Extrapolate

Under society’s stern stare, I am the same person I have been for years. I live in the same house with the same disgruntled parents, I drive the same bike, pursue the same profession, and my look hasn’t changed much over the years.

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Society really isn’t complicated at all. It is set in its simple ways. Fashion trends may come and go, but it takes generations to have an impact on the thinking of the collective, especially the Indian minds.

If you ace a professional qualification, you’re right on the track. You’re in a relationship with someone from a good family, of your own caste, religion, profession, etc and they let you act as you please. You have a cultural hobby, such as singing or classical dance (in addition to the well-accepted profession that earns you good money), it means you’ll easily find favor with the prospective in-laws.

If there’s one thing society has perfected over the years, it is extrapolation.

extrapolate

ɪkˈstrapəleɪt,ɛk-/

Verb

  1. Extend the application of (a method or conclusion) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable. “The results cannot be extrapolated to other patient groups”
  2. Estimate or conclude (something) by extrapolating. “The figures were extrapolated from past trends”
  3. Extend (a graph, curve, or range of values) by inferring unknown values from trends in the known data. “The low-temperature results can be extrapolated to room temperature”

Society’s definition has a somewhat different application. They measure up the past behavior of the kid, and extrapolate it to decide his / her future.

“The future happiness of one person can be extrapolated from past 10,000 years of Indian civilization.”

First thing they ensure, of course is that the kid hasn’t run away from home in his teenage years. Then they make sure he hasn’t dropped out of school / college to start off some business. Disinterest in academics and entrepreneurial spirit are big crosses on their list. Society does not bother with these types; they are outcasts. And in case the outcast makes it big on bright business ideas, then one by one, they come crawling back, eating up their words, and licking clean the crumbs off their plate. But that’s another story.

The next thing you need to do is ensure you’re not (publicly) a drunkard / smoker / stoner, and also do not possess any knowledge / special interest in sexual matters other than what is taught in school sex education. Of course, there are ways and means to lead such lives in secret, and as long as one knows what you do, you have a place in society.

If you haven’t fallen off the grid by now, then this is what will, or must have happened to you. This is your future, as the graph must, and will, extend to:

  • An accepted level of education

They really prefer it if you are an engineer, doctor, CA, lawyer. Such degrees ensure step 2. If not, a graduation level education is a bare minimum. That ensures a paying job at the least.

  • A stable earning job

Here it’s better if the company you work for is known among social circles. Better yet if the company is located in some IT park and you have a company cab / bus picking you up right near your doorstop. Bonus points if your company gives you a laptop / car for your personal use!

An MS degree from the US is the new rage. Studying in the US, and then staying back to pay off the loan means stability, independence, respect, and a good match for marriage.

Once things are well established on the career front, the focus turns more personal. Skip the next step if you are in a relationship that’s accepted by the folks (Instead of accepted, read: date fixed for marriage)

  • Searching for a prospective bride / groom

This is probably the most complicated aspect of Indian society. They start the process early, so as to give a couple of years’ margin to find just the right person you can spend your entire life with. It usually means you register yourself on some matrimonial service, and even fill out a form specifying the kind of partner you are looking for.

Believe me; they have specifications for height, weight, and color. I’m not lying, I’ve seen it. The whole process is comparable to a commercial market … imagine a showroom for cars. You specify speed, color, model, make, price, average, fuel, dealers, discounts… Get it?

I can go on and on… but I’ll reserve this topic for another day.

  • Engagement

A formal engagement is really an invitation for people to comment on how good the young couple looks together. It’s also an announcement to the world that the two previously-eligible bachelors are no longer in the market.

  • Marriage

The excitement, the extravagance, the costs, the reception, the drama, the tears…

And thus begins the married life, which, for the girl is a new life in a different set of closed walls, with a different narrow society of in-laws.

If you’ve done it right until now, a big whoops. It’s not easy till here, and it’s not getting any easier.

  • Kids!

That’s right, what’s coming up, are kids. Right after you manage to fulfill basic expectations like own house, own car.

And then, your life is an upside down tangle of adhering to society’s expectations, and once you do that, soon you’re on the other side. In a few short years of watching your kids grow up, you begin to heap your own understanding of society’s expectations on them, and the cycle continues…

Simple, isn’t it?

Talk to me. If you have managed to break out of society’s barriers, or wish to, let me know. I’m sure it can be done.

