until December 31 but should quit playing altogether from January 1 and just sit at home. That sounds serious stuff, right. That was how it was for me.

Anyway, for me that was the first New Year resolution and I was kind of excited, as a kid, and went about saying to everybody about it. Then came the dreaded January 1. I was very stubborn and evading my temptation to my habit and successfully got rid of my it... yeah baby... :) But as a kind I found it very difficult to keep up to the resolution and at the same time I was surprised, even at that age, as to how much of will power I do have. Don't ask me if I have used it effectively in my life... I myself am looking for an answer for that question. Will definitely blog here the day I find the answer to it. So keep checking this blog.

This is how I started my journey with New Year resolutions. Ever since so many years have come and so many resolutions I have taken and followed/not followed. But the fact that the positive energy associated with a New Year's resolution is what makes people to at least try to keep up to it as compared to resolutions taken at any other time of the year.

Well, I will write another blog at a later point in time about another funny resolution that I took a few years back and how I could keep up to it for a year before taking a resolution the following year to break the original resolution... :)

Anyway, this year I have a taken a resolution to blog and blog and blog as much as I can and to pen down (in today's terms - to type) "My Thoughts" on anything and everything that attracts me. This is my first blog here to start with the promise of keeping up with my New Year's (2009) Resolution. Hope I can find time to keep up to it.

Happy reading.

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