"Again less marks in Maths. 180 out of 200. How do you think you are going to make the top grade Kaushik?" yelled Dad. I hate this whole exam system. Worse I hate is this enquiry after each and every exam. It’s as if I am a militant on an execution row.
"Look at me Kaushik. Your brother Kishore scored centum in 3 subjects and was the second in district. Dont you want to match him?" Match him my ass. My elder brother Kishore was bloody bookworm who knew nothing about life. All his life was spent reading subject books. He once asked me if VijayKanth and Rajnikanth were siblings. At times when my dad is out there comparing me with my brother, I feel like killing Kishore by the scruff of his neck. But then, that poor fella also got unfavorably compared to my elder cousin Ravi.
Why do we need to be compared with someone? Life is a whole lot comparison cycle. As a kid you get compared to your siblings or cousins. At work place you get compared to your peers (I heard about Appraisal from my cousin). And if you are unlucky enough at old age, your kids may bitch you comparing about the standards you provided them with the rest. I wonder now how unfavorably the wards of famous politicians, artists, sportpersons are compared with them. Aren’t we all individual entities? If we are all the same, then what’s the point?
"Don’t you want to become an engineer like your brother Kaushik?" asked Dad. There we go. The number of engineering colleges was already more than the Punjabi Dhabas and Muniyandi Vilas all over. I had heard that the tea master near our house was also an engineering student who had arrears more than the political parties in India. Why couldn’t I become a painter by enrolling in an art school? I have always been good at drawing. Hell, papa would say that if you had to tell that your son is a painter to the relatives, then the next thing they would do would be to ask to paint their house for Diwali. Here you can be either an engineer or doctor or a cricketer to be regarded respectful.
"Are you going to study or Graze cows?". Man, papa really looks angry. But hey, even this is a good idea. I can have 2 cows and milk them and sell it to the tea boy next street. Maybe I will ask Kishore to lend me some money and buy more cows. With little time I will open a Dairy of my own and import cows from New Zealand. I can even ask Asin to model for my dairy products. Who knows, she may ask me to marry her. Mom can easily be cajoled. Dad? Ahhh...who cares.
"Are you still day dreaming Kaushik?" dad had reached the boiling point.
Grandma came running "Oh Ashok. Is this the way you treat your kids? Have you ever seen you brother Ajay treat his kids as such?"
For the first time in an hour I laughed aloud.