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14 thoughts on “Extrapolate”

  1. This was a winding read… So while you have managed to encapsulate the typical cycle of some portions of the society follow, I am not sure WHAT you mean by breaking the barriers… Elaborate on that? Or what barriers you have broken yourself or wish to.
    In my limited experience as an independent “woman”, it has boiled down to the choices I have made – and more importantly the means I chose to exercise them with. Society is more rigid in our conceptions than reality.

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    1. It all does boil down to choices, no doubt. But why should society be rigid at all? Whether in conceptions or in reality… and especially in conceptions.
      Society is no barrier for me any more. Those walls have been broken down. Society has set me free.
      I want people to break those barriers. The ones which narrow people’s thinking, which restricts people from thinking there’s also a choice to not marry, to not take up a particular job, to not have kids if that is not what gives them happiness.
      Perhaps you and me are lucky enough to have found a way to breathe… but I know many who are bound in a cage without even realising or knowing it’s society that has them trapped. I wish this thinking could change, that society itself could change its direction of thought.
      I think my comment made another blog post in itself. Maybe in a few years you’ll see what I mean about breaking the barriers… Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

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      1. Ah! This deserves a conversation over coffee and NOT blog comments… Reminds me of something I wrote earlier – I’ll dig and put it up.
        And definitely, barriers ARE there – orthodox mindset is invisibly prominent. Your words make sense at a high level and were exactly what I said at 18, but when you dig deeper into life, it still is WHAT barriers and how personally have you dealt with it. THAT deserves a post in itself I think 🙂 Will wait for that.
        Sorry for another long reply… This topic is touchy and VERY close to my heart.

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    2. I could not resist to reply to your comment.. breaking the barrier I think ure not understanding because you don think or din think anythin out of the box rather than doin somethin which only society allows you.. I don know you but your this thought or anybody’s thoughts like this I can’t bear..

      We only have made rules for ourselves, but think about it just once.. WHY?? To make our lives systematic?? Wat?? If people don’t even stop for the bloody red signals then eat rules are you talk in about of the society that you wan to follow and make your life miserable..

      Food for thought – Who think they can change the world by being unusual and extremely uncommon and imagining the world and people who never even have imagined as an example i think right now i can think of you.. are the ones who actually do..

      World could be far and much more better than u live in now. Think about it and then talk about following the stupid Morales of the stupid society.

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      1. It’s a cyclical argument. Society isn’t perfect. But letting go of it is by no means a solution. I believe in getting dirty and working in the box of the society to achieve my liberation – because in that process, I am not doing it just for myself but touching upon at least a few other lives who may muster the courage to break a few norms without making it a rebellion. I REFUSE to give up on society – however stupid and frustrating it gets at times. It won’t break me. Maybe I cannot completely step out of the box, but I am painting it a royal purple and have built a few windows to let the fresh air in. All in a good time.

        It calls for a much deeper discussion on anthropology which I will be happy to have with Madhura and you in person – same city! (Going by a post of yours, you are from the band. Loved the song dude!)

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      2. If you open the Windows you’ll only see and enjoy what’s happening outside when u can be a part of it if you open the doors and be a part of it.
        And thank you btw.. ☺

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    3. If you think people of India thinks everything rightly and they have far advanced or modern or equal to modern thinking then ask yourself which products of India or Indian people are selling worldwide and are trending and leading all the industries?? Can u think of any?? There might be few but talkin about trending.. “trending” e.g.. facebook, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Apple.
      Let me tell you why’s that.. that’s because Indian thinkin has a limiter put by the society that you think is going right on the productivity of the generations that their highest aim is to work in Facebook and Google, Apple, Microsoft by first studying in IITs. I don have to tell you who and how he invented facebook or even Apple and Microsoft.

      Indian people only think about money (because of the things she’ve mentioned in the blog as well) and not about the product and it’s productivity and state of the art production. That’s where the barrier of the stupid society kicks in as a limiter (money matters f**k the production go to school college become an engineer work and earn money and die, just like that) that’s where people need to change their thinking.. No matter how hard the government works to make this country better and developed.. it won’t be until people don’t change their thinking. Be unusual, be uncommon, be hungry and stay foolish but never settle.

      Peace.

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  2. Very well summed up! Does the well earning job cover accumulated riches? I think that is important as well. As long as you are well off, you don’t need to give a damn about the society and there is nothing much society can do. 🙂

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  3. I don’t choose to delve into the depths of this entire argument, but want to just leave this tiny lurking thought here .. “Be unconventional” , “be uncommon” etc.. Are these the methods of breaking barriers ? If the answer here is in the affirmative, then I’m sorry but it’s just another parameter, another definition, which is not wild or uncommon in itself !

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