Actor, Doctor, Pilot, Soldier, Cricketer, Dancer, Musician……these were the one word answers given by most of us when asked, what you want to become when you grow up. Unknowing that the world had something strange for us, something we didn’t know that existed until we entered the corrupt age of twenty one. The world that appears to be the most beautiful stream, when swooped into it turns to be a quicksand that kills our soul daily.
Welcome to_The “Indian” Corporate.
Giving up on our dreams at an early age, we move out in the hunt of job, in search of a place where we can spend thirty days and get paid on the thirty first day. Glass buildings, escalators and elevators, professionals flaunting identity cards, tempt us to give an interview at these venue. The resume, a two page note that defines us, decides our fate in few minutes. In most organisations, a female with a big smile greets us. They call themselves as HR, The Human resource executive. “Tell me something about yourself”, “What do mean by being successful”, “Where do you see yourself in five years from now”, the answers to these three questions are always fabricated. “Pipe A fills a tank in 2 minutes, Pipe B fills tank in 3 minutes, find the colour of tank?” or “Jack ran for 2 minutes, Tom ran for 4 minutes, name their shoes?”, series of such questions are to be solved to prove our intelligence. Only to realise after few days that our job profile didn’t even had any ancestral relation with neither those pipes nor those tank and god knew if Jack and Tom were still running to check our aptitude. “What are your salary expectations”, the most awaited question. We somehow get convinced for some five digit number. They give us a salary break up, that we don’t understand after breaking our head. The offer letter_a bunch of papers to sign on; written in font named “Ant” and font size “-10”, there are certain rules scribbled on it that we fail to understand even if we were to retire from the same place sixty years later. Rules that makes absolute no sense with the work. Formals on Monday, casuals on Friday, males shouldn’t think about their family, females eligible shed crocodile tears, following break schedules, no mobile phone policy. Slowly, we seal ourselves in making someone else’s dream come true.
When we start working, most of us realise that they we work under the most selfish and heartless humans, they call themselves as_The Bosses. They are the ones who walk as if they rule the world and we are their slaves. Initially they smile, later they talk in numbers. Some of them behave as if they have purchased us and expect us to dance when asked to do so. We get addicted to swiping sounds of identity cards, the rolling chairs, tasteless coffee and noise of keyboards.”QWERTYUIOP” these are top row keys of any modern keyboard. Most intellectuals tap on these keyboards day and night unaware of the fact that the top row keys represent the name of the man who created the keyboard layout, Qwert Yuiop. Excels, Words and PowerPoints are our new family. The big fishes turn a blind eye on the ones who work at the housekeeping department. A recent study states, an average office desk harbours 400 times more bacteria than an average toilet seat. If compared the two, the housekeeping employees are luckier in terms of being healthy. There are colleagues who are masters at stabbing our back when it comes to promotion or appraisals. In the comfort of air conditioned rooms, they complain about overtimes, skipping lunch, smoking, boozing and talk of ‘extreme’ work pressures and hard work. Before complaining, I wish they could think about men who risk their lives working on high voltage wires, the ones who work under the earth or at the high seas. Eight out of ten employees hate Mondays and wait for Fridays. The same monotonous routine that teaches us nothing new apart from being selfish, dispensing coffee from the machine, developing a habit of fooling around, creating our own fake identity, getting attracted to money, forgetting the ones who raised and taught us. We adapt to conditions and unknowingly get attracted to people with no aim. We walk their steps, wear their style, speak their words and our languages use their vocabulary. The colours of the identity card differ as we change organisations, and the colour of our childhood dreams turn black. We work for the sake of buying a home, a car and few shares. Such is a corporate life; we work without knowing our own identity and purpose in life. At one point we realise a bitter truth, our parent’s salary could satisfy our desires when we were kids; our own salary couldn’t even satisfy our needs. Families and friends become ten digit numbers on our phones. The festivals and celebrations remain as memories of our past. The charm of corporate life gradually loses its shine in our heart. The work and salary no more excite us. In other words we rent out ourselves on a monthly basis to someone for a specific amount, also termed as ‘salary’ in corporate industry. By the time we realise this, we remain stranded on the road of our life only to painfully see our dream in pieces.
One of the factors that land us up in this phase of life is our own state of mind. The typical Indian mentality of “How the society will rate me” starts killing us right from our childhood. The race starts from getting admission into a school. The gossiping ladies go “State board school!!!……my son is in International School”. The boasting gents go “No donation fees!!!….I paid lakhs”. If neighbour’s child swims in pool; my child should swim in ocean. His son plays football; my son should beat Messi. Her daughter munches on 2 almonds; my daughter should munch 4 almonds. The childhood passes in competition and on the day of results, all satellites are focused on us. Our neighbours are the news reporters who in reality feel heaven if we fail and will have sleepless nights if we score well. The law of Indian mentality states: A teacher’s child is expected to score high in studies, sports, arts and music. A doctor’s son is expected be a doctor. An engineer’s daughter is expected to be an engineer. One fails to nurture a child’s ambition. At some homes, low grades in maths are considered to be an international crisis. The fact is; education is not a barrier for the ones who live their passion. Trying to please everyone, we start digging our own graves. Without realising our potential, we tend to compete with others. We are trained to plan ourselves in a unique way, age 16 is to score 95%, age 22 is to get graduated, age 24 is to get post graduate degree, age 25 is to get placed with six digit salary, age 27 is to get married, age 32 is to become a CEO, age 50 is to start business, age 60 is to retire from the so called corporate. If failed to meet these targets, we are termed losers. In between these ages, we unknowingly nail our coffin.
Fifteen years back in our history, we never knew what CEO, up selling, marketing, outsourcing, shares and business meant. We always dreamt of those legends that act beyond perfection, played the strokes, sang through the tunnel of tunes and they were our idols. We dreamt of making a mark in this world like them. The race, lack of motivation, our society and our own laziness made us mentally dead. It is said that age is never a factor to live up to our dreams. It takes courage to start over again. If the mind is focused to set up a goal, nothing should stop us from achieving it. No matter how small the goal is, no matter if people laugh at it, no matter if there are no support, we must strive to fulfill it. We may not be paid when we truly accomplish our goal, but the happiness that we achieve will have an unexplained treasure. There may be a day, when someone will walk up to us and tell us about their dreams, do everything possible for them, never discourage them. If someday they succeed as an actor, doctor, pilot, soldier, cricketer, dancer or a musician; it would be our dream come true through their eyes. Such happiness doesn’t follow the rules of mathematics, when we start dividing that happiness it actually multiplies. We will realise that there are some things money can’t buy. This would be the day when we truly find answers to those three odd questions:
Tell me something about yourself”, “What do mean by being successful”, “Where do you see yourself in five years from now”.
Only on this day we will know that there is much more to life than beginning our life with
“Press Cntrl+Alt+Del to begin” and end with “Windows+L”