The unimaginable

Disclaimer: This post is a piece of fiction. Any resemblance to any real character is purely incidental.

So I am getting married now. Which means I have agreed to get married within a certain period of time from now. This also means after that period expires I would no longer be the single-ready-to-mingle girl. In other words, I would be with someone, forever, and the whole world would know about this.

I have told this news to around 10-15 people by now. Apart from a few office colleagues, who are kiddos in their early twenties, everyone asked me the same question:

How did this happen?

Now this can be a bit offensive. You know, say your 99 year old grandpa who was suffering from the Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome dies and you tell people, ‘my grandpa died’ and they tut-tut-ed and asked you ‘how did this happen’, you understand that.

But when you are 28 and the whole world asks you ‘when are you getting married’ on your birthday and you have to think of different smart replies to this question rather than stuff yourself with rich chocolate truffle cake because you can’t imagine adding more pounds at the delicate age, the question ‘how did this happen’ in response to the happy news of wedding can be a bit offensive.

But you see, I can’t blame these people. I am the crusader against the institution of marriage. (I take pride in it!) Also, I was often in and out of this relationship during the last 5 years which failed to morphed into a marriage. So everyone was kind-of-used to the whole bachelor-spinster thing by now. The sudden change in status quo obviously piqued their curiosity.

Now, how to answer this question.

I can obviously not talk about the happy-marriage-concept I had when I was 23, when I first got into the relationship. Everyone would see through the lie.

I can obviously not say that this is what my parents want. I am doing this for them. They know me well enough to know that I am much more selfish than this.

So I get really nervous with this question. Much more than the earlier one about when would I get married. You see, I end up asking this question to myself in search of a simple honest answer. Indeed, I have no idea on how this happened. How does anyone end up in a marriage? Whatever is the answer to this question applies to my case too.

The other reaction is of congratulations and all. Most of the people are genuinely happy. I seriously don’t get it. Apart from a few people I know who were desperate to get married (read laid) I have never been genuinely happy about anyone’s marriage. I am not able to see any greatness in it apart from completion of a pending task. Its like you passed 12-boards or you finally finished your PhD, or you finally got a job. Similarly, you finally got married. Like everyone else.

Nevertheless, I was really grateful to all these people. For a day or two I did feel like something special is going to happen to me. Its like a bursting balloon. A make believe world. Two people living together under the same roof, everyday of the year, every year of their life. How can this possibly work?!

The answer of course, we all know, is kids.

Welcome to the world of ‘unimaginable turning into reality’. I think this is what the people are telling me.

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Development

This post is being written mostly to help me frame some questions which are floating in my head in an unorganized fashion. So if you don’t understand even a word of it, please don’t mind.

Basically I am in that phase in life where “information”, for me, is knowledge and beyond. I am a sucker of info these days. I need to know what all is happening in the country (discounting north-eastern states, my apologies) in the field of elementary and secondary education and human resource development in general. For instance, I want to have a micro picture of what goes on inside a govt school in a remote village, in the different govt offices at cluster and block headquarters, at the district level, at the state level ministry and finally the MHRD at center and its other aiding bodies. Similarly, when I hear about the call centers working in remotest places possible in the country and praise about them, my antennas are activated.

Education is such a business which unfortunately can’t work independently in a way like Health does. I mean you can definitely say that an epidemic is bad coz it kills people. Good/bad is not so clear and distinct in the field of education. In Gujurat, good education is what gives one knowledge to run business. In Bihar, good education is what gets you into IAS. I m grossly generalizing here. But you get the point. More or less, from upper lower income to upper middle income groups, good education is the one which gets you a good job. Good job, in extension, generally means the one which allows you to have a good lifestyle. Ofcourse, good lifestyle is a personal call but these days we are finding it to be restricted to a certain kind of lifestyle more and more.

The picture I paint above is the factual reality. Now comes the dream I live in.

See, I was the youngest in my family. So perhaps as a kid I formed some notions in my head and people didn’t correct them thinking the notions to be just temporary. As a child, when I used to find my dad to be so tensed and kinda frustrated with his job as a bank manager I would feel very bad. One fateful day I sworn to myself that I wouldn’t do a job which I hate. I told myself that I would do something that everyday in the morning I would be excited to plunge myself into. Now, I was fortunate enough to be given every sort of help and facilities to fulfill my dream. Then, my dream became to help everyone,  who has a similar dream, achieve it. Again getting lucky, by the turn of events, I got into the field of education which is directly related to my old dream. I also found myself to be not alone. There were many like me, and many who were full time employed achieving it! Wow, I told myself.

Then I started to look around more. I found that these people like me were like a drop in the ocean. Because in factual reality education is more closely related to a culture than with individual aims and aspirations. Ofcourse, the latter are also influenced and shaped by the culture to an extent, but a lot of it also comes naturally to a person. For instance, I know many people who like curriculum development research work. They are damn creative and interesting people. They love to play with concepts in their subject field. There are other kind of people who implement the curriculum developed by the first kind in schools. These people are better at spreading and refining the research work, which needs different skill sets. Now if say, the culture regarded the first kind to be better, say in terms of, intellect or money or any other means, we might see more people going for it than for the second kind of work. Ultimately, if this gap between a person’s interest/ability/natural liking towards something and the kind of work s/he ends up coz of the cultural control over his/her decision making process, if this gap could be reduced by education then I would say to some extent we have achieved our purpose.

Now I started writing this blog because “development” is a word that puts me to unease. In education sector, a lot of work/reports/researches get passed in the name of development. Many, in fact most, NGOs or non-profit organizations get funding and lots of credit (which gets them more funding) on doing work which works in hand with what I called above as factual reality. Like BPOs running in remote villages, internet kiosks for rural development, schools running in under-developed regions on traditional models but producing good results in comparison to dysfunctional govt schools, village tourism and so on. I am in favor of any kind of work which helps people in any way, so I am not against any of these interventions I stated. What I am disappointed about is the path which is followed, everywhere, for development. I mean do we have to go through the same old way of first creating short term solutions which result in more chaos and wrong and then when we have reached an apex of chaos, order will automatically follow. Education is definitely meaningless if it doesn’t equip a person to earn his living and lead a life he wishes for. But then if education stifles his ability to dream and decision for himself in the process, what is left for achieving anyways?!