‘What is Bharat going to do?’, Ram asked anxiously.
‘He wants to become a comic artist’, I said. ‘What ! Comics ? Why not an engineer?’, he exploded in surprise.
Bharat chipped in, ‘Because I want to write comics. If you want to become engineer, you become one’, he said and jumped off to play with his Lego pieces.
‘Oh no, you need to guide your child,Saar’, said Ram,’he wants to write comics ! How will he earn?’, he asked anxiously.
That is the basic problem. The instinct to safeguard livelihood so that once can eat one’s meal without having to starve. That is the primordial fear in any Tambrahm’s psyche. Tambrahm is an acronym for brahmins who are from the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. The fear of survival, the fear as to from where the next meal would come, has been deeply entrenched in their psyche that this class of people have perfected the art of fearing livelihood.
And that makes them perfectly selfish. Let me continue with the conversation.
‘What is the problem in earning ?’, I asked as if not knowing what he meant.
‘What Saar, you don’t know the issues that we have to face in getting good colleges?’, he said. By ‘good colleges’ he meant good engineering schools run by the Government of India. These schools are rated high in the world and a graduate from one of these schools is bound to get an US visa either to study or work in the US. Most of the technical and software sector workers of Indian origin in the US would have been from many of these schools of excellence.
I tried to feign ignorance. So I said,’ What is the problem in getting into colleges? There are many now-a-days. And I need to see what the child wants to do in life. Why thrust my opinion on him?’, I asked, for sure knowing that he would explode in explanation.
As expected he exploded.
‘Saar, have you acquired huge wealth ? Have you brought large swathes of land in Bangalore and Chennai that you can sell them to get into a college? How do you encourage your child to become a comic artist ?’. He couldn’t believe what he had heard.
He was mentioning the practice of the NRIs ( Indians that are not resident in India ) who buy land in the metro cities of India in the hope that once they decide to retire, they could sell land holdings to earn a post retirement livelihood. But he mentioned this in the context of planning a career for my kid.
‘Ram, I am not rich. But I don’t think I need to force any career option on the child. Let him choose his path. Any way, it is too early even to discuss about this with him’, I said.
‘So, Saar, please don’t allow him to choose such ridiculous jobs as being a comic artist. Make him an engineer and send him to the US. That is where we, tambrahms need to be in’, he pontificated.
That is the other problem with the tambrahms. If you are not in America, you are neither a Tam nor a Brahm – that is what they think. Therefore even during the first birth day of the child, tambrahm parents start dreaming about an American livelihood and IIT education for the child. Not knowing any of these, the child would be fast asleep in his bassinet.
I continued my talk with Ram. ‘So don’t you like R.K.Laxman’s cartoons ? Have you not enjoyed Madhan’s cartoons in Ananda Vikatan? Are they not brahmins ?’ I thought I had conquered Ram.
‘Saar, Laxman and Madhan are good, no doubt. They are brahmins, no doubt. But Ananda Vikatan and Times of India don’t have job reservation. That is why they got a job there. Suppose the Tamil Nadu government calls for a cartoonists’ position, do you think Madhan and Laxman would have got the job ?’
I had no answer.
But I continued in a different direction.
( to be continued )