Falling prey to false aspirations byproduct of young Economy

Published: 29th May 2016 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2016 10:57 PM   |  A+A-

Of late, a post on social media is doing the rounds rather frenetically. It is an ingeniously taken snap shot of a bookpage. The text states, in no uncertain terms, how the entire system we live in is geared to keep us disgruntled, unhappy and depressed.

Happiness is not good for the economy because it can lead to a dangerous phenomenon called contentment. And people who are content are not aspirational and don’t keep seeking to better themselves, physically, financially.

This ‘bettering’ is done to meet the benchmarks deemed fit by those people who set the standards we begin to believe in. Yes, there are some who set the standards. If they have the right to decide is another matter. They wrest the right to decide for us. And when we can’t set our own standards and begin to treat the ones set by a people far removed from our reality as true, we are in trouble. Most of us have no choice but to listen to how our lives must be. How we are not okay, unless we get the perfect marks, have the perfect career, the whitest skin and the thinnest figure. We are mediocre if our frequent check-ins are not premier lounges in Monaco and the French Riviera.

Let us take, for example, the most common of stresses and standards to follow which have been more or less fixed for schoolchildren—marks! That’s the single most important goal of a child’s life. The second most important goal: to get admission into a prime engineering/medical college. So, children begin preparing for such events months, in fact years, before they actually sit for these exams. Some institutes, which help aspiring students crack the engineering entrance tests, pluck children from their childhood as early as when they are in Class VIII.

That is so because someone has made sure that we believe the only way our kids can be successful is when they are either engineers or doctors. The stories coming out of Kota, a town famed for its coaching institutes, are heart-rending. We are creating young depressives, who wake and sleep as if on automaton, burdened with the expectations of family and society. Their parents may have mortgaged property, sold jewellery or even scrounged to get them into a coaching programme in Kota. It is their duty to pay back and fulfil the dreams of their parents, whether they want to or not. If they can’t, many of them will jump off high floors or hang themselves.

 With everything on show all the time, our society has never faced the problem of too much of a good thing as it is facing now. Social media has made sure we know how happy our friends are on their holiday abroad, driving their newest fancy car and wearing the latest designer togs. If our friends don’t go abroad at the drop of a hat, the pictures which flood our timelines are of celebrities at their slimmest, richest. Then the magazines and newspapers we read everyday tell us that these are goals for us to meet.

Clinics are full of youngsters battling depression because they feel they can’t match up to this unreal ideal of a body or success. And these are the lucky ones—the ones who are getting a chance to battle away this scourge of modern living. Dangerously often, depression is pushed away in a dark corner, hidden from the world. People who are depressive are called self-indulgent. In a display of cruel self-obsession, we talk of our sorrows as the ultimate in pain, but have no patience for another’s tale of woe. Empathy is not on the top of our fast-paced lists.

Be brave. Be ambitious. Go get it. Get moving. Try more. Try harder. Till you succeed. No one suggests we calm down and take life easy. No one tells us the beauty of acceptance.

In this new world order, the celebration of success is as obscene as the denigration of failure. We need balance. Else many of us will plummet to tragic deaths, unable to meet the standards set by the media and marketing organisations.

One hopes this is a problem of being a young economy and we will calm down as we mature.


In this new world order, the celebration of success is as obscene as the denigration of failure. We need balance. Else many of us will plummet to tragic deaths, unable to meet the standards set by the media and marketing organisations.

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