Caution: Long, Boring Post ahead... slightly nostalgic, mostly nonsensical
Last week, my younger brother joined an engineering college in TN. Even though the college is close to home, he decided to stay in a hostel (ok, mebbe I ‘brainwashed’ him into it, but then, it was his decision).
The day when he supposed to leave, I called him to wish him the very best. My dad asked me to have a ‘talk’ with him (sort of elder brother giving ‘gyaan’ to younger bro).
People who know me reasonably well know that I am a very awkward communicator at the best of times. And this time, I did not have a prepared rehearsed sheet of paper full of advice to give him. What do I tell him?
I wanted to tell him lots of things – study well, make us all proud, concentrate on your goals, don’t let distractions get in the way of what you want to achieve in life, beware of friends who come to you when your pockets are full and do their best to empty it, be an outstanding student but don’t stand out in a crowd, adapt yourself to the environment even if it is inconvenient, change the environment if you can, get a good job 4 years down the line, don’t be afraid to smoke or drink as long as you are confident of you being in control, go out of your way to make new friends and meet new people, learn something about how to lead a life from every good guy you meet, and how not to mess it up from the not-so-good ones, respect your teachers for their knowledge (not merely for their age), don’t be afraid to question things, but learn when to shut up and leave things as they are…
Countless phrases from long-forgotten ‘How to…’ books came rushing to my mind. Nice anecdotes about hardwork, initiative, resourcefulness etc etc were swirling in my mind.
Just as I was about to launch into this long winded sermon (as described above), something stopped me. I knew that Dad would have made sure my bro speaks to all the elders in the family (and I mean ‘elders’ in the real sense, not a twenty something still-searching-for-who-I-am-and-what-bullshit-am-I-doing-here guy who happened to be born some years earlier). I knew he would have been subjected to the same sermon countless times before I got through to him on the phone.
Why I knew it is because I was subjected to the same several years back, when the very same ‘elders’ cautioned my dad against sending his son to a big, bad city like Mumbai (where, in their esteemed opinion, every teenager happens to fall into bad ways and does nothing but smoke, drink and bang chicks… ok, I made up the last one!). I knew it because I was so fed up of that sermon, and remember being thankful that my dad and mom never said a word regarding all this. They trusted their parenting skills enough to send their son over, confident that the son would make his own decisions and live responsibly.
I don’t know whether I was worthy of that trust. I didn’t smoke or drink for 7 years in Mumbai. Never went to a movie hall. Studied like crazy and topped most exams (can you hear a brag-piper in the background?). Never had a girl friend, leave alone banging chicks (ok, I wouldn’t have got a girl even I’d tried, but let’s not get into that. You don’t expect me to pull my own leg in my blog).
But I soon started enjoying a drink or two (ok, maybe more). But, the only chicks that I managed were the ones on my dinner plate. And bang they went into my stomach. But, while I was wasting away my sacred ‘brahiminism’ by indulging in such evils that were sure to send me to rotten hell, I found that I was in no way a lesser human than what I had been all these years. The best thing was that I chose to do what I wanted, and it was I who had to live with those decisions. Not those ‘elders’ who did nothing but what their ‘elders’ in turn advised them.
So, when all these stupid thought clouded my mind, I couldn’t bring myself to give him another lengthy sermon on ‘How to live life like a typical TamBrahm’ and the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil, eat no evil, screw no evil’ dialogue…
So, I just told him, “Enjoy yourself, bro.”