Monday, January 4, 2010

Nation of (student) Idiots

Dear under-pressure students,

This comes by way of a heartfelt request to you stop being so thoroughly ungrateful for your lives and those of your parents and dear friends. This is also a humble request that you stop borrowing ideas on how to kill yourself from popular films, because that is just idiotic.

Four students have killed themselves in and around Mumbai in the last two days. Of these, two suicides were said to be 'inspired' by the film 3 Idiots, especially since the parents of both the deceased told the cops that both the kids had seen the film a day or two before they decided to cop it. The Shardashram school boy's father even said that his son had watched the film twice in a day and had to be restrained from continued viewing by his father, who thought the child wouldn't be able to make it through school the next day if he kept himself up all night. Sadly, the boy didn't make it through school the next day because he chose to hang himself in the school's toilet.

Yes, the education system needs a drastic revamp. Yes, your parents and teachers seem to value the #1 spot in academics than they do sports, music, literature or other creative pursuits. Yes, you feel stifled and your life is constantly on the boil. But how are these connected with the urge to commit suicide?

Suicide is largely a product of fear and a great sense of hopelessness. It is not, and hence I do not buy the theory that the film 3 Idiots is to blame, an action resulting out of an urge to copy. Sure, there have been deaths resulting from children imitating reel life stunts, but those are accidents, not suicides. To lampoon a film or a book or indeed any external influence for a rising tendency to commit suicides is immature and a cop out.

I want to ask your parents: how well did you do when you were in school? Were you the school's top ranked student? Did you make the merit list in your graduation year? And apart from academic pursuits, were you any good at anything else? Did you enroll in a zillion language classes, drawing classes, tuitions, swimming classes, boxing classes, fencing classes, tennis classes, and whatever else you push your kids into doing because you don't want them to trail behind every other kid? Are you still alive? Do you have a job? Do you make some money?

Ah, but we want our kids to go one up, you say? Sure, who wouldn't? But where are your kids going to draw that kind of intelligence, that kind of strength from? Are you able to absorb the disappointment of them not doing as brilliantly at school or college as you think they should? Then what gives you the right to expect them to learn how to shoulder your disappointment, your regret, and act like Aal izz well when you keep sniffing at them over your morning paper and mock them/ compare them to 'meritorious' ones in their classrooms? Be a good role model or keep your trap firmly shut.

Back to you, students, why else do you think 3 Idiots had a character like Chatur in it? Was Chatur an inspiring type or was he a repellant type? Why did everyone laugh when Chatur flubbed the welcome address in front of everyone? Would there be as much laughter if Rancho or Farhan or Raju did the same?

Now ask yourself this: why did you make Chatur the object of your derision? Did he strike you as someone you would love to be like? If all of you wanted to be like Rancho, why the heck do you even think about the suicide scenes for a minute more than necessary? Do you obediently eat your vegetables when your mother tells you to? Do you religiously do your homework when your teacher assigns it? Do you decide to be a good boy and not take a cell phone to school when everyone else is?

If you've answered 'no' to even one of the above, I'd want to ask just one question more: you choose to receive selective messages, and more often than not, know exactly what is useful to you and what isn't. So why delude yourself and your parents into thinking that your brains are so tiny, you need to be inspired by Shaktimaan and Roadies and 3 Idiots? Are we to conclude that you would leave your common sense behind and blindly do what unknown screen idols do, but not what known people such as parents and neighbours say?

If your parents are pushing you to get 95% after you got two per cent less, tell them to eff off. Study as much as is necessary to get whatever grades you aspire for, but don't be part of a race. Learn, don't become literate. Understand, don't just absorb like a sponge. And live, don't throw it all away for something as unworthy as marks and admissions.


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

WiseAss said...

@ Anonymous,
Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated. :)