This Friday, I witnessed a discussion that happened on gravely self-centric grounds. It is true that the inebriated atmosphere didn’t look like an appropriate platform to begin a discussion of right and wrong, but I am compelled to do that today.
I was with two close friends who talked passionately about the kind of pressure they are going through in their lives. One, call him X, earns a competitive package at one of the leading software firms in the world, owns a car and has an offer for Masters program from a top-ranked university in the States. X complained that a particular friend of his hadn’t given him a phone call even though the latter was in town. And although the two were supposedly close until recently. X didn’t care to find out if it was for some genuine reason the other didn’t call him. My other pal, Y, lived a miserable life in Chennai until sometime back. But he is now comfortably settled in Noida, is associated with a project in office at a time when (in his own words) the IT firm he works for is unabashedly firing people and has all the opportunities one requires to succeed in life. Y generalized that he is under tremendous pressure. It is true that he has some family issues and that his job pays less- but at an age of 25, I guess he is not the only one in such a situation.
I do understand that their problems are genuine but let me tell you a little about a few other people I know. There was a teenage boy in the slums of Sector 16 (where Prayas is based) who dropped out of both school and Prayas when the financial condition of his family worsened. He turned to odd daily wage jobs and gambling. And genuine efforts by the most experienced volunteers of Prayas failed to make him or his family understand the value of education. There are girls, who are not even fifteen but have to make sure that the cooking and other household chores are taken care of if they are to attend classes in Prayas- they can’t otherwise.
It is not that the pressures the Prayas kids face is more real than what X and Y face, but one should at least be grateful for what one has in life. The kids aren’t meant to face such huge pressures at such a young age and what more, they don’t have the privilege of an air-conditioned room to discuss how unfair their life is. It sometimes helps to see life from someone else’s perspective.