‘What is that that makes your heart beat faster and gives you that push of adrenalin?’ is a question I love to enquire about people but the answer often is a dismal blank. It’s painful to see young minds without dreams in their eyes. It saddens me to see them aspiring only for good colleges, high marks, good sounding degrees and good jobs ultimately. And what do they mean by a good job is not known to them entirely.
‘What is your long term dream’- I inevitably ask every job seeking youth or job doer. And the answers are ‘don’t know’, ‘never thought about it’, and something as vague as this. A common answer one has learnt to expect is a ‘good job with a good status’. What does that mean I would again ask? Is it a fat salary, for we know that that cannot be the sustaining component for too long if the job itself is boring and unchallenging or if you are a misfit in that job. Sometimes people realise that they are misfits when it is too late to switch over into something meaningful. Of course optimists might say ‘never too late’ but precious years are lost you will agree. And the levels of emotional frustrations remain invisible and unaccounted for in such cases. But what is certainly visible is that the person is not happy in mind and there is no contentment in the soul. It lies empty and dissatisfied with life. The psychological community strongly opines that Indians are generally a depressed society. The reasons could be many and commonly fathomable.
One of the reasons is that we do not have a long term dream. We do not generally have passions that we would like to pursue with single minded focus. Even if few persons have dreams they are not allowed or severely denied by their parents if the dream is off the beaten track. Take one ‘idiot’ who wanted to pursue wildlife photography but was pushed into engineering by his parents. He was a misfit in engineering but was stuck there due to parental pressure until another ‘idiot’ pushed him out of it.
Take the story of Mr. Rajkumar Hirani himself who left the city to pursue his dreams in filmdom, struggled for two long decades before he made a mark publicly. The world would have laughed at him then and called him foolish. Today he is being acclaimed as the number one director! People must not forget his audacity to believe in himself and must not forget his mental resilience to persist in his passion of film making. The world would have forgotten that they had called him an idiot then. Now he is an idiot with a difference, who knew what he wanted and where he wanted to go. He knew what made him tick and what gave him the kick in life.
Most people do not have passions and are uncertain of themselves and their goals. Some who do have dreams in their eyes would be afraid to pursue them for fear of ridicule and lack of self belief. Many would be unaware of their passions and their dreams as that’s the way they have been brought up. They have not been taught to think on those lines at all. It is a glaring tragedy that the neither the Indian parent nor the guardians at school and college guide the youth to dream their own dreams. They are generally taught to follow the societal lopsided stereotypes and the generally outdated written book. Students are asked to write the answers from the printed book and not in their own words. Their minds are fettered and chained in stereotyped moulds and nobody dare encourage them to break free of it. The ones who dare are called ‘idiots’ or ‘mad’. Only an idiot would be willing to risk his life and take on a lonely struggle and a tiring one as it becomes a long drawn fight against the entire system and the loved family. But the idiot would still persist in his dream as that is the only thing that makes his heart beat faster. And the only thing that makes him feel alive and worth it.
Published in Hitavada Future on 12 Jan 2010