Friday, May 17, 2013

The age old Konundrum

PREFACE: All of the below is meant in good taste. :)

The most important decade of your life is probably the decade between 15-30. This is the time when a lot of things happen that potentially define the rest of your life, like:

  1. You graduate from your college with a degree, and enter the world out there.
  2. After a couple of years coding, get irritated with the sheer amount of copy pasting and googling involved, and prepare for your post graduation, and a means to reach ultimate happiness! For most of us, that would mean giving the CAT and entering the RAT race to get into those prestigious B-schools.
  3. Go from a slim, athletic person to a plump, stout guy in a matter of a year or two, as the amount of idleness involved while in our professional lives takes a toll on our bodies. (Sometimes waking us up from our slumber and actually trying out those gyms to reduce and impress them lady professionals! ;))
  4. Fall in love with someone on the way, and develop your emotional side for possible breakups or, if you are really really lucky, carry it forward to marriage!
  5. For those not so lucky in finding that special one, have constant pressure from your relatives, parents, neighbours, other friends who are already married, till one fine day you say "OK FINE I'LL DO IT!", and start on your way to projecting your former slim self on portals specifically designed to ensure that  the better slimmer (on photos!!!) get to see other people who would have put similar covered up photos.
It is simply amazing how parents tend to motivate their children to go ahead in their life, especially during these few years. They almost always use extrinsic motivational techniques, and their most used, abused tool is the carrot and stick.

  1. When you are a kid, you are in the tenth standard. Your first board exams!!!! GASP!! TOO MUCH TO STUDY!!! What do your parents tell you?? "Beta/Kutti/DAI (a very affectionate way of calling your kid in Tamil) you only have to study now. Your life will be made after this for sure!!!". You say to yourself "OK just a few more days to eternal happiness!" and somehow pass your board exams with flying colours.
  2. Two years later, and you find yourself giving ANOTHER board exam. This time your XII boards. What do your parents tell you? "Beta.. you only have to study now. Your life will be made after this for sure!!!" You are at that stage in your life, where you think you have heard this before, but still think it cool that you need not study so much from now on, and give it one final push to pass your second board exams with flying colours.
  3. Graduation. Again the same old studying and the need to pass your exams. What do your parents tell you? "DAI! Study now! Once you get your job your life is settled". You see, parents would ave learnt from the first two times that saying the same thing may not work the third time, hence they add another extrinsic motivation in your mind, a JOB. You think "Meh. I've heard this before. However, getting a job does sound interesting." And thus you reduce to cramming for the exams the last day and getting your degree.
  4. A couple of years into your job, you realize you're through coding (I'm sure most Indians would think that, you B.Techers!). What do your parents say? "DEI! Do post graduation in MBA. You will get extra salary. Once you get new job your life will be made for sure!!". You think to yourself "Where have I heard THIS before?!?!".... but then do a simple comparison between coding now for X salary and showing that others have coded for 3X salary and realize that the benefits hugely outweigh any costs. You take the plunge and do your MBA.
  5. You are now showing that others have coded for 3X salary. Life, ideally should look good and made for sure. WRONG. Parents say now "DEI! You have gotten good job with good salary and everything. Now bring good girl to family, and your life will be made for sure!!". You would also get subtle references life "Hey did you know it is your friends wedding next month?". You think " Will this ever end??" and start forecasting projected scenarios of how this could continue in the near distant future (After all, you do have to make some use of the things you learnt in your MBA, right?) and finally realize that this is a vicious cycle that will never end, for after the girl comes to the family, kids would make your life made. And by the time you achieve everything, you would have been primed to take this cycle ahead with your children.
All of the above happens when you are in your prime, and it is upto us to solve this age old konundrum. All the best to those of us who have almost completed this cycle, and to those who are just beginning on theirs!

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