A Parent’s Choice…

Most of my friends have asked me this question one time or the other:
“Why don’t boys seem to have a purpose in life nowadays?”.

Now, I for one believe myself to be the epitome of all the problems (and a considerable number more), that boys have to counter before they are actually at helm of their career. But as this question reflects, most of my friends don’t want to face the situation until after their lives have been destroyed beyond repair. Furthermore, I have not been able to find another lad in my close or distant acquaintances who would look at the matter as I do (though with water having been found on the moon and Himesh Reshemiya thankfully having decided to surrender his nasal passages to the sole purpose of breathing, my belief in miracles has been reinstated).

So to put all speculation aside, I’ have decided to devote this article to answering this question.

A year ago when with great difficulty I had managed to wrestle down the monster of the twelfth board exam to the ground, and had hardly had time to wipe the sweat off my brow, that my father confronted me with the following question:

“Now that your schooling is over, what career have you decided to pursue?”
In my developing years as a pre- teen, I had given a lot of thought to this question of my career and had had various moments between deciding to be ‘The Hooded Ghost’ and dedicate my life to fight nocturnal crime, or to be “The Flaming Avenger’ and execute the mission in full glare of the sun. With time however, the understanding had dawned upon me that it was never going to be plain sailing to learn to fly (gravity having a special liking for me) and also that not even vigorous exercise or gym was likely to shape my spongy biceps into molded granite, features without which superheroes would find it tough to perform their professional tasks. Besides, I intuitively felt that my mother might not take very kindly to my being dressed in my VIP frenchie brief over my trousers. So I had let this question of my career drop, and had in fact entirely forgotten about it, until my father had discovered the ghost that day. But having had the question put to me so clearly, I researched deep into my dull & sleepy mind, and after heavy rumination, was forced to admit that having been pre-occupied with heavier matters like the meaning of life and the important purpose of man, not to mention the T20 world cup, I had failed to find enough time to ponder on such mundane matters as a career.
“In short dad,” I surmised, “I don’t have any idea. But give me some time – a couple of years perhaps – and I guarantee you that I will be able to quench your curiosity on the matter.”
My dad gave me the kind of look that a Thompson deer sees in the eyes of a lion when they make each others’ acquaintance for the first, and possibly the last time. Then he called me a donkey. But recognizing the essentially hard-working quality of the animal and not wanting to honour his son with unearned applause, he modified his description of me to a fool. Satisfied with calling me a fool, he expressed himself further:

“Now look here my son; I’m not like many other fathers who force their desire upon their children. No, no, I firmly believe that a young man should have complete liberty in choosing his own career. So the decision of what profession you want to pursue in your life is entirely up to you – you can be either a doctor or an engineer.”

I found myself unable to be overwhelmed by this paternal selflessness and generosity, and gave my opinion that if the matter was entirely in my hand, I would love to pursue the career of a pilot and a free-lance writer, especially as the inadequacy to hit big sixes rendered me incapable of pursuing the career of a professional batsman (I could however hit shots elegantly along the ground, but a batsman who can’t hit big shots has a way of becoming extinct). At that, he echoed like the lion yet again and said that his idea of free choice for his son did not extend to frittering away his hard- earned money on mere loafing, and have his son die a mendicant in the bargain.
Over the next few days he went on buzzing about my ears, holding daily heart to heart discussions with me, making me aware of the pros and cons of each of the career options available to me, the core of his discussions being:
“Medicine is indeed an honourable profession, but you also have to keep in mind that a doctor has to go through several years of study before he can be certificated to start his practice, while an engineer has to go through only four years of college and then he can start earning his living and be self-sustaining.”

Now liberty was not very high on my list of priorities in life, and since I firmly believed at that time that life after college was merely hanging about the time till death, I thought extended college life of the medical student was the USP of the medical profession. Besides, I felt, even medical colleges would not be entirely deprived of cricket. So finally capitulating to the parent’s endless badgering, I voiced that I would choose the lesser of the two evils and be a doctor. Dad, who believed in pinching his pennies (and occasionally, pieces of my flesh), and ruminating on the long years, he had announced himself to support his son. He proceeded to buy for me the tomes, guidebooks and references stipulated for the medical entrance, and for the next few months committed himself to be my gratuitous watchman, keeping me firmly and often painfully. In the end I just about managed to disappoint him and thus I unleashed myself on the world without a purpose in life.

The End.

By Anzer Ahmed.

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