The Mechanics Of Preference

I’ve been faced with a lot of decisions in my life – I’d call it my fair share, just like everybody else’s. I’ve observed that it all comes down to two important things, the first one being that this world is binary. Everything is either a yes or a no. You either pick one, or, if not, the other. The second thing is that what ever that decisions may be, we’ve to learn to stick to it, no matter what. Only then can we worry about priorities and what not. Along those lines, of late, I’ve been forced to choose between friends and family. Now, I’ve met two kinds of people in my life. The first kind are the people who specialise in living – it is the one thing they do best, and they live it to perfection. They make those decisions effortlessly which shape their lives and deliver, unto themselves, those things they need most. Such people are few. The second kind are those who grapple with their lives, trying to squeeze out every bit of juice they think it has to offer. It doesn’t matter whether it possesses that juice or not – it only matters as what we need and what we can get. And we don’t give up. And by saying ‘we’, I include myself. I believe that the living being and its innately present life itself are two separate entities. If I am living, I can only be happy as long as I am doing by my own rules. I was contented with such a thought until I encountered a set of decisions that had me prioritising about family and friends.

For some people, family always comes first. They are the happy people, the people of the first kind. They live with what they have, and it doesn’t matter what kind of opportunities they are presented with. All that they will ever come to require is the support of their family, and, ironically, it is the one thing they will always have. I’m not like that. But, for that matter, I wouldn’t say I would prioritise friends over family either. When it comes to me, I’d like to sit down and think; I’d like to take my own time and decide what would ultimately be good for me. Being brought up in a conservative family in south India, “good for me” is a very daunting task, something that requires vehemence, passion and boldness. I am ready to defy my family if it comes to that when I’m particular decision, but my family members make it seem as though I’m making a wrong move. Why is that? I believe that my future belongs only to me, not even to what some might call my fate. No, it belongs to me and me only. The unrelenting control that my parents seem to have over me sometimes constrics and makes it impossible for me to be me. Is that wrong? I’m seriously asking a question here because no one else around me seems to be faced with such dilemmas. The last thing I want to do is to defy my family, my one undying source of support (if at all?) when I shouldn’t be doing it, but I don’t even know as to whether I am right or wrong.

I’ve heard and understood that in the society of the West, children, rather adolescents, are free to make their own decisions, and if they make mistakes, they learn from them. But here, I’ve noticed, in India, children are brought up in an environment wherein they forced to learn from the mistakes of the adults around them, perhaps even from their pasts. I, for one, have always believed that learning from your own mistakes is the best way to learn anything. So what would it be for you:

  • Would you live and be brought up in a world that has you learning from the mistakes of others? Where every step you take is founded on the basis of what you managed to retain when you heard of the stories that your parents forged from their minds for you, only hoping all the time that you don’t make any of the mistakes they did?
  • Or would you live and be brought up in a world that let you go into the wild just so you learned from your own mistakes?

I’d rather be brought up along the second option, but I don’t think it is my decision to make. It makes so many things easier, such as providing for a good foundation for your life. You begin to build a personality for yourself earlier on, and don’t have to live the way the others around you do. What ever decision it is that you need to make, you will always know that you will have only have you for support, and you will also be contented because it as a you that you can trust at all times. 

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