Day 111: He has 4 Masters degree and a law degree

Reconnecting with friends is always fun. And, PeePee has been a variant of all sorts amongst the friends circle. What started off as mutual likes on each other’s photo blogs, graduated to comments on the blog and moved on to email exchanges. I still remember the random, unexpected, first email that PeePee sent, full of techniques on shooting a closeup of the moon. I would generally have marked it as spam a d ignored the man on my photoblog. But, I followed it to the last T and this beauty happened. Since then, our mutual acquaintance would go through the phases of the moon; the full moon and its everyday conversations, on everything under the moon, that would wane to the no moon, with some serious virtual silence. He’s been one of those rare acquaintances that I felt at ease with almost immediately and we could talk after years and still catch up like nothing changed.

We reconnected today; I messaged him because I was captivated by his dp when reviewing contacts on the old phone. The new, self-grooming, was definitely spot on. And, we quickly caught up. A successful move to the US, a shack of his own decked up to his interests, new hobbies (wood work :)), and persistent old hobbies, family that lived a few miles away and parents that visited often, and he seems to be living the classic 30-year old’s dream life. And yet, the consistent underlying thread of regret was the mismatch between the familial expectations of marriage versus that of our generation.

He has been riding the same boat of evaluations for marriage as I have, mostly driven by parents. There are staunch restrictions for prospects; should be of the same caste, sub-caste even and all other factors, including matching interests, are trumped by superstitious beliefs. No amount of convincing, discussing have changed their mindset on that. ‘My father has four Master’s degrees, even a law degree, and my mother is equally qualified too. And yet…‘, his voice trails off.

Education vs. Family

A lot of their opinions, and life choices, seem to be affected more by their immediate society than the educational qualifications. Shouldn’t education automatically help you sift out the right from the wrong, the outdated from the relevant? I’ve had this similar query when having sociological discussions with ChemProf as well. Despite being one of the most educated in the larger family, he still has such obsolete, conventional, ideas about relationships, social statuses and gender equality. And I can emphasize with PeePee: the more I talk to ChemProf, the more I realize how futile the whole effort is, and how deep rooted some of these stereotypes really are.

Riding the wall

What also caught me in the whole conversation was the sincere pain I felt in PeePee for hurting his parents. Our generation has very strong principles and has the will to live by it; but it is also aware of the barrier that rests between our generation and the previous one; especially the big barrier about ideologies. The last time I said yes to getting married, it was not because I liked the gentleman; it was purely because I was tired of hurting my parents. And yet, my conviction to my own principles didn’t allow me to see it through.

We’ve become a generation that is strong about its own interests and needs, but is equally aware of the effect of these on the previous generation. We cannot hurt outright, and yet we cannot give in completely as well. We ride the middle line, a balanced act on the tight-rope, and only time will tell if we make it through or the rope tips over.

Talk about long distances, and you now know how we Yoga in KL. Well, mommy tries to do Yoga, but I usually beat her to the mat. And the dogasanas begin.” Goose

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Day 5: Of communications, miscommunications and Bulimia

Communication

We had a productive two hours with this gentleman, independent research reviewer at the University. He was definitely able to set himself apart from the canned academia that I see in the college and was able to bring in a research vocabulary that was different from the masses too. While a lot of what he suggested was simply repackaging the same old wine, he reaffirmed my belief that a smart talker can make even a curse sound poetic.

A few things that I observed at the end of the session were:

  • Teachers, more than students, need to be taught about the basic etiquette of formal conversations. Cutting in when someone else is talking is uncool at every age. When your point has been heard and is being countered, listen! I’m sure that repeatedly stating your view point doesn’t make it the popular opinion.
  • It is always, always, good to accept your mistake the minute you realize you’ve made it. Go drink a sip of water and set things right. Almost always, the audience can know the exact moment when you realized your flaw: your eyes give you away.
  • Keep personal vendettas out of public forums. Nobody wants to hear or see you wash your dirty linen in a common learning space.
  • If you’re quoting books and authors, you better know more than just one. Going back to the same one over and over again doesn’t prove much about the depth of your knowledge: not even if that one book were the Bible.
  • A degree doesn’t define your true caliber. When I see M. Phil and Ph.D scholars attend such learning workshops in silence, with not a question asked or a point countered, I wonder if they are already all-knowing or if the degree were just a farce.
  • The smart and awesome ones are always taken first. 🙂

Miscommunications

The junior MA class is a place I do not want to be in right now. I am confident that being a Master’s class of three is better bet than a Master’s class of 12 lost in a group of 40 Bachelor’s. That’s probably a scene that I would have quit and left soon enough. Destiny set me up right and I dint have that choice to worry about.

But I worry about the current batch. So do some of them. I wanted to talk to them about it, as a group, and also fold in an informal freshers lunch into it. A and I went to our designated location at the designated time and found not one of them. We waited for 15 minutes and left feeling cheated. We resolved not to expend any more of our energies on them, for it was their battle to fight and not ours.

We walked back up to the department and a bunch of the juniors came running, exhausted, wondering why we stood them up. Turns out they waited for us at a concrete park with some pebbles, while we waited for them at the pebbles park with some concrete. Ha! Meeting postponed to Monday.

Bulimia

All that is OK, but why am I behaving like the bulimic supermodel? I love to eat it all, but puke that and half the garden out immediately so that it doesn’t show on my waist. 

No pictures today, please” Scotch. 

That’s all you get on sick day.