(Note: This is my HT column dated 24th Jan 2010. I’ve posted it here because the published version was edited – mostly because of space limitations – and I feel it takes a bit away from the original. This was a bit tricky to write, considering the sensitive nature of the topic, so do let me know what you think.)
I feel like such a dinosaur. I say this because I’m clearly out of touch with current trends, such as owning a Blackberry, or committing suicide.
Oh sure, I *know* what suicide is, just like I know what PMS is (a type of biological warfare). But I’m not an expert, seeing as how I’m alive as I type this. I’m also not a trained psychologist, but I did catch a bit of Oprah once, so I feel sorted on that front.
Keeping those credentials in mind, I want all of you to drop everything, unless you’re holding a baby, and listen to what I say next, very, very carefully:
DON’T. KILL. YOURSELF.
Seriously. I’m not trying to be funny here. Suicide is not, and never has been a worthy option, unless you happen to be Manu Sharma.
And yes, if you’re in school or college, please do not even entertain the thought. When I was your age (there I go being all Dev Anandosaurus again), there were better things to think about, than methods of depriving the poor world of my existence.
Of course, I don’t know how many of you are young students, since this column isn’t in SMS lingo, and it must be difficult for you to read material that does not look like it was typed by randomly throwing pebbles at a keyboard.
So yeah, life sucks. Of course, you already know this. Hey, you’re a teenager – you know EVERYTHING, including how your parents are idiots, and how your teacher’s sole aim in life is to land a starring role in your suicide note, and how suicide is cool because, y’know, Kurt Cobain did it, and who better to give you lessons on life than a man who began his days with a nice big breakfast of heroin?
As angsty as you may be now, adulthood, especially your 20s, is all about realising that as a teenager, you were being – and I mean no offence – a complete idiot.
Your problems appear bigger than they actually are. Take, for instance, exam stress. Yes, exams are important, but you are more than your marks. You’re not some form of pestilence just because you can’t remember when the Indian National Congress was formed (Ans: In 1885, after a night of heavy drinking).
Parents and teachers go overboard too, thus becoming part of The System – an evil entity that includes colleges where, if you proudly present a marksheet that says ‘90%’, the peons will spit in your face and then use your marksheet to perform intimate acts of personal hygiene.
Counsellors love to tell that inspirational story about a young Einstein, whose teachers wanted to throw him out of school because he tried to deliver their babies with a vacuum cleaner. (They weren’t even pregnant at the time.)
But I’d like to tell you about one of my oldest friends, who scored abysmally throughout school. He received about the same respect as a bag of horse manure. Today, he owns a thriving (self-made) event management business, and is one of the youngest MDs in his industry. He still doesn’t know what the Mid-Point Theorem is, but do you think he sobs about this into his business-class seat, as hot women ply him with free booze?
If you stick your head above that wall you’ve built around yourself, you’ll see many success stories like that. Ok, enough preaching now – I sound like the bastard child of Robin Sharma and Paulo Coelho.
Simply put, if you’re troubled, stop reading this two-bit humour writer and go see a real expert. Parents and teachers – talk to your children as if they were actual human beings. And while you’re at it, can you please get them to fix their goddamn SMS spellings?