"The son, lover, husband, friend, father. They say you have the power, they miss the pressure. You can't talk about it. You have to land on your feet. You are a man."
An evening, after a busy day, I am lying on my bed. I don't feel like having dinner today. I am not devastated, but certainly disappointed. I unknowingly managed to blow up my Infosys job interview. With final semester about to end, I am an average Indian teenager boy, an engineering student. The Infosys rejection doesn't bother me because my girlfriend will dump me for not having a job. Nope! I never had any girlfriend. I spend last 20 years building my 2 pages resume, studied my ass of just to score 2 marks more than the neighbor's son, participated in every sports and social event so that I can know my society and its people. yet, I sit alone on my bed, lonely. And girlfriend? Huh! Who cares! I have bigger problems to deal with! I am worried about dad.
I wonder how will he console me when I say I blew the interview when he is the one who wanted it to go correctly. He is retiring in a couple of years. He never said but I know if I don't land up a job, his savings won't last very long. See how difficult it is to be a father. His son blows up interviews, daughter is yet to get married (Yes, in India it is a very big deal!), he can't say a word. I see frustration and agony in his eyes but only kindness in his words. He thinks he couldn't give us what what we deserved, and so to fulfill an additional inch of our desires he spends extra hours in his office for years. He looks a little older than he actually is and the shoes he wears are the same he has been wearing for years. I never saw him complaining about it. I thought he was satisfied with what he had until lately when I realized that he didn't complain be cause he is not allowed to. He is a man! If you don't earn enough for your family, it is your bad. You don't get to complain about your own wishes not being fulfilled. I know you are wondering I didn't say anything about mom. Well she is equally upset about the situation. She has always been very supportive and helped dad in every way she could. But when things so out of hand, she can cry out loud, show her emotions. But dad? He is a man! He needs to console his wife.
Here comes my roommate giving me a wry smile. He got the job, I didn't. I don't have hard feelings for him. After all it was a race and he won it. He earned it. He also has to think about his family, friends, his status in the society. If he wouldn't have got a job, he wouldn't be able to support his family. There is no way he was getting a bride, leave apart the wedding gifts. They would have cursed him in every social gathering, would have judged him for his weaknesses and made a good fun out of him on the dinner table. Getting this job was as important to him as it was to me. And yes, all these would happen to me too, so I will have to figure out something quick, real quick. But as of now his expressions are tearing me apart. It was yesterday that we were preparing for the interview together and were sharing some good laugh, but today things have changed. Today he has a job and I am still unemployed, he has climbed one tire above and now I can't share my feelings with him. When I was younger had had many friends, dad always questioned, how many of them will remain friends with me? It was a silly question then, but today it makes complete sense.
I can't handle his looks any more. I don't have the courage to call home. I should talk to Pallavi. Did I not mention about her? Oh no, she is not my girlfriend. As I said earlier, I don't have any. She is a very good friend, in-fact the only friend I have. But there lies this problem in the Indian society, the Indian mindset. The first time you heard her name, you immediately drew your conclusion, she must be my girlfriend. Damn! Why can't a boy and a girl be just good friends? I never understand. Neither does she. So we continue to have our friendship for 10 years now. I know her from the school. She has always cared for me much more than any other friend did. We talk lot and can share our feelings. We are physically far away, studying in different cities. But we are close at heart. She calls me whenever she has something which she can't share with others, and sometimes just to say hello. I also call her at times. We can talk for hours without any particular topic of discussion. There you go, you have again started drawing conclusions. I told you we are just friends, very good friends. These conclusions of yours stop me from calling her many of the times, and even today I am dropping my plan to call her. I am afraid if she starts thinking the way you think and stops talking to me, I will be left no one to talk to. I know I can always talk to dad and mom, but there are things you can't share with your parents.
Enough of mentally torturing myself. I am feeling hungry. I must go grab something to eat. I think I will take the bus. Oh wait, it is dark already. I can't take the bus. If, by chance, I happen to stare any lady in the bus I will be termed as an eve-teaser, rather a rapist. I can be beaten up to death. How should I convince them that every teenager travelling by the bus at at night is not a rapist and he is not necessarily going to bar. I can't sit on a ladies seat and if a woman is sitting on a general seat despite of some ladies seats being vacant, I can't tell her to go to some other seat, because she is sitting on a general seat, not a gents seat. Chivalry is taken as flirtation. I agree there are some un-social elements, some jerks, but there are many gentlemen still left. Women want equality in every field. I am not undermining their potentials and capacity. They are very much welcome to work hand in hand with men. But there are some shreds of hypocrisy in their demands. You can't expect to give a lecture of equality over dinner and then expect you boyfriend to pay for it or open the door for you or pull the chair for you. And if someone does all this, he is not necessarily hitting on he, he might be one of a few gentlemen still left. I strongly believe that in the fight for equality between men and women, gentleman is dying.
Taking a bus would surely not a good idea. I should take a short walk, being careful not to look at any woman walking on the roads, get some food and return quickly. Walking is good for health, and anyway I have not done any exercise for months now. Being a man I am expected to be physically strong. After all, a well toned body, 6-pack abs is what most girls dream about boys apart from having a stable job. No matter what I have inherited, I have to be tall to be a handsome man. We can't wear makeup, but we have to look good. Choosing clothes is being girly but try wearing something random and you will be showered with comments, suggestions and sarcasm.
Is the world so unfair or I am over-thinking because I didn't get a job. I always wanted to be a singer but that doesn't earn bread and butter so may be over-thinking for the job is a justified reason. After all being a man, you are expected to have earn as much as you can killing all your dreams so that you can have a family and raise you children either to get them married or to teach them how to kill own dreams to earn money so that they can further do so. I realize I am writing gibberish and I am very sleepy and tired. I postpone the dinner for tomorrow. I should go to bed because tomorrow is waiting for me with another interview, TCS this time. I hope tomorrow I can call home and call Pallavi to say that I am no more unemployed. After all it is not easy being a man in India.