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21.2.09

Perils of Institutionalisation...

INSTITUTIONALISATION - There are things that are taken for granted & these have pernicious influence on our life and what is far worse, on our thinking. Yes most of us are and remain blissfully unaware of the extent to which our environs manipulate/design/affect us. Well there is hardware stuff to that and a software part of it. Let me write on the later. Most of the institutionalized thinking is based on some unfounded assumption or lack of seeing alternatives in a real world. It creates a simulation & at other times it is based on the Kafkaesque curtain of fear that is pulled over our eyes.

Bas beta, ye paas kar lo…fir aish hai…life ban jaayegi !!! – this statement ought to ring a bell for all of us. The only difference perhaps would lie in, who struck this bell? For some it may be father or mother, an uncle or an aunt, a teacher or a role model or simply a guy who has been labeled a ‘success’ by society. The fear has been hardwired onto us to the extent that all through our life, we have ran for safety havens may be through JEE exams, GRE, GMAT or our very own CAT? How many of us wanted a career in I banking prior to coming to Bschools? A(n) (un)precious few, I guess. And lo and behold, things suddenly changed in a course of 2-3 months. What happened between June 07 and Oct 07 that changed our perceptions of our strengths, our weaknesses, our thinking, our life, our dreams? And what is happening now? Those cookie cutter answers to ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, got so hardwired onto us that we started believing them. There’s where, I guess, we lost our originality or lost touch with our true self. And mind you, its darn easy to blame the system for all this but when we get exhausted from all our cribs, let it be known that it is we who did not have guts to listen to ourselves? It is we who when needed most shunned ourselves. Bottomline is we lacked the guts to chart our own course - own course is not just entrepreneurship per se, it entails YOU making YOUR decisions, pursuing that which YOU know would give happiness to YOU, that which would give a sense of purpose to YOU or to put very simply pursuing that which YOU ‘like’.

At a personal meeting at Eklavya, Sunil Handa in his characteristic tone of disdain cum disgust lamented “Why the hell do students think that it is only campus placements that they should crave for? Why no one tries beyond? Why make world so pathetically small than it is?” This entailed a paradigm shift in my thinking and I don’t know if it does the same for the reader but I wish it does. I know most of us would reply that it is not about lack of opportunities outside, it is about leveraging the same inside the campus. Well all I gotta say or rather ask is since when did the so called leveraging (the existing opportunities) become a function of your true happiness or even define your purpose, your will, your likings? I thought the same honor went to Dreams. Pardon me if the thought comes across as a romantic caricature lacking substantially in either objectivity or practicality. But, I guess it is the same romantic thought(misnomered at that time as ‘lunacy’) that made Googles, Infosys, Apples, Microsofts of the world. It is the same lunacy that drove Mohd. Yunus, Robert Rodriguez, Tom Peters, Ricardo Semler, Richard Branson, Howard Hughes, Dhirubhai and likes.

I don’t boast of any noble intentions of fostering either entrepreneurship or even proposing the logic that present bad times in job market are good opportunities to venture out our own stuff. All I wanted to share was some thoughts on how the system robotizes us and in the process leaves us isolated from ourselves and ditch us into a quagmire of eventual gloom and emptiness. As Yates rightly pointed out way back in 60s in the novel Revolutionary Road – “Hopeless Emptiness- most will eventually see the emptiness of the lives that they are leading, but it is the precious few who have guts to see the hopelessness of it all !!!

Sincere apologies if the tone has a semblance to that of a preacher. That was not and can never be the intention, not for the lack of audacity but for the fact that me too is travelling in the same boat.
Let the truer sense prevail………………………………………………………………Signing out on Faith & Hope !!!

2 comments:

Abhijit said...

You can help by giving a link to the video that you recommend...

and what you said is the truth and really a very sad part of the entire 2 years...
Engg still seems to be a part which I chose and I wanted. MBA was a leftover in eliminating other choices - Mayb that played a part....

btw, does your last line suggest you are going to stop blogging?

Tariq said...

Yup Sir, I could have posted the links.

And as for me stopping blogging, Hell NO..the last line remained thus as I circulated this article at our institute and was urging for better sense to prevail, esp in tough times.