Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The rat can't opt out of the race

Disclaimer: This post has been lying in the drafts section for over 2 months. Completed, edited (not really) and published only today. Yes, Yes, Lazy was coming. 

When I was young, oh wait am still that (would it be ridiculously disney of me if did the *facepalm*?), so let's start over. When I was a child, I remember sitting in my living room in Madras and telling my mother and a friend that I wanted to be 'businesswoman' because I loved the idea of wearing a red business suit (yes, the one with a red blazer and a red skirt) and 6-inch high pumps and walking around an 'office' with 'filework'. I was in class 4  and Kingfisher Airlines hadn't launched then. Years later of course, the Mallya stole my idea and converted it into some sort of an affordable male fantasy for them 'kings of good times'.

Shortly after that statement, I realized that 'office' actually implied hierarchy and 'filework' did not mean simply signing sheets of paper and acting important. I dropped the dream and returned to my original dream about wanting to be the President of the country ( I was not aware of the helplessness of the post then) and/or an air-hostess and/or Miss Universe. I grew up stout, rather short and couldn't win the war against acne. So as awesome as my personality was, it required more than communication skills to be crowned with diamonds and wave the hands like a princess. So the beauty pageants part was out. I also realized you can't just wake one morning and decide  to preside over the country. So presidency was out and how.

What did smart, opinionated, sort-of-creative drama queens like myself do in life? I decided I want to be a journalist. Believe me, noone at that point of time chose to highlight the fact that news reporting really was not  about voicing one's opinion on a corporate-funded national platform. I thought the un-pretty people, you know the unconventional ones like myself wore a lot kohl, Fab India and were destined to change the world and of course, in the process garner their own fan following. The world was one giant stage where my character would draw a lot of applause and admiration. I observed carefully and found out that I needed to wear more khadi, put even more kohl and use words/phrases like 'inequality' , 'gender-bias' , 'death of democracy', 'left leaning' , I would be labelled intellectual and my ideas, radical. I don't mean the people who did this were un-pretty. I just mean, that un-pretty ones could be safe with this.

If you're still reading, it is safe to assume that you have judged me beyond measure, not only for my hopeless dreams and understanding of the world, but for choosing the wrong title to the post. Why would I tell you the rat can't opt out of the race and then elaborate in painful detail, my dreams and ambitions and uselessness? I don't know, actually. I don't know why I began this post in the first place. Maybe because I forgot what I was writing about mid-way. But this title, does sound catchy no? If I had called this "My list of dreams" or some jazz like that, you would have never even bothered to open it. So the initial idea of the post had a lot to do with this title, but now it doesn't. I'm mental like that.

So anyway, getting back. The journalistic dreams soon fizzled out as I learnt what it really meant and I decided to sell my soul, succumb to the world's ways and join the world of advertising/marketing. Like I'd said to someone, sometime back, now that I've sold my soul, I feel rather liberated because there really is nothing I can be uptight about and/or decide to judge anymore. I sell magazines, really. Before that, I sold newspapers. I'm a part of the typical rat race now. For all my childhood yearning to choose an alternate profession or do something different, something I feel passionate about as opposed to just minting money, I've ended up following the herd mentality now haven't I? I want to do the M.B.A. route (I'm going to pretend I don't hear your snide remarks or see your eyebrows flinch and your lips curve into a smirk). The point still remains, it's a race and it's not easy.

But you know the funny thing is, I don't feel all "I am wasting my life away". Yes, I'd love to travel a lot more than I already do. Actually, I'd like to discover a lot more of the country all by myself and this lifestyle doesn't really permit those vagabond ways. But it's a simple balance really. The vagabond shoes need to be those yummy ones that tempt you for really long until you get to wear them. If I wore the vagabond shoes like a pair of chappals, they would be reduced to just that- everyday chappals.

To opt out of a race, you only land yourself in another. In wanting to be different, we participate in the biggest cliche of all. To think out of the box, you land yourself in another box. It's only logical. In this constant struggle against definition, we actually end ourselves up in the biggest pattern of them all.

What's the solution? I don't know. I usually just go to sleep.



George said...

When you find the solution let me know. I'm very much the same.

Anonymous said...

"In wanting to be different, we participate in the biggest cliche of all. To think out of the box, you land yourself in another box. It's only logical. In this constant struggle against definition, we actually end ourselves up in the biggest pattern of them all."

Apparently, want of being different is something very paradoxical !
Most of the "different" people came from the most common and cliche back ground.
And again, it's totally okay to be a just another face in crowd. coz crowd disperses what remain is YOU and that's a unique one. and it's applicable to everyone who's in teh crowd !

jaya said...

Love your writing baby..way to go!!!
On a serious note in a pursuit to prove we are different we end up finding 100 things which make us similar to others...