Monday, April 30, 2018

How you ought to live - III

This micro-managing of life, it is not all about 'How you ought to eat'  though that has been the most vexing thing for me. I mean, yeah, I am of those who 'live to eat' but I do not much fancy the idea of living my whole life learning how to eat. I have accepted being inept in almost everything but to make me feel inept even in the act of eating was going a bit too far.

That does not mean that this micro-managing has stopped at eating, though. What irritates the most is that first the defined way you ought to live your life makes a career choice for you and, then the damn career choice starts defining all the rest of your life.

Take the clothing, for example. I know, I have wept copiously all about it, raged at that sartorial strangler that people call a tie, fumed at the fact that people expected me to swelter in the heat of an Indian summer in three piece suits...(Awright! I did not say I DID all that, did I? Just because people expected it, I could not walk around with sweat pouring down me like I were some sort of walking fountain. Not that I do not spout sweat anyway.). You know, the funny thing is that, once you pick a career, you automatically are restricted in what you can choose to wear. "Who would think you are a manager, if you lounge around the house in a lungi?"; "Come on! You are a doctor! How can you be pottering around in shorts that have never seen a detergent in their life?"; "Walk around in grease-stained overalls and people will take you for a mechanic, not an engineer." Familiar? I mean, even a Swamiji has a dress code. Would you take someone in Bermudas and T-shirts for a god-man? (AND, yes, I'd rather not talk about the 'How you ought to dress' for a woman - that will take a whole book and will still leave a lot unsaid).

Do I really need to say anything about gelled hair, unkempt beard, tattoos and the rest? I mean, really, if I had my eyebrows pierced and a ring through it, tattoos on my cheek, and hair streaked in technicolor, would PwC let me even get INTO the interview room for a top management position? Ergo, once you are into a career, there is a whole new guidebook on 'How you ought to live".

Even unto where you eat when you are out of office. "You are in middle management and you want to eat in a dhaba? What will people think?" (Yeah, the same people who have nothing better to do than think horrid things about all the people they know). By and large, what they WOULD think is either that you are raving mad or that you are a miser. It would never cross their mind that you may eat in a dhaba because you like that food. Of course, if they thought that, they would put it down to your 'low' tastes. (That, though, is a problem of a lack of inventiveness on my part, I understand. Some genius invented the term 'Street food' and, now, it apparently is a rage. Alas! I did not understand that it was enough to use a sophisticated term to make an act seem sophisticated).

Needless to say, you cannot make the choice of house, car, mobile...anything without first checking out on 'what people will say' considering your job. You cannot even potter around on your holidays, doing nothing much other than watching grass grow. Oh! No! You should first stress about tickets and visas, go to a trendy destination abroad and rush breathlessly around, fearing to miss something that you ought to have seen while there. (AND, nowadays, when all you want to do is crash out in the night, you still have to properly upload all the pics on Instagram/Facebook/what-have-you before you are allowed to sleep. Sounds more like work, doesn't it?)

And I thought the whole idea of adulthood and making money was to be free to make your own choices! Not that I live as I ought to live my life. Wearing tracks and tees may have made me seem a sportsman but that huge bulge in the middle rather spoils the effect. Net result is that I am probably being taken to be insane.

If it is sane to strangle yourself with a tie, give me insanity any day!


  1. Careers have killed freedom of choice and freedom of expression big time! We've become slaves to perceptions and the need to make good impressions.

    I'm being told to wear three piece suits for weddings and Easter Vigil mass as well...during summer. And I wish ties were made of the same fabric that towels are made from. At least it would have utility value.

    Great reading. Do drop by mine.


  2. There is a saying which says "Do in Rome as Romans do" and this has been knowingly taken for granted for every aspect in ones life...any deviation, however small, will be pounced upon by others and the result would be to have you branded a rebel. Fear of this is only what makes one meekly accept the predefined code and make themselves be considered "normal".
    But thanks to the geniuses who come along now and then to make our lives better by coining terms or jargons such as "Street Food" which not only chnages the perception by being trendy and modern but also helps all these meek creatures to enjoy what otherwise they wouldnt or couldnt.
    Are we or can we really beat the crowd and be free at all, is it possible? the question lingers.....