Life Is A Race : A Rat Race

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“Life is a race. If you don’t run fast, you’ll be a like broken anda (egg)”.Perhaps we all remember this famous dialogue said by our beloved professor Mr. Sahastrabuddhi.

I didn’t know I was a ‘Rat’ until life appeared to me like an endless competition to me.‘Sharma Ji ka Beta’ was a boy next door with whom I played cricket every evening. Maybe we would have been friends if Mr. Jain and Mr. Sharma would have accepted us the way we were. Maybe we would have been friends if they had not approached to each other every single time we accomplished something. Maybe I would have been happier as an artist or a guitarist, even if not successful, rather than a tired engineer if I hadn’t run after ‘Sharma Ji ka Beta’, or perhaps if I hadn’t been forced to run.

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Friends were friends until I realised that they are just competitors with whom I was ultimately going to compete. “Dost fail ho jaye toh dukh hota hai…lekin dost first aa jaye toh zyada dukh hota hai. Aptly said. Maybe we would have just laughed it off when we saw the movie but now when I have become a rat, I get to understand the true meaning of it. We want our friends to be better but not the best because that’s the place that we’ve saved for us no matter who comes our way. We had lit up cigarettes together.We’ve been by each other’s side to support each other in times of need. We have explored the whole Delhi together. From bunking classes to sharing relationship secrets, we have done it all. But at the end of the day, we were fighting and competing with each other for the placement in a top MNC. Life is a race.

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Most of us want to become a successful engineer or a doctor, or a CA. Everyday we’re watching news, reading newspapers, having discussions on hot topics. Demonetization, black hole, CPEC, we want to know it all. How many of us know what the favourite food of our parents is? What medicines does your mother take? But we are rats, right? Or perhaps worse. Even rat’s go to their home after sneaking, but we? We continue to run around from here to there, competing, trying to be perfect, trying to be better than ‘Sharma Ji ka Beta.’

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Everyone mentions in his/her resume that he/she has the leadership qualities. We strive to become a leader. We don’t want to follow, we want to lead. Standing apart from the group by making our own identity, that’s what we are taught in the top B-schools. But did any of us think that if we all become a leader, who’ll be the follower then? There are leadership programs, why are not any follower programs? Maybe they should be there to make people realise and accept that they should listen and follow someone with more knowledge of the subject matter than they have rather than seeing your leader as your competitor and criticizing them. Everybody can’t be perfect in everything. But do we accept this? We just run from here to there, attending classes, trying to make ourselves ‘All Rounder’ rather than focusing on one single area.

In about two months, around a two hundred thousand students will compete with each other to get admission in some top notch college of Delhi University or maybe some other University. Colleges will differ by only one marks! There will be a moment for sure when you’ll think “Yaar 2 marks zyada aa jate to SRCC mil jata.” Just because you did some minor error in your answer sheet, you’ll consider yourself as ‘lacked behind’. If this is not a rat race, then what is it? AIR-1, AIR-2,…ranks are there. Why don’t we have a system wherein ranks are not revealed? Rather than being depressed for you couldn’t score (n-1)th position, why are we not happy with our own nth position?  Because they want to instil the feeling of competitiveness in you. They want you to become a rat.

I suffer from social anxiety issue. Everytime I am to give a speech or be a part of some GD round, I become numb. I want to run away. I can’t face the people. No. No. No. But I have to. Who cares? Maybe if  I’ll  go and talk to my parents about it, I don’t even know what will happen.

I pickup a newspaper, the headline read, a Boy commits suicide after getting failed (or actually less marks) in the senior secondary examinations. The headline was followed by comments of different related people cursing the board for putting so much pressure on children. But was it only the result that made the boy commit suicide? Maybe he tried to tell his parents that he cannot bear the pressure of the exams? Maybe the teachers in the school used to constantly make him ashamed of his incapability to understand some really simple topics. Just imagine a small child, bearing all this pressure of expectations, of getting ashamed, of not being understood. He tried. He tried to survive, he couldn’t get through it. And what ultimately happened is, he ended taking up his life. That’s what this never-ending struggle and competition brings for us in the end, depression and suicide.

It’s not that the competition is bad. It’s just that we must realise that we are humans. We should not suppress our feelings and our emotions in order to compete with others. Every single time we study, or do something, we should have a view that it’s making us better at the end of the day. It should not be done compulsorily and just for the sake for it. Yes, do internships, do whatever you like, but make sure that you are happy doing it.

We are all more valuable than we think.We are not rats but humans with a heart.Be kind to yourself, be kind to the world. Spend time with your parents.Visit them often.Don’t leave your folks behind just for the sake of being the ‘ultimate’.Have courage and be kind.

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