Its been ages since I ranted about India and Indianisms... which is of course a main feature on this blog ;) So since its been long overdue, here is one thing that irritates me quite a bit. After having lived to my age, and in the US, one thing that I have realized is that life is not the same, nor does it follow a similar pattern, for most people. Each and every one of us lives differently, and makes different choices. It is often not even just about choices, it is sometimes just life that happens to us. Man proposes, God disposes.... Life turns out the way it does, and even though we have control of some parts, sometimes life takes its own twists and turns.
To go back to my point, all our lives take different paths, both by choice and happenstance. It is just downright silly to compare lives- so I did not live the typical circumscribed Indian life of finishing my education at 22, getting a job, getting married by 25 and having two kids by 30. Yes, lots of people live that life, and lots of people don't. In fact, I know any number of men and women who have not followed the above path. I have not, and I find it really irritating when my friends and acquaintances feel it is within their purview to comment on my life choices/ circumstances. Especially my education!!
Yes, that is my problem. Just because I have studied a LOT, people think its weird. They think it is perfectly all right to say offensive things to me about my education. A friend of mine recently contacted my via Linkedin after SEVEN years, and his message- Kitna padhogi? Ab to padhai bas karo!
So this guy has nothing else to say to me after SEVEN years? Not even a courtesy greeting to preface his offensive remarks! I did not even know how to react. This is something that has happened to me often, both by friends and relatives. One of my friends - the happy mother of two kids who followed the prescribed path- was visiting the US recently. We met after a gap of eight years. And again, this was her first comment... kitna padhegi?
I have heard a lot of similar stuff from my relatives, most of whom have commented on my education at some time or the other. I just don't know why people have such problems. Luckily for me, I was funded for most of my higher education, both in India and the US. I could obviously not have afforded to study so much without the funding I got.
So I get money/scholarships to study, I spend my own life doing so, and I do my own work. And yet, these people pop up after ages, and comment on my life choices. I know people who have studied way more than me. I know people with two PhD's, forget about my mere two Masters. I know people who go back to school for the sheer joy of it. I know people who go to school in their 50's. And I am filled with admiration for them. For having chosen to live a little bit differently.
Is it because Indians think it is perfectly all right to meet after ten years and yet be familiar enough to comment on other people's life and life choices? I wish I could say something to shut such people up without being rude. Any suggestions?