Some of the bitterest struggles of our life are against the age appropriated targets. Age is just a number people say, but I feel that the saying is an idealistic bullshit. Much like when people say you can achieve all you want, the truth we need to know is that you can try as hard as you want on some things, but it doesn’t mean you will definitely achieve it. Also, if age is just a number then why do we keep tab on the percent of our population falling in the 15 to 40-year age bracket, and not the septuagenarian (70 to 79) bracket. Age is not just a number; it’s a social perception of your worth, a “loag kya kahenge” tab. I don’t think there is anyone reading this article and who has grown in India never come across “loag kya kahenge?” or another variant of “what will people say?” at least once in your life.
Maybe when you decided to pursue arts, commerce instead of science or say no to parents that you didn’t want to get married soon, or the time u said that u don’t like little human (babies). The older you grow, the expectations of the same “log” increases exponentially and you better live up to it, or there is no end to the judgements, criticism that will come your way. We can have 3 idiots, Queen and every kind of movie made to break the above phenomenon, but the truth is we still do care for the “log”.
On a personal level, most people feel the need to break out of the mold, yet, on a larger scale, we are unable to comprehend this and not willing to make way for those who wish to live differently. We try hard to please the “log”, to get a go ahead, external validation and legitimacy from the “log”. we cannot abandon this “log kya kahenge” altogether because the “log” is not form some other planet; they are your family, your friend’s family, and sometimes you yourself. Also, considering the kind of community set up we Indians are embroiled in, sometimes this same “log” helped us attack few backward practices and regressive attitudes. The mentality of the “log” kept changing and so did the judging parameters sometimes for the worst , and sometimes for the good, because I believe in some cases we did used the same “log” to change our thought process against dowry, girl education etc..
I feel that the “log kya kahenge” phenomenon is here to stay, and we youngsters will be hypocrite to say that we don’t care for the public opinion, because otherwise we won’t be suffering from FoMO, or “Fear of Missing Out” as urban lingo would have it. We cannot have it all, but when we see different friends/acquaintances on FaceBook, Instagram we validate our worth based on the location, décor of the hotel room, or may be the car in the pic, and we feel that we too should have that, of course along with the other sundry things we already have. We don’t understand that it’s just a pic, and the person may have the biggest smile on his face, and the awesomestest background but he too doesn’t have it all, maybe he/she just has an awesome DSLR. Frankly speaking no one can, whatever we do, wherever we go we will miss out on something. So may be our parameters of “log kya kahenge” are more refreshing but it’s not all that different.
The fact that the “log kya kahenge” phenomenon still persists is not the problem, because its innate, and its only human to compare and for a collectivistic setup like ours to function, some obligations need to take precedence over personal needs. The problem is there needs to be a point of reconciliation, because you cannot always stick to YODO (you die only once) attitude, and follow your passion without taking into account the realities surrounding you, be “dillogical” and expect the world to just adjust around you. You may be an ultimate secure and idealistic person (which is kind of rare) and not care for the various “log” , but when your parents ( who mean the world to you ) are attached in the same “log” then you are bound to care. I truly believe that the younger generations love their parents; we really really do, because we know that in this cynical world they will be there for us no matter what. They can care, shout, be unreasonable but their resolute to be with us is unflinching. And it’s always good to have someone constants in this not so constant world.
So the point boils down to reconciling your fantasies, and your parent’s need to “settle” you down. I don’t have a PhD in human psychology, just a MBA degree in Human Resources, but I retrospect a lot, and also in hindsight, I have in few cases (important ones) felt that it would have been better to listen to parents. Based on my experience, I will just put down some advice for the FoMo generation. Passion is difficult to prioritize, you may be passionate about a lot of things but you cannot do all of it, and moreover you need security too, so instead of the passion, go for things which you are good at, it will give you satisfaction and also security. Moreover, you need to give something to the world too and not just take from the world, you can chase happiness, but ultimate happiness lies in making other people in the world become happier.
There is always a way to follow your passion, but you need to secure your family, and yourself too, it shouldn’t be done just for coolness, also 9-5 is not a detention, it is discipline which we need to stick to even while following our passion. I am talking about passion, because it is passion that makes us a rebel sometimes, we blindly go ahead to follow it without due consideration and it leads to most extreme and unsustainable states of the human brain. I know that there are few things that parents (most of them) just don’t get , we are young and free, we have things far more complex than eating properly, getting married at the right age, and so on. we feel that marriage should totally be our decision (when, whom, where blah blah), or we may not want to marry at all, for all you know. parents have a huge no list; no smoking, no sex, no driving, no swearing, no saying no to temple/mosque, no porn, no movies, no staying overnight, no vacation, no drinking, no television, no other profession than doctor/engineer…and everything else we may continue to add to the list!
If you tell them that you’re off to a place for a vacation, the first question they ask you is ‘kyu jaana hai? Parents don’t understand our wanderlust. But whatever it is, we just cannot abandon them and their constant nagging, what we need to do is you is cajole them to allow us to pack your bags. I have seen and noticed that they mostly give it up for our happiness like they have been doing all their lives. Parents are like alarm system, helping us identify dangers before they arise so they can lessen risks. We may think that we are ready to face it all, but trust me we aren’t, no one is. And its always god to be alarmed rather than facing the danger, because “har darr ke age jeet nahi hoti”. It is not wrong for parents to feel that they have invested a lot in us, and that it’s our duty to listen to them and not argue at all levels.
There is no technical solution, they won’t understand us, we won’t understand them, but what we need to understand is that they have compromised most of their desires and striven to bring us to a position where we can think about things like passion, vacations, partying etc. After comprising for a long period they killed most of their burning desires and led an austere life. They are not young and flexible, we are and so sometimes we can change for them, instead of making them yield to us all the time. Moreover, I feel that parents will always know more than us. They may not necessarily be book smart, but for the simple fact that parents have had much more practice at real life it makes them more qualified in the practical sense of the matter.
P.S: I in no way intend to discourage youngsters to not follow their passion, I only mean to ask them to take parents into consideration in whatever they wish to endeavor.