In the last couple of months, I’ve been asked over a million times what any unemployed-unmarried- recent graduate male hates to answer – ‘What next?’. ‘I am studying for the GRE’ is my furtive answer. What follows is an annoying generic pregnant pause which threatens to kill the conversation. But my inquisitor ends it with an even more annoying comeback like ‘Oh…I see. America huh?’ (Other slangs for the country like USA, US of A, States, Uncle Sam’s Land, Dollar Dreams, Stars and Stripes are often used generously).
I hate it. They judge me. In that pregnant pause I can see them scripting the next 200 years of my life. I guess it goes like this-
Sanket goes to US; completes his MS; gets a job in the US; the job is in LA; he visits India once a year; after three years his mother persuades him to get married; he gets married to a nice Indian girl with a dollar sign for pupils; they move to the suburbs; he buys a Ford sedan which burns more gas than all of Kothrud; their house is BIG; it has a swimming pool; they have a couple of kids; they name them Krishna and Soundarya; he gets a green ca…….
Is that how they want my life to be? Is that how I want my life to be? I don’t want the movie of my life to be scripted that way. Except for the girl maybe (without the scary pupils) I don’t want a Ford sedan. And I hate the name Soundarya.
Then why am I giving GRE? I don’t know. Everybody else is doing it. All my friends have given it. Most of my friends are already there. It sounds cool. Convinced? No? Me neither. The truth now. I’m not smart enough to get into an IIT. Or, I’m smart enough not to slog for the IIT entrance and learn fifty different words for ‘lust’ to clear GRE. Because my dad can afford it. Because I want to be exposed to ‘International Educational Standards’ (borrowed directly from visa interview forums).
The plot demands it. The career graph should go upward, right? Or in this case westward. Oh the West! We Indians Love it. The movies, the music, the women, the accent. I mean who wouldn’t. My beloved IT geeks from Bangalore worship it. Their sun rises in the Occident. They drop the names of western cities like eight year old Sanket would do with the WWF wrestlers’ physical attributes. They construct their conversations around it. I don’t blame them. It is their USP in the job market, matrimonial sites or any other social endeavors. It’s in our DNA. I believe if our DNA is kept in an isolated atmosphere, it will point west.
Looking at the overwhelming presence of the western pop-culture in India, one wouldn’t think twice before joining the mass exodus to the west. More than half of the people I knew from my college are already there. And hell, they love it there! By a quick look at their bulging orkut albums sporting the names like ‘Fall-2008’ or ‘My department’ or ‘My first snow’, one wouldn’t think otherwise. I wouldn’t blame them either. It is their prerogative. It is their script.
The Act Two of mine however, is giving a lot of problems. Too many plot holes, too many extras, mean producers and no heroine. It promises to be a rollercoaster for the initial part, but the plot-mein-twist is nowhere to be seen. I realize it is too early for me to go gaga over The Meaning of Life (not the movie), but somewhere between learning the words like subpoena, usury or bourgeois and deciphering an esoteric essay of an obscure author on ‘Social effects of the tribal wars in the Aztec Civilization’, I just feel lost.
May be Mr. Barron can show me the way.