Our society has a reputation of being inexplicably cruel on instances. Our cruelty manifests itself in various forms. Cruelty in the form of sexism, cruelty in the form of narcissism, cruelty in the form of communalism, cruelty in the form of obsessions and cruelty in the form of perceptions. Who realizes that as we grow up we keep shedding away bits and pieces of ourselves to escape this cruelty? Who realizes that most of what we do is less of a reflection of our desires and more of a sign of our need for wider acceptance? I have in my own personal way been waging little wars against popular approval. But never have I felt the pressures to succumb to norms as I have felt since becoming a graduate and wanting to experiment.
What do you think are the greatest questions plaguing a fresh graduate or a soon to be graduate? Well there are quite a few to begin with. What does one do after college? Does one work or study? Now this is talking convention. What happens to those wish to explore options beyond working and studying. If you are raising an eye-brow thinking there aren’t any further options, then congratulations. Our Society has twisted you successfully. Now I am talking about the category of people who don’t believe in treading on conventional paths. Of those who believe in travelling and discovering. Of those who believe in learning through experiences. Of those who believe in creating instead of emulating. I am talking of the entrepreneurs and the innovators. Who don’t believe in joining an MNC . Who don’t rest the security of their careers on the number of degrees they have. Who don’t choose a course to study after seeing the returns it will fetch. But who indulge their interests, follow their instincts, get some firsthand experience in it and then hunt down a course that will provide them further finesse.
I have been surprised through three years of college in hearing the similarities of ambitions. Everybody wants to be an investment banker or an IAS officer or a doctor or a professor. What for God’s sake happened to wanting to be a writer or a painter or a film-maker or just an entrepreneur? What happened to wanting to direct your life your way instead of following a pre-determined set of steps? So I decided after college to direct my life my way and not follow conventions. I decided to not join a formal institute, not join an MNC and just travel around, read our culture, observe the various facets of society and discover my passion. Two months into my supposed exploration and I knew why. I knew why nobody experiments. I knew why we have forgotten to dream big and fresh and instead settle for stale ones.
It is because we are the products of an extremely intolerant, discouraging and short-sighted society. It starts from home. It starts when your parents stare at you in disbelief assured that you have lost your head in the Bahamas wanting to waste a year loitering around. It travels on to your peers who keep giving you a thousand reasons of how you will fail. It comes in the form of phone calls from extremely annoying distant relatives who do everything to convince your parents that they have raised a child who has gone haywire. Oh! Did I mention marriage proposals? Because for a lot of them, your life just got finished. Because you are a girl and you are a graduate and you are showing a lack of inclination to study further. So maybe, being a housewife is what you are looking at. And so, one by one, they keep coming up expressing their concerns, each one of them taking away a bit of your spark. It takes an immense amount of strength to go on and so it is no more a puzzle why 95% of us would rather not take the experimentation route.
Why is it so difficult for us to accept and embrace change? Why do we find it easier to smirk rather than support? Why can parents simply not pat their children’s shoulders and say ” Go ahead, I have your back”, instead of giving their children a hundred reasons to doubt themselves? Imagine the number of innovations and creations we would have if each of us chose to chase our dream instead of settling for a job we see no point in doing. Imagine now many Facebooks and Apples and Googles would be created. Imagine how many good books would be written, imagine how many vibrant paintings would be drawn, imagine how many vivacious dancers and breath-taking musicians will be born.
So why experiment? I say Experiment to imagine. Experiment to know the joy in freedom. Experiment to discover yourself.Experiment to take control of your life. Experiment to avoid spending a long miserable life with a job you detest Experiment to embrace the endless opportunities around you. Experiment to become fearless. Experiment to fall in love, with yourself, with your people, with your work, and with your life. Experiment to come alive. Well yeah, simply experiment to come alive.
I will end with the words of Howard Thurman– “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”