Read This Column Now. You Can Enjoy Later.

Dear Students Who Just Got Their Results

First up, I’d just like to say, congratulations on getting done with your board exams. I’m glad I’m not you because I went through formal education once and even today, I get the classic exam nightmare, wherein I’m late for a math exam and I reach the hall only to discover that it’s actually a physics exam and also I’m naked and the invigilators are strangely okay with it. (Based on a true story.)

Now you may hate board exams, but they’re important because they help find new faces to put on the side of a BEST bus. Maybe you are one of those pimply toppers, in which case you should know that six commuters just felicitated your photo with paan juice.

Or maybe you’re at the other end of the spectrum, in which case you’re contemplating a career as the guy who has to wash off that paan juice. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be a student, because with so many non-traditional options open to you — from the liberal arts and humanities to music production, gastronomy and zoology — the only question you need to ask yourself is, “What branch of engineering should I pick?”

You’re probably eager to start college and discover your true self through Old Monk, THC and Snapchats of your nether regions. But before you get there, you still have to deal with cliched advice coming your way from parents, uncles, neighbours, doodhwala, humour columnists and anyone else who is not you. The most common one is, “Beta, if you work hard and study now, you can enjoy for the rest of your life.”

If you’ve ever fallen for this, let me just say HAHAHAHAHA SUCKER. This is pretty much how it goes:

In class X: Work hard now, then later life is full enjoy only.

In class XII: Work hard now, then college will be chill.

In college: Work hard now, and life will be a pantless tequila party.

At your first job: Work hard now, so that you can rise up faster and work even harder. Then enjoyment.

When you start a family: Work hard now, so that these annoying little people who look like you can enjoy their life. You enjoy later.

At retirement: You’ve worked hard all your life. Now put on this adult diaper and wait for death.

(I like how Indians use the word ‘enjoy’ to describe any fun activity. “He was fully enjoying” could mean anything from “He really liked the salad” to “He really liked being asphyxiated by that limber Nordic woman”.)

Then someone will start talking about how you don’t need formal education to be successful because Steve Jobs was a hippie dropout and Bill Gates mooned Harvard on his way out. What they forget is that these people were goddamn geniuses; Gates had been coding and tinkering since he was a kid, back when computers were seen as some sort of voodoo fad. You, on the other hand, spent that time wondering if your special “me-time” activity could cause blindness. Seriously, if you’re a dumbass, please get a formal education. This will not make you any less of a dumbass, but at least you’ll get paid to be one. This is why people get an MBA.

And finally, there’s the cliché that isn’t repeated often enough. It’s something that needs to be hammered into your heads, regardless of result, i.e. these marks, much like a woman’s opinion in India, do not matter. Or rather, they’ll cease to matter soon enough.

You may get into a top college, which is great, except you’ll be competing with the brightest minds in the country, until you graduate and realise that dammit, there are more smart people to contend with, and that nobody cares about your Class XII math score. It’s like playing WWE trump cards and looking to kill with a Shawn Michaels card, except everyone else has a deck full of Andre the Giant.

Or you’ll land up in a college that’s basically an abandoned cargo container in some place like Jabalpur, where the professor and the watchman are the same guy, and the only extra-curricular activity is sweat. You’ll survive that, because honestly, the only way to go from there is up. (You’ll look daft while doing it, all angsty and metal-y and emo, but you’ll do it.)

At the very least, if you can figure out what you absolutely do not want to do in life, you’ll be better off than so many working professionals today. Then you can work hard and “enjoy” hard too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for a math exam and why am I naked… oh wait.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 8th June 2014.)

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58 responses to “Read This Column Now. You Can Enjoy Later.

  1. This is the best career advice I have ever read! 🙂

  2. Jabalpur thing, happened to a friend. His extra-curricular activity was indeed sweat

  3. This is so true! ” You may get into a top college, which is great, except you’ll be competing with the brightest minds in the country, until you graduate and realise that dammit, there are more smart people to contend with, and that nobody cares about your Class XII math score.”

    Happened to me, and is something nobody tells you between “Work hard now and enjoy later.” We were so stupid back then to have believed that.

  4. Whats THC

  5. I’m so embarrassed to admit that I fell for the “Work hard now, you’ll enjoy later” in class X. Needless to say I didn’t work very hard for class XII and now according to every Uncleji and Auntyji I know, my life is over until I get accepted by some douchey college.

  6. well written brother….
    i just wish you had written that 4 years ago and i read it at that time and not now when i’m stuck in that bloody rut….

  7. Loved the analogy with the WWE cards!!

  8. I got the same dialogues in 10th and 12th grade and ended up in engg like the rest of damned India.
    But then I got the ” Now get married… after that you can do whatever…” line and thankfully, I had the sense to stop listening.

    Now, I actually *am* enjoying! 😀

  9. Reblogged this on The Civilized Nomad and commented:
    Ashish Shakya fan for life bro. \m/

  10. “i.e. these marks, much like a woman’s opinion in India, do not matter. Or rather, they’ll cease to matter soon enough.”
    What r u trying to say, Is it your opinion that womens opinion in India does not matter ??? I know this is just n example n has nothin to do with the subject.
    But the statement made was uncalled for kindly change it.

