Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Being able to make a choice

We talk about being liberated, educated living in the modern societies. Are we really that liberated?
Or are we the prisoners in our own homes and professional spheres? Why do I say so?

From the time we are born we are expected to behave in a certain manner by a certain age. If a baby started to roll over and yours didn’t, you’d start looking up on the internet if your child was fine on the development milestone.  Then the teething stage, if your child was late as compared to the other kids everyone would be concerned. This continues through the walking, speaking, eating  stages etc. Then comes the time to get into a school, every parent vies for the best school for their child. A school that has got the reputation of being the best from the community and where getting admission is not just difficult but at times even impossible. Not because it’s the best but because of the hordes of people who queue up outside its premises to get their ward admitted in it. That school is considered to be better than the schools where your child can secure a seat without much of a drama. We create unnecessary stress for the child even at that stage.

Then comes the big question what stream to pursue after the 12th standard. Again in our country the student doesn’t make a choice it’s the parental pressure and the pressure from the teachers and peer group. The student takes up the stereotype professions…the ones that are perceived to be the better ones by the society. The talent or the liking of the student doesn’t matter much. When such people enter the work space they are not the best, they are not there whole heartedly, they don’t enjoy what they do… finally they end up becoming frustrated with the routine of the job leading to other ailments mentally, physically and socially. Are such people really the valued human resources?

In this age group the women face even bigger challenges such as being able to have a career or not have any? If they have a career and somewhere they are not able to balance their career with their personal lives that is, personal responsibilities. They face the pressures of the peer group and society at large.  If she decides to hang up her professional boots and be a home maker to bring up her kids, she is again under pressure of not returning to work. She is fine with her life at that stage but others keep asking her why she hasn’t returned to her workplace where she was such a star performer. 

There are various pressures that we face right from having a child of the particular gender. The institution of marriage is truly an institution here in our society where we have our say on an arranged marriage, a love marriage, an inter caste and inter religious marriages. We don’t really care about how compatible and happy the couple will be. We are torn between the conservative and the modern thinking. Somewhere we are neither.  Every thinking has its guidelines and pros and cons we are at a stage probably where we fit in neither. It’s time for introspection.
Now are we liberated? If we are then how come we are always under the pressure of being what we truly are not. When we can’t even make a choice when it comes to our own lives who are we to judge others when we don’t even know the journey that they have walked. For us the biggest freedom and liberation is being able to make a choice.