Monday, November 29, 2021

The route to success?

A friend had shared a piece with me which talked about how reading classics was needed to acquire a patina of sophistication - especially knowing Greek and Latin to read the then classics in their original language. Also that the sophistication was required to move in the circles of the high and mighty, thereby leading to your own success. Oh, yes, the piece WAS talking about practically prehistoric times when there was this quaint idea that how cultured you are depended on what you knew and how you behaved.

As we all know, it is a stupid definition of culture. Culture is all about the car you own, the locality you live in and the way you dress. As for what you KNOW, all that matters is that what you know enables you to earn the money needed to own that car, live in that locality, buy those dresses etc etc. And, when we talk about behavior, it is not these namby-pamby ideas about how courteously you treat people, especially those less well-off than you, or how considerate you are of others and such. It is about knowing to use the right forks, knowing what wine to drink with what food, knowing what music to appreciate and what to ridicule, things like that. (Music you LIKE? Like really? Don't you know that, if you are to be seen as cultured, you are not ALLOWED to like or dislike anything unless it checks with 'cultured behavior'?)

One thing has not changed, though. I mean if, say, Mukesh Ambani chooses to lick his plate clean, do you really think that HE will be called uncultured? Or that the definition of culture will change to look down upon people who do NOT lick their plates clean? And have people giving etiquette lessons on the proper way to lick a plate clean? (Alright, that's an exaggeration. But, yeah, think of him wearing pajama-kurtas as the normal wear, driving an Alto, living in Bandra...will any of that make mango people call him uncultured?) After all, the whole PURPOSE of appearing cultured is to curry favor with the 'high and mighty', is it not? So, yes, there are the people who 'jahan kade hote hain, vahinse line shuru hota hai' - or, in English, the queue starts from wherever they stand; and there are those who then have to stand behind them to form that queue. Thus it was even in those prehistoric times when people read classics to get ahead in life (according to that piece). The 'high and mighty' had scant idea of the classics, it is just that they liked being SEEN as appreciating them. So, those who sought to curry favor HAD to read what those who were already 'successful' only paid lip service to.

The most heartening thing in this whole thing is that you have ONE standard route to success, spanning generations and geographical boundaries. Particularly pleasing to us guys who have immense respect for those who can say, 'Jaanta nahin ki main koun hoon' which, for the 'Hindi is not even my second language' guys means 'You do not know who I am'. Which, inevitably, leads to subsequent sentences, not about WHO he is but WHO his parents, siblings, uncles, friends or neighbors are.

And so, you ask? Well, the point is simple. Success is ALL about who you KNOW. Curry favor how you will, what you are aiming at is knowing people whose names you can throw around in order to ascend a social ladder. All you need to do is pick whose favor you want and how to curry favor with them. Voila!

What?? Easier said than done? Now, come on, whoever said success comes easy? And you, who spend good money on all those books on success, pay up for training which teaches you to succeed and never once think to tell THEM that it is 'easier said than done' will complain about that when I am giving it for free?

You just don't know who I am!