How To Accept The Unknown, Uncertain, and Unstable to Win in Life? The Premise- WHY?

By Harshit Bhardwaj

men's stories - harshit bhardwaj

At the expense of sounding a chauvinist, I’m certain that Indian men are under tremendous pressure to figure it all out by the time they are 21- the legal age to get married, booze, or make an entry into the job market. Most struggle.

The only training manual available is your father or other male elders from the previous generation. And maybe the internet and same-age, equally confused friends.

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I won’t even go into the narrative of ‘following your family’s footsteps’ pressure. Doctor’s son becoming a doctor. Let’s not go there, because I didn’t experience that.

In a country where we are supposed to figure it all out, somehow magically, and expected to get it 100% right- Be it our sexual orientation or lifestyle, social etiquette, planning and designing our entire career arc, and the most far-reaching decision of marriage.

For God’s sake- the most important agreement/contract of our life is planning to live our entire life with a person- That doesn’t come with ANY training or manual. None. Zilch. Nada! Go figure, is the unsaid law!

I guess Bollywood has trained more people than their own family when it comes to relationships. Simply because of this reliance, I protest against films like Kabir Singh!

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No wonder porn has the highest viewership in our part of the world. How the hell else can a boy of 20 learn to have sex?

Now that I have your attention on the topic- Our lives as men come with no manual.

So what do we do- We follow templates. ‘Sharma ji ka beta’ (Son of Mr. Sharma, i.e. the golden child in Indian society) becomes the reference point. You are not allowed or given the tools to design an original path for you. That’s why artists and writers in this country starve.

I can’t blame my parents for it- For them growing up in the 60s and 70s and surviving the 80s as young parents required only one thing- Survival. They had to work- any job- save with LIC for the lack of options, and pray like hell to a God that only afforded a temporary solace. Career, ambitions, visions, life’s goals- these words meant nothing.

Cut back to now- the Indian middle-class men- growing up with templates that worked for people around them- get good marks, get in medical/engineering, graduate, get a job ASAP, get married, buy a house you can’t afford, car beyond your CIBIL,  kids, get them in a school you can’t afford and always live in the red with EMIs and loans. Or some variation of this! 

Well, it’s followed with such passion- this template- because at the onset- externally it seems to work. ‘Sharma ji ka beta’ graduated from IIT, got a great first placement, bought a great villa, and his kids go to the most expensive DPS. And, yeah, he drives a 25 lakh car. All boxes ticked, or are they?

At the age of 40, he spent the last 25 years of his life- his golden years to get to this point with the car and all. His youth is gone. His body is giving way to obesity and fatigue. He made no friends, only colleagues, and acquaintances. He has no hobbies. He is not happy. He thought following this template was the way to happiness and he followed the rabbit hole meticulously to find he had been misled.

What’s more evil is that his template- his life with cars and villas- looks extremely attractive to people around him. He would inspire a lot of young men to emulate. To some extent, he also keeps up the facade lest he should be caught feeling extremely sad.

That leads to depression, which is an extremely lonely state. On the one hand, he knows exactly that he irredeemably failed, on the other he can’t accept and confess to anyone. 

What’s more hideous- he has to carry on regardless! The rat race is ON- there is no exit on this highway only a brutal end. 

So he drinks and smokes and dopes to manage his pain. He would walk the dirty lanes of sensual pleasures to seek solace. Anything to spike dopamine, because the cars and the villa and the expensive watch stopped spiking it a long time ago.

All that eventually fails, too. The only drugs that remain are the one that controls his diabetes, cholesterol, and BP.

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Are you scared, yet? 

The only path that will give you true happiness is the path that you choose and pave for yourself. Walking any template is like wearing someone else’s used underwear, literally and metaphorically. It’s smelly, perverse, and basically, you deserve a fresh undie.

The path that you’ll pave for yourself will be unknown, uncertain, and unstable- that’s why my parents and yours, too, will ban you from walking it. But, hey, that’s the only option to happiness.

In the next part, I’ll share how I built my path when I left India to study films and literature in England.

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