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Put your education in perspective

AIEEE being a national exam, all modes of transportation were hogged by students. For the return journey, we only had seats in the driver's cabin. So, we camped in 10 minutes before the bus was supposed to depart.

Our driver was quite fly (for someone in his late 20's, i.e.) and his demeanor was rather hip; looney even (who in their right mind would stick their arm out just to poke fun at a truck charging head on!). He wore a white shirt and blue cargoes, a (possibly) gold bracelet, inverted baseball cap, a chain round his neck, and a tattoo on his right arm. He looked gutsy and we had settled that we're in for a ride...

The cabin was stuffed with people. People of all walks and ages. This particular guy, also returning from the exam, sat next to the driver. The cabin was elaborately arranged, with blinking lights, idol of Laxmi/Ganesh and all that paraphernalia, controlled by a custom-built control panel which looked similar to a resitance box. He even had a CD-based MP3 player hooked up to a multitude of speakers, about which he proudly proclaimed "Gana to raat bhar bajega, ghabrate kyu hai?" (Songs will be played all night, what are you worried about?).

I sat there, looking at the meandering roads, as the bus sped on its way. This was the first time I noticed that roads are indeed banked at an angle on steep turns. He drove fast, denying an elderly person's request to slow down ("Watcha thinking, dada? I'm driving slow and steady, enjoy the view!"). He was more jovial than that, which I realized when woken up all of a sudden by an unabashed display of his vocal talent (at 11 in the night) - "Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si, soti raaton mein jagi si..." - well in tune with the one playing in the background.

I decided to stay awake, witnessing him slip a pill, and overheard a conversation between the driver and the guy next to him. He spoke in lofty Hindi, with a modest sprinkling of common English words and phrases.

Guy: What's the pill for?
Driver: Uh, it helps me stay awake and alert. Have been driving for the past 4 nights; I'm a human after all. [He said this in a cheery, matter-of-fact'ly way].
Guy: Oh.. so why do you do this?
Driver: To stay alive, kid. What do you do? Which test was this?
Guy: Engineering entrance test...
Driver: Mm hmm. How many seats does it have?
Guy: About 20,000. Five hundred thousand take the test I think...
Driver: So the other 480,000 are useless brats, huh?
Guy: Not really.
Driver: Of course they will be. Look at me, I'm one of the kind. Didn't study after 3rd grade. I didn't like to study, I wanted to earn first.
Guy: Hmmmm..
Driver: So do you tutor any children?
Guy: No, why?
Driver: What? Why not! Where do you get your pocket-money from?
Guy: My parents.
Driver: Don't do this. What if you parents are no more? You should do something. You know, the more you learn, the more you can put it to use.
Guy: Yeah I know, but I don't have a lot of time.
Driver: You ought to have a time-table, sonny. Bet you can find the time. I've been earning since I was 12... and I didn't study. My dad said, if I don't study, he won't let me live in the house. So I ran away, it was 1984. Joined a hotel as a waiter, but didn't like the job. So this Punjabi guy taught me how to drive, and I've been driving since 1987 I reckon. I earned money myself, and went home seven years later. Everyone thought I had died. But I did not. Now I'm raising my brothers and sisters. They are all in good colleges, I'm the only one who didn't study. I was the 'dud coin' of the family, you know.
Guy: Hmmmm
At this point, he decided it was time to change the music. He looked back and proclaimed - "Ah, everyone's young blood here! We'll play some for their generation." - while putting in his CD of Kumar Sanu songs.

I slept thinking about it: how have I utilized what I have been given? True, I haven't been given a lot, but no one ever is! It's about using what you have. Most of us have received the best education there is, often times studying in the best school of our cities, states or even countries. Most of us have gotten into equally good colleges. How have we used this, and how do we plan on using this? As children of families who have been able to afford a quality education for us, are we not too myopic to see that those who did not have this education are earning well and loving it?

Some of us have gotten into the school of their dreams, some into their second or third choice, and some are left with only a safety (or none). Never whine about what you have or do not have. Use what you do. Use your opportunities. Make them, if you don't have any. Here I was, bitching about not getting in anywhere in the US; and here this guy is, proud of being able to raise his "learned" siblings without so much as high school education. I urge everyone to understand what a highly privileged situation we are in! When you graduate, use your education to make a difference. Like the driver said to the guy - "If you follow what I say, you will be happier."

So why did I write out this obvious wisdom? I wrote this because I learnt something new by coming face-to-face with it, rather than being told about it. And isn't life supposed to be this way? Revealing itself a little at a time...

Thanks for posting it yaar! Its a perfect eye opener!

very true

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