I was standing at Rajiv Chowk at 5:30. “Dwarka jaane waali train platform number ….”
Here we go.
It’s funny how ants, ducks, chickens, and even pigs walk in a straight file, even though their mothers can’t really tell them how to, but when it comes to people, it all goes to shit. Nobody has the time, or the decency to just give the person in front of them some space. Fat bellies rubbing against backs, or somebody constantly putting pressure against the backpack in front of them. Trying to cut lines when clearly a seat won’t be obtained. It’s pathetic how frenzied they get to get in. We’ve all been there. Standing in that line to get into the bus, or train, or plane, where every person tries his guts out to get in as if a game of musical chairs is going on, and as if getting in earlier ensures a prize of some sort. This is not by choice. While they do push and pull, they are not thinking of doing it, they are thinking of what they will have for dinner, or how they will score on a test they just gave. Basically, it has become human nature to compete in almost every area. But this problem of competition is not something that has existed for long. It has very recently reached a stage where it is visible to us all in every area. You would be amazed at how much one dehumanises others while getting on a train.
Only recently I saw a man use his entire palm on the face of a kid to push him back out so that he could get in. It was funny and outrageous (though I admit, more of funny. Come on, it looked like it was straight out of a comedy script) how he just treated the kid like an obstacle; like a branch he was pushing past in a swamp. As I climbed on (rather, as I was climbed upon), I realised how bad the situation has gotten.
One can relate this to the excessive competition being preached to children in terms of education these days. If you are doing well, Sharma ji’s son is doing better. The problem is there being too many people, but what can be done about that? People are going to keep multiplying like rats, and no degree of population control can stop that. Could we switch over to not giving a fuck?
A bold choice depends on how supportive and understanding your parents are.
But all the competition in education is still understandable, competition makes people perform better. But what about this other nonsense, queues and show-off and all. People need to obtain better phones than the next person, go for better vacations, upload better selfies, get more likes, take more shots, do greater bench presses, and buy a costlier purse! The list is infinite, so are the people who add to this list. Because if one person does it, the people around him also tend to do it (why can’t good habits spread like this?). It’s a trend now, and those who don’t follow it are labelled hipsters or rebels.
Being mediocre by choice, now, is logically incomprehensible to most people. If you think about it, one should be allowed to choose how much effort he puts into his life. It’s only logical. Why is it so necessary to do better than Sharma Ji’s son? Why is it so necessary to get into an IIT, or DU, or Yale, or Harvard, or Stanford, or Oxford? Why can’t people just aim to win in their weight-class and be dignified about it? Parents feel ashamed telling people about how their son hasn’t scored above 95% or about explaining where this University, that nobody has heard about, is situated. Students are afraid to tell their parents if they don’t score more than expected.
I am not saying that one should fail, or be jobless. But what is the joy in sacrificing all that time and energy into something, when the chances of actually satisfying people around you is about the same as the chances of you getting admission into an IIT (or a DU campus, or AIIMS … you get my gist). Give your best shot, and be proud of where you end up. Don’t become a resultant of expectations. Just set your own best and reach them. It’s time to change the system.
“Go to work, send your kids to school, follow fashion, act normal, walk on the pavement, watch TV, save for your old age, obey the law, repeat after me: I am free.”
Photography By: Sahil Verma