The price of success

Around a month back, newspapers carried the sad news of a young man at the brink of his career who was an addition to the young people who have it all- studied at the most reputed institutes, the Ivy League tag, interned at one of the top companies and clinched that dream job which everyone aspires for. I am sure his parents chest swelled with pride whenever they spoke of their beloved son. This is the epitome of academic and professional success , isn't it? He had been toiling hard burning the midnight oil all these years - it was for this day. To secure this coveted job in one of the top MNC's and that too beyond the shores of his motherland. - he had conquered it all . Hadn't he?
Then why did he succumb and why such a tragic end to a life which had just begun. A bud which had just begun to bloom - before the petals could emerge, before it could bask in the glory- why was life sniffed out so brutally? A tragic end to a life so young and promising.
The saddest part is- one would imagine now is the time he can has secured that dream job and can enjoy the fruits of the sweat and toil he put in all these years- but is that the truth? If he was really enjoying them, what prompted him to take this step? There are contentions that it is homicide, the truth might emerge someday but for his parents, I think little matters now. His father has written a heartfelt letter which is an eye opener for parents to stop!
Apply brakes! Before it's too late!
Which Forbes ranking company you work for?
How much do you draw?
Which car do you drive?
All these hold little or no meaning if you are not even around to enjoy them. The average Indian dream - every parents aspires for their kids to be brilliant at academics, get a degree from IIT/IIM and if coupled with a post graduation from Ivy League , then sky is the limit baby!
 I was shocked to read in Sunday times that the Chinese who are equally or probably more aggressive are indulging in a practise of taking their kids for weekend outings to places inhibited by the rich and famous, the intention being giving a taste of the high life to kids and motivating them that -"look if you want to enjoy this kind of luxurious life, you have to toil hard, it's a long and difficult journey, the terrain ain't smooth. Brace yourself up."
 One of my close friends also told me that there is immense pressure on kids which starts right from the time you are a toddler- before they even step into kindergarten the tiny tots are expected to know a minimum of 3 languages - English , Mandarin which is the official Chinese language and Cantonese - their mother tongue which they usually converse in. And mind you -not just comprehending them, a high degree of proficiency is expected. I was appalled. The kind of pressure we exert on our kids is nothing new but look at the age at which it has started. I won't be surprised if the next level of expectation is as soon as the baby is out of the womb, he is expected to perform tasks like a pro - reminds me of the MTS ad which we all laughed at and loved but looking at the way things are shaping up, it doesn't seem a distant reality.
Many of us are under the illusion that though we motivate and at times exert pressure on our kids to excel, it is for their good. Unless they secure good marks, how will they make it to a good college and without that the chances of securing a well paying job are remote. We cannot undermine the importance of money in today's world and to lead a comfortable lifestyle and give one to your family,we need it. Who wouldn't want to own an I phone 6, vacation in Paris, buy the best of clothes and dine at their favourite restaurant. A weekend movie itself at PVR/Inox coupled with a caramel popcorn and coke costs nothing short of 2k for a family of 4. To blow up 2k for a few hours of entertainment without feeling the pinch, you need to be seeing a good sum being credited to your account every month.
I do not deny this- but thinking that life would get easier once we bag that coveted job and now it's all about splurging money is a false notion- in fact the rat race is even much more intense and uglier here. For its just not about your academics, there is a lot more to it here. As you climb up the corporate ladder you realise it just gets more stressful , the bar is forever rising and when you feel you just got there, you realise it was just a mirage. Life ain't easy in the big bad world - makes me wonder why did put so much stress on our kids then?
The things we enjoy as kids- dancing in the rain, playing for hours together, that innocent laugh , sleeping without a worry in the world ,eating till our stomachs can take it no more - how much of this can we adults do and indulge in it it with the same level of joy like a child. It's ironic that we have all that money can buy but as we watch that ragged labourers child at the construction site, he throws his head up and laughs out loud, we wonder where has our laugh gone? When was the last time we laughed out so loud without a worry about anything in the world?
Let's not strangle this innocence, it comes but once in life. I do not deny the importance of education and the vital role we need to play as parents in showing our children the right path, but overdoing it at the cost of the child foregoing this beautiful phase which would never ever return - is it worth the success ? Is something we should ask ourselves , would we even call it success for that matter- makes me ponder.
"Ma let me play sometime more, let me splash some muddy water around, make paper boats and sail them in the puddle, let me jump, run, skip, beneath the pines and lush green fields , gobble food to my hearts content, laugh a little more with the friend next door. Studies can wait Ma, the guitar class can- but not my childhood Ma - there it goes fleeing off-  the wheels are turning-! Let me not grow up and wonder "where did those days go Ma- did I live them , get me back my childhood Ma" 


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