People are so interested in knowing someone else’s future plans. Especially if that someone is a person experiencing a midlife crisis where everything is nothing but senseless chaos with no tangible beginning and no visible end to it. In other words, an engineering student in the third year of the undergraduate course.
Being an Indian boy studying engineering in what is arguably the hardest city to study engineering in, all the questionnaires pertaining to my future that I’ve faced have made me a cold-hearted person. People take an active interest in my life. They might be well-wishers but every single time they talk to me about what I’m planning for my future, they end up making me want to hack my neck off with a machete. This is just one of those things which systematically kills whatever plans you’re making. The questions are accompanied by not only curiosity, but also opinions.
An engineering student is the subject of so much attention that it borders on absurdity. Every person, every single person has something to say to an engineering student about academics, college, and plans for the future. Parents, teachers, friends, cousins, relatives, maids, security guards, neighbors, their relatives and cousins, random newspaper journals, all these people are a few examples of the whole wide world which asks questions and give conflicting suggestions so as to what to do for the future.
Here’s the thing: People are so firm in their opinions for your future that they won’t even stop to listen to what you have to say. Assuming that they did, they won’t consider whatever you have to say. In the extremely unlikely event that they consider it, they’ll just throw all your ideas in the bin and counter with their beliefs. It makes me nauseous whenever the other person is giving some real bad advice that I know won’t do good for me. At that point, I mentally think of myself a Congress party member in The Newshour Debate on Times Now. I know that I will be asked a question, I know that I’ll be interrupted before I finish answering, and I also know that my views and answers may sound right to me but will sound extremely wrong and idiotic to the person asking questions and to the people who’re listening in to the conversation. Calling it a conversation now seems extremely stupid. It would be much more accurate to think of it as a talk with an interactive session where the speaker is bent on destroying on anyone who’s daring enough to ask questions.
At this point, I’m faced with three options:
1. Stay in India and pursue further studies.
2. Pursue higher studies in a foreign country.
3. Stay in India and do a job, and then study.
Further categorization for better understanding.
3. a. Stay in India and do a job, and then pursue further studies in India.
3. b. Stay in India and do a job, and pursue further studies in a foreign country.
Notice that the options have sub-options. Some people who support #1 are also supporters of #3.1. Some people who support #2 are supporters of #3.2. There’s a separate set of supporters of #3, and they have their own reasoning for their beliefs. When so many people are involved and when there’s complex Venn Diagrams, it becomes hard to map a person to the category they belong to. And if I map a person to the wrong category, then I better get some coffee and aspirin ready, because the conversation becomes absolute pandemonium. If you ever do that, you’ll come out of the conversation looking like Sylvester Stallone at the end of the last fight in Rocky IV. Absolute exhaustion, and almost dead. That doesn’t matter, though, because you’ll be alive and you’ll be equipped with more experience to not make bad decisions in the future.
In the free time that you get while dealing with all these people, you’ll have these random phases of helplessness induced panic, which in turn gives you depression. They eventually do pass but when you’re living through them, you’ll identify with the Britney Spears of early 2008. You’ll then realize that getting depressed is not the answer, but that won’t matter. You’ll be depressed anyway. All your friends (if you have them), will have their future mapped out, with every intricate detail explicitly defined. They will have a goal, they will be working towards it. If there are any who are not already doing that, then they’re ready to take the first step towards whatever they’re aiming to achieve. You’ll then realize that they are all working hard to make the most of their lives and you’re listening to Calvin Harris and imagining the experience you would have with an electric Japanese toilet seat available in the US that offers deluxe comforts including heating, a water spray, fan and antibacterial glazing.
Yeah, that toilet would’ve been amazing. Imagine that.
Wait, what? No. Don’t imagine that. We’re diverting.
This is how things are. Depression, friends, family, dozens of opinions, electric toilet seats are all a part of life. I don’t know how this will end but I sure hope that when it does, it better end well.
P.S: That toilet seat actually sounds great. I guess a Japanese engineer with Indian relatives made it when he was studying under-graduation.