17 days


So, I saw Sir Ken Robinson’s various speeches at TED conferences. That was a few days back, and I have been thinking on them ever since. They explain why my parents wish that I will get that “dream” job I did not want in the last post. They explain how even writing blog posts about my own life was so difficult in the beginning. And I am afraid they have made me take seriously the super expensive IB schools. There go my dreams of not spending too much money on my kid.

I was a highly imaginative kid. And all through school I wondered why imagination, which seemed like my greatest quality, and strength, was completely ignored by my parents and my school. I could lose myself for hours in manufactured realities and what is now called fanfiction. I think it was my mother’s dedication which ensured my “success” in life. I wonder what I would have been if I was not so good academically. That is to say, and this caveat is very important, I love what I do. I am not a fan of the place of work and how little actual work I do at present, and I hate the long hours. But I love my work.

What I am asking is different. What if I had to confront failure? At this point in my boringly ordinary life, characterized by some measure of what the world accepts as success based on very little actual effort, I have no doubt that actual fear of failure can make me do something better. It is the damn safety net which has stopped me from aiming higher.


I am too agitated to bother with counting

First I thought I will just launch into this without context, but that would not be fair to you, dear hypothetical reader. So, a tiny bit of context, without giving anything away.

A few years back, there was a Guardian or some other foreign newspaper article or CommentIsFree piece about the Indian Navy. If you remember, there had been a spate of high-profile accidents. Some British (again I am not sure, but Westerner anyways) had written this article pointing out the problems he had seen while doing a short tour of duty with the Indians. As faras I can remember, his points were-

  1. There is a rigid chain of command. You cannot question it, however there is no guarantee that the higher-ups actually know anything.
  2. There are too many people standing around who do not know anything and have nothing to do.
  3. Safety protocols are routinely ignored.
  4. Others I do not remember but in a similar vein.

So, imagine I used to work in a place where all this applied. Also imagine that I left that place where 1 and 2 are not followed, and there is a good faith attempt made to avoid 3 (we are Indians and are terrible at following protocols.). So, now, lets say there was a way I could go back to workplace 1. Would I want to?

It is of course a government job. Going back to a government job from the private sector also means going back to Bharat from India.However cruel and unfair you want to believe the 2-country hypothesis to be, and however much your liberal heart bleeds for the denizens of Bharat, India is a better place because the people here are nicer. The place I work now, they smile, they laugh, they take vacations. They read. They understand that the workplace is a place to make money and find job satisfaction. It is important, but not the center of your life. Neither is it a place to come and waste time on the governments expenses. They are, I suspect, happy, even though they do not get any paid 2 year childcare leave.

To step back and look at this from a different perspective, the reason I am tempted is not the paid childcare leave, it is something much more complicated. I was brought up by parents who wanted me to fulfill their dreams. Their dreams were different from mine. My dreams are a cushy but interesting job, and time to read, think and live life. They dream of a prestigious hard to get job, and the social capital generated with it. They were born and brought up in a different era, and even they do not belong in that long forgotten era now. Neither do I.

So, what to do? The good news is, hard to get, poorly paid government jobs are hard to get for a reason, and I don’t seriously think I will have to do it. All this soul searching has been basically to punish myself for being unable to stand up to people who want meto be someone I am not. Right now, I am Althea Vestrit and I just need someone to come and tell me, this is who you are, accept this and and be this. Being who you are is okay.