Choices in life

The Indian race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime Doordarshan.
– Unknown

I know the above maxim no longer stands true, because there is now Fashion TV, Zee Music and Pogo. But, the message that the maxim conveys – that life is not about choices – stands true even today.

Whoever said, “Life is full of choices,” needs to do a re-think. Let us start from the beginning of the end of our freedom to choose.

I wanted to be born a girl (and wanted to give the guys a run for their money) but was born a boy. And am still being given a run for my money.

Then the naming happened. You don`t understand how bad I feel deep down inside …because you may have some insignificant name like Raju or Ramu or Raja. Try living 30 years of your life with a name like Jamshed Velayuda Rajan. Guess, this explains why the naming ceremony is conducted when the kid is still asleep in the cradle. Had I been awake and been able to walk, I would have walked out that very day. Talk of choices…

I never had a choice of school I would go to. It was Kendriya Vidhyala from the very beginning. If only my father had allowed me, I would have been happy to graduate from the ‘Steady Driving School` (yes, that was the name) across the road.

I have had a thing for automobiles from the beginning. Unfortunately, the closest I reached was a bicycle – a misnomer for an automobile….wonder what was ‘auto` about it. At least I would have been consoled a bit, had he got me a Hero Cycle. My friends would look at the “Hero” written on the front bar and addressed me as “Hero”. As luck would have it my friends called me “Atlas” for the five years that I had the cycle. Those used to calling second names called me “Goldline Super.”

When the hormones started flowing, they didn`t let me sit next to Sonia Kalra – a Punjabi dame who studied with me in 10th standard. Her father would sit with her in every class. He was very protective.

Neither did they give me a good-looking class teacher. I think it was some 55-year-old man drenched in some history and some civics. But civic sense he had none, for whenever we spoke to the girls in the corridor, he would ask us to get into the class.

College was worse. My choices were Armed Forces Medical College, IIT Kharagpur or Jawaharlal Nehru University. All three selected from among the rubble because they were co-ed. And look where I eventually landed…The American College started by Christian Missionaries 100s of years ago…still punishing themselves with celibacy just because Eve ate the apple. Somebody should have explained it to them that not all can be like Newton…an apple falls and instead of eating it you end up calculating the Gravitational Forces.

The very concept of work is against choice. None of us like to work. Of course, here I am ruling out all those men who are regulars to office because they sit next to a pretty girl who has only recently joined and is yet to censure them. Guess what, with changing times…the girls have opened up too. And they are happily coming to office because some stud sits next to them in office. At least that is what this girl called Jyoti Rastogi, who sits next to me in Satyam Computers, feels.

Unless of course you stay in US, marriage comes after work but before children. But this is changing fast in our country. In India, children in dustbins come before marriage.

The older you become the less choices you have. Take me for example; I had no say in my marriage. Once, I fell in love with Rekha…and she decided to marry me…there was little choice I could put into use. I wasn`t even able to see the choices available to me.

That you are left with no choice but to read this stupid Ouchmytoe? That`s bad. You might as well carry a crown of thorns on your head. But then, is that a choice?

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