Saturday, July 06, 2013

Honesty

The average Bollywood movie in the 1980s and 1990s ended with the lines, "And they lived happily ever after." It was far from the truth, but the audience lapped it up, considering that because the villian was defeated, and the hero and heroin could marry, or live together, all was good. Sadly, and Bollywood realized it over a period of time, that was just the end of one story - and that there were potentially more interesting stories which could emanate from the "lived happily after" storyline. Real life was a bit more complex than a fairy tale ending. So you had movies like Chupke Chupke, Saathiya and more recently and emphatically, Pyar ka Punchnama, which set the record straight, and made the naive audience realize that the hero marrying/dating heroine was not the end, but could be the beginning. And so on. In fact, despite the efforts of Bollywood movies, you realize that maybe there is no "happily ever after" ending.

As if taking a cue from Bollywood movies, the aspirations of parents/relatives follow a similar path. "Get good marks in 10th, and life would be good" they would say. You did pretty well in 10th, and then the pressure of entrance examinations came on. "Get through IIT, and then you can live happily ever after" was another adage that was added. When you went through IIT and saw your friends with greater jobs bagging the plump jobs, you decided to do an MBA. And you go through IIM, and life is finally set. What more does a person need more than two IIT-IIM degrees to live a grand life, you wonder? Except that in real life, just like in Bollywood, there are hardly any happily ever after endings. And it is not just you. All your married friends, friends who are printing the big bucks in Investment Banks/Consulting Companies, and your single friends, who are making money starting up and apparently doing what they want to do, are all as confused. Even your friends who have decided to focus more on following their hobbies, rather that climbing up the corporate ladder, have the same questions: What is the purpose of life, they ask, as they talk to you. Men who have now long married, have kids, brought flats and have life all sorted out, when on a rare night-out with you, talk to you about "Why are we doing this? Why this rat-race?" And these are all smart people, people who have graduated from some of the top institutions of the country, and who should have it all figured out.

Long before, on this blog, I had written about choosing a life of happiness or a life of meaning. They are inherently contrary concepts, come to think of it. Life of happiness means enjoying the present, without worrying about the future, or caring about the past. Life of meaning, on the other hand is about thinking about the past, and sacrificing the present to make the future more meaningful. And I had proceeded to choose a life of happiness, with all its instant gratification, rather than a life of meaning. So far, so good, I would say, and I would not trade my life, with its (on average) 7-8 hours of work, 3-4 hours of TV, 1-2 hours of XBOX, 1-2 hours of being high, and the remaining hours on sleep and associated pleasures of life (such as the Internet/Facebook, you perverts), with anyone else. Not on a day to day basis. I love my life, and I have less and less days where I question what I am doing. For I am not doing anything, and I think that is the key. I enjoy whatever time I have, and do not look at the big picture. 

But let me be honest. There are some days, few of them admittedly, when I start thinking about what if. Look at it other way, I am rarely the ideal son. I have been home only once in the last six months, making excuses about work when instead, the truth is I was too lazy to book tickets despite my parents telling me how much they missed me in each call. I am 30, and I do not have a girlfriend, let alone a wife, and with no hopes of getting one soon enough. If I keep up my current lifestyle, I am probably going to end up as the Heavy Fuel guy (without all the sex, unfortunately, which would be real sad). And I still have not been able to complete my book, despite telling everyone I was writing it, for I am too lazy to write. I have a loads of friends on Facebook, a number of very good friends, but no one really special in my life.  I am not the best  person to know, for those who know me well enough, also see the dark, evil side in me. Hence the name of the blog, for I recognize the dark side in me, and frankly, I am afraid of it. 

Don't get me wrong. I still think I am a good person, and if I were to judge myself, I would put myself on a pedestal. I think I am a pretty good manager of people, and take good care of my team, and am ready to go out of the line for them. I also think I am more than ready to help people, and people find it easy to come to me for help, and more often than not, I am more than willing to help them. But what this life of happiness has made me a bit of a self-obsessed and lazy asshole who is rarely comfortable outside of his own comfort zone. The other thing that living this life of happiness has done to me is made me closed to taking risks. I am unable to open myself to a lot of emotions because I have trained myself to be a cynic. I do not believe in Anna Hazare (or Arvind Kejriwal, for that matter), dismissing him to be a product of a shepherded mentality of the media. I do not believe in love, for I have been hurt, and have closed myself to it. And I know it- and sometimes the entire fact of my being, and the fact that I could have achieved so much more if I had been braver and far less lazy, and had more purpose in life, gets to me, and makes me hate myself. Sometimes. 

But maybe, it is time to change all that. Maybe, it is time to live a life of meaning for a short while. Just to be hurt once again. To feel. Emotions. And look at the big picture. And to fall in love. 

13 comments:

Rakesh Agarwal said...

Loved this piece !

Saran Kakarlapudi said...

A Superb Blog Zubin.... I can relate to it at quite a lot of places...:)

Shayak said...

I like the last part where you are ready for more. get going yaar. You have loads of goodwill, make it count. Love shuv happens, you have to get on the path atleast to be present at the opportune moment

Witness said...

I guess you figured it out-sometimes happiness sometimes meaning:)

zubin said...

@Rakesh: Thanks.
@Saran: We are riding the same boat, my friend :).
@Shayak: That is the idea. Getting on the path. Time to make the goodwill count. :)
@Shweta: I had not. Until you explicitly mentioned it. Makes a lot of sense now though :).

Anonymous said...

"Get Lucky" by you know who :)

Anonymous said...

"Aasha/Niraasha". Believe in duality. And your reactions decide your happiness - whether a life of "meaning" or a life of "hedonism".

Check out this speech; not quite the Jobs Stanford address but I think wiser and more real.
http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/bernanke20130602a.htm

zubin said...

@Rohit: That's the plan bhai :).
@Bhai: Thanks for sharing this - it was very nice :). And hedonism doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Art,music and literature.This should have been your passion.Not being a rat race and crunching numbers.
You can get tired with these pursuits,but never bored.

And i think you should fall in love.Marry.Though you need a very sorted woman.It won't be easy.But you have given up.

Life is a series of distractions before death.
But you cannot distract yourself,
You will intellectualize life and death.
That ways,you are too smart for your own good.
I pity you.

Prakash said...

nice one :)

MiaSia said...

I can completely relate to this~thanks for your insight

nikz saini said...

hi blogger , u blogs r really interesting..keep it up

zubin said...

@Anon: I dont know if I would have actually done much better in Arts, Music and Lit. And I dont think I can fall in love. As in I do fall in love every now and then but I havent got a big kick in the ass for a long time now. And dont pity me. I am happy - happier than a lot of people who have found love.
@Prakash: Thanks.
@Mia Sia: Thank you.
@Nikz Saini: Thanks a lot.