(No, I have not read the book by the same title by Mr. Robin S. Sharma and hence this article is not a book review. But still I am using the title of his book. Does that amount to an act of plagiarism? If yes, I do not have any hesitation in giving the credit for such a nice title to you Mr. Sharma.)
Let me tell you a small fact. A fact with which most of us new age people will associate.
A simple compounder by education, my grandfather was not a very degree-d man (Education and degrees are two completely different things even though these days they are used almost interchangeably). However, back there in my village, where we still own a medicine shop, he was highly respected. He used to perform small operations at a very low cost and was available for service almost 24*7*365. Doing so, he must have saved the poor villagers quite a good amount of their time and money by saving them from running to Patna at every medical emergency, small or big.
The day he died, the whole of Mahnar Bazaar was shut down for a day and a huge crowd of around 1500 people had assembled at our home. He had lived a satisfied man and he died a satisfied man as well. And, with his death, he left a void in the society that the people who were left back in fact could actually feel.
I am sure many of you will find similar stories in your own families if you look back a generation or two. But take a look at our own generation, especially those of us who have migrated to big cities in the search of big career/money, who live lonely lives in cities bustling with millions (and hence, to fill the void in the real world, create virtual identities on platforms like Orkut, Facebook and Twitter or write blogs – sharing ideas while doing really nothing), earn quite decent enough money and live a life of luxury dining in Mac D-es or shopping-till-dropping in the hyper malls that keep opening somewhere or the other almost every day.
Let us ask ourselves a simple yet highly disturbing question. After all the education that we have got, exactly how many individuals are going to benefit from our lives or our careers? I think not many. And in most of the cases – even zero. Heck, we do not have time for our parents back home, how are we supposed to have time to do good to others? We are a generation for which success is defined simply in terms of our pay packages and nothing else.
Isn’t it weird that the more the society invests in educating an individual, the less useful he seems to become for the society itself? So, it turns out that a simple compounder of the yesteryears – or may be even today – is far more important to the society than the people who have gone to big institutions, have invested lakhs in their higher education and are earning big money for themselves. Whose fault is that? Education? Or society’s?
Coming back to the original point, since ours is a generation immersed completely into the race of blind money-making and self-gratification, isn’t it an apt question to ask – Who will cry when we die?
Family? Not sure. 30 years from now, many of us will be so cut off from our families back in our home towns, that it seems unlikely that our deaths will be bringing any real loss to them. Parents will already be long gone, and children will most probably have flown off to distant shores in search of even greater money making success.
Colleagues from our offices? Are you kidding me? Ours is a generation of job hoppers and continuous migration. By the time you become friends with your colleagues, either you have moved on or he has. Sure, a few will obviously hang on with you for life through phone or virtual platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Orkut, but can interacting on these platforms really compete with the face-to-face interactions that people in small places have over a home-made or road side hot cup of tea? Leave crying apart, colleagues will be so busy with their office work; they will probably not even have enough time to think about you. Even the place that you are working in will be filled up by some new guy even before your funeral pyre has lost its heat. The world has become a fast moving place not only in life, but in death as well, you see.
Why is that so? May be because we were so engrossed in making success out of our lives that we in fact forgot to allot some part of it to genuine everyday causes that would have connected the society better on an emotional level. What we did instead was that we shopped and shopped and shopped, we dined in great places (which often charge more for the ambience rather than the food itself), we purchased costly cars and other gadgets - and wrote blogs - and ultimately surrounded ourselves so much by these things that the real people from the real world were seldom able to peek in and say a genuine, warm hello to us.
And things to which we gave our time, cars, gadgets, shopping, dining, blogs, work, offices, money simply do not know how and why to cry. People know that, and people is what we forgot to really connect with on a more genuine and humane level.
This is a question that has been troubling me continuously for the last few months. I have completed by graduation from Pune and am employed in a well-paying job in Mumbai, am planning to pursue an MBA, but am not really interested in doing any higher education. Have been feeling terribly home-sick for the last some months which is kind of strange because I had been snatched away my right to stay at home when I was in class 4 itself and was sent to a hostel. Sometimes, I feel the urge to just let go of everything and go back to the place where my grandfather lived his whole life and start a school over there. But then, I am probably too educated to do that. Moreover, such an act of mine will be at a complete collision with the definition of success that the society has carved out for me.
In the race of making a career, I never properly stayed with my Maa or Papa and in the race of making a career there will be very few people, if any, who will cry when I die. I find that frightening.
No doubt, in spite of having comfortable SleepWell mattresses in my home, I seldom get a sound sleep.