  11. I always felt guilty about not giving my JEE exams but that feeling quickly goes away whenever I see a best bus plastered with toppers who look dead inside. Excellent piece!

    • Do you know any of those toppers personally for you to say what you did? This “Yeh Jawaani..” advice is awful. That advice works when you know what you are good at. Getting to know what you are good at is driven by testing your skills. Hence, the tests!

      The only thing that is sane from what was written in the pile of shit that this article was “it doesn’t matter if you fail”. That piece is like an undigested pea in a pile of shit that you could wash and reuse.

  12. “Seriously, if you’re a dumbass, please get a formal education. This will not make you any less of a dumbass, but at least you’ll get paid to be one. This is why people get an MBA.”
    BEST THING EVER!

  13. Women’s opinion don’t matter in India?! Haha, Indian husbands couldn’t disagree more. Isn’t the stereotype that Indian boys listen to mummyji and men listen to biwiji.

  14. You have nailed it. Hilarious! !!

  15. ‘Like’ if you’re one of the “Beta, if you work hard and study now, you can enjoy for the rest of your life.” suckers like me. 😛 🙂

  16. Hilarious! Aap Stud Hai!

    PS: not the AAP you killed in one your articles

  17. Ayoooo…. what will the aunties and uncles say????
    This had me in stitches!

  18. Why do people not get what you are saying ?Women’s opinion in India is never asked for ,period.(no pun intended)
    Btw, do you perform stand up comic some place ,would love to see your shows.

  19. Felt as if atleast someone is still there to defend my 60’s score in 12th 😀

  20. Quite true….and well-put “D

  21. It is nice to see a sarcastic article. I think there aren’t enough sarcastic comedians here in India.

  22. Now you may hate board exams, but they’re important because they help find new faces to put on the side of a BEST bus.
    Oh, you crack me up! hahaha

  23. This is so cool. Wish I read this when I was in school. Maybe that would have tapped some sense in to me. Oh well, too late for that now!

  24. Ok for once the comments did give heavy competition to the post…LOL!!!

  25. Just one look at one of the comments …. and we indians say we are not the touchy feely types …..

  26. brilliant as usual my friend! gold star and all !

  27. I suppose you can use all that opportunity and time to read this once and for all and know that Life has nothing to offer except a bunch of tidy courses and a bunch of friends giving you relationship advices.

  28. Classic piece! “Which branch of engineering should I take?” was the question of my life.

  29. Although you took a little more time than usual to write a new one….

  30. Work hard and you’ll enjoy later – damn I remember falling for that (twice nonetheless)

  31. Saunak Biswas

    The truth is so funny and real. I still cant believe i spent the most productive years of my life sitting on a table and trying to solve IIT JEE questions. As if I was ever gonna get in. Should ve just chucked it all and played football.

  32. Vinod S Muzumdar

    Another hard-hitting, albeit humorous commentary on the academic rat-race in our country. And a telling taunt on those ubiquitous uncles & aunts who sprint out of nowhere to offer that ‘vital’ unsolicited advice. Gosh, how they all make hash of things and in fact, compound matters for the poor student. Bravo, Ashish !

    And no, there wasn’t anything chauvinist about anything in this write-up. There’s something called wry humour and people must understand it. Awaiting more such ROTFL stuff from you, AS !!

  33. “Seriously, if you’re a dumbass, please get a formal education. This will not make you any less of a dumbass, but at least you’ll get paid to be one. ” – I loved this statement.Its so true and it has taken me so long to realise it..Great post ..made me laugh all the way ..

  34. Reblogged this on duchessofbanterbar and commented:
    A must read!

  35. You got the exam nightmare spot on! Happens to me all the time.

  36. Loved how you have played with the classic exam nightmare to the very end! 😀 Now, when are you starting those stand-up comedy act and humor writing classes?

  37. Amazing write up man….I hope the future generation reads this and realizes that “Beta 12th pass kar lo…fir tum set ho” …

    Unless you are Smriti Irani 😛

  38. *** realizes that “Beta 12th pass kar lo…fir tum set ho” …is utter BS

  39. Haven’t cleared medical entrances and my life is already ruined, according to my parents and relatives. 😀
    Relatable. On so many levels. 😀

  40. Reblogged this on The Wisdom Blogs and commented:
    Career Advice and Humour

  41. satanifiedenthu

    Reblogged this on Lucky Me ! and commented:
    well, rightly said@ 😀

  42. Humour and truth!!! 😀

  43. “”It’s like playing WWE trump cards and looking to kill with a Shawn Michaels card, except everyone else has a deck full of Andre the Giant.””.. Ahh the 90’s !!

  44. Reblogged this on Arbitrary Words From an Impermanent Mind and commented:
    This one is a Home-Run out of the park! Hilarious … Must read and LYAO! (Note: Some jokes are specific to an Indian context).
    >>Seriously, if you’re a dumbass, please get a formal education. This will not make you any less of a dumbass, but at least you’ll get paid to be one. This is why people get an MBA.<<

  45. Very sharp humor. By God Man, You have hit where it really hurts….

  46. Finally, someone’s being practical! 😀

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