being a non IITian… [oh the horror!]

Let me make this clear – I personally feel that, being an IITian is not such a great or an uniquely exalting thing, or something to be in awe of, at all.

One meets all kinds of brilliant, smart people – in all walks of life. So obviously, an IITian stamp(!) is not at all required for one to be ‘smart.’ On the contrary, I have met with enough people from these hallowed (sometimes I think of them more as hollowed, especially these days)  institutions who are quite sad, at many levels.

Yeah, I understand that one cannot randomly generalize like this, but this is what my ‘informed’ opinion is, okay?

I also believe that all children are good, fundamentally intelligent beings – and that there are NO exceptions whatsoever to this fact – but generally most of these young folks suffer because of the intended / unintended effects of a few factors – but, primarily and definitely it is the Parental focus that is to be appreciated / blamed for the positive or negative fate of the child.

There are these abominable helicopter parents on the one hand, and on the other – there are these parents who only perform their biological duties and hence outsource everything else to the world. Many children get caught in these kinds of abnormal socio-familial dynamics and emerge either as arrogant, entitlement oriented brats or as psychological wrecks / fringe operators in the society.

… of course, it is the question of statistical probability that determines whether a given young person is able to perceive various choices, has the requisite status (economics, I mean) to pursue a choice, has the necessary environmental inputs/factors – and then, acquires the required focus (or the ‘desperation’ if you will).

However, it is true that many children (and most of us darn adults) drift desultorily along and go by the default parameters / choices and achieve the nirvana of splendid mediocrity, in more ways than one…

Okay, let me get back to the positive outcome of the aforesaid statistical possibility. As a bye product of this process – a given child / young person may choose to go a school of her/his liking, because she/he would be able to ‘do’ it. That’s all – there is no magic here, at all. There is no need for any puzzlement here.

So, a focused child driven by a good work ethic would get what it want – it is so simple, eh?

… But, there is a problem here and it has been happening for the past nearly forty years. JEE, the Joint Entrance Examination for IITs has been happening – and it neatly, mercilessly, laconically categorizes the young and hapless aspirants into IIT and non-IIT classes or Jatis.

The kids who get through the JEE and clear it, think that they are superior to every other critter and hence are God’s own  gifts to mankind.

The kids that do not make it to IITs however – sulk, rubbish IITs, sometimes mostly feel inferior and inadequate.

In both cases, it is quite sad and hilarious.

But, one should remember that, these kids would still be middling & muddling teenagers / adolescents when this happens – who perhaps have the right to have such immature feelings and knee-jerk responses – seeing themselves and their lives in black vs white categories.

I sincerely believed that they have the time to grow up. And of course, they would grow up, making peace with themselves, their metacognition abilities gracefully guiding them all through…

Well,  I am wrong. I would hate to admit to this, but I am incredibly & infuriatingly wrong. Some folks simply refuse to grow up!

Every once a while I meet a person who feels deeply scarred, humiliated, lobotomized, discombobulated etc etc because he did not get into these darn IITs. The way he continues to handle this unjust catastrophe is, to rubbish anything that is remotely connected to the IITs – and lament that he did not get in because of x, y and z reasons – and of course all these reasons would have been beyond the capacity of him to address, at that time…

=-=-=-=

… And so, I met this parent – let us just call him Suppandi – 5 years back or so for the first time – at that time I was not ‘working’ in nammashaale, I was only a parent whose children went to nammashaale.

We do not ‘socialize’ much, being anti-socials that we are,  but Suppandi insisted on ‘interacting’ with us and we got to talk to each other a little bit.

In his own words,  he had been generally ‘successful’ which actually means that he is quite comfortably rich. A petite spouse,  kids, stayed for a long time in USA, did some IT related work, ventures, stock markets etc etc – the usual self-absorbed boring, dull stuff that 99% of NRIs do, only more so in the case of returnee-NRIs or ex-pats as they are referred to incorrectly – returned & started focusing only on children (his, obviously). Fair enough, I would fall in to this category myself, give or take a few years, a few billion dollars, lots of gray cells and loads of salt, what else!

Now, one would think that this gent will be happy and satisfied with life (as the ol’ Psalmist said: ‘my cup runneth over‘) – and would routinely take to wind-surfing or scuba diving or mountain climbing,  writing some good Telegu poetry – whatever. One would expect him to enjoy life.

Wrong again. He was so bitter, whining, cribbing and disconsolate. The reason: He did not make it to the IITs! He became much more bitter and hostile when he realized that both my spouse (the horror, he could not make it, but a female has!)  and I have some vague & abominable IIT connections.

Oh the horror, the horror

He can see the world as comprising only of those who have been to IITs and those who haven’t. The former would evoke his derision and snide comments – mostly rightly so. The latter would be treated as fellow underdogs, who somehow haven’t been given their due.

Oh well, incidentally we both were in our early 40s (bloody hell!) when we met. Normally this would be hilarious – but I feel that it is a deep-seated malaise.

How can a guy who is ought to be ‘happy and satisfied’ hold this silly grudge and defeatistic attitude, even after so many bloody decades?

And then, I read about these Kota sweatshops training a zillion children, who are waiting to be sacrificed at the altar of IIT – JEE.

And, for every arrogant automaton which makes it to an IIT (with no better skill(!) worth mentioning than gaming the system), there are going to be tens of self-confessed whiny losers who are going to litter our society.

Well, this is a new form of social stratification, I suddenly realize.

I also realize to my horror that the male child (only the sonny boy, mind you!) of my friendly suppandic whiner has no other go but to to go to IITs. Poor child. Poorer IITs.

I weep.

I promise to myself to go get a life.

I melt in the crowd of unvarnished masses.

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