Life is like a one-way street where you can’t take any u-turns, or like a pencil without an eraser. Every decision you make and every path you take, profoundly affects not only your future, but also the lives of the ones around you. Most of the times, we end up making quick decisions that almost always bring out a negative side of us, causing regret and great amount of stress. Sometimes, we make wrong decisions because of our dependency for decision-making on people who fail to understand our actual situation, for example, our life’s most crucial decisions mostly rely upon our parents’ wishes.
But mom, I don't think I'm ready for marriage yet. (Photo credit: Arvind Balaraman)
There’s no point in living a life in which you do not make your own decisions. Letting others decide things for us is a very unhealthy exercise. And in a country like Pakistan (or any other Asian country for that matter), deciding something for your career without consulting the elders is considered a sin, even when the elders mostly end up ruining our lives because they wanted us to be doctors, engineers or architects.
“But dad, I’ll do better if I go for accounting.”
“Oh, you little! You know nothing about these things. You must go for engineering if you want a good career.”
And that’s when we lose ourselves. Our purpose to live a life truly based on our own choices immediately goes to waste when we choose a path that is not ours; a path we never pondered upon. That’s when we live a life where one would kill for a chance to turn back time and make the right decisions.
“Are you applying to AMC?”
“No, my mom won’t allow me to go so far away just for education. My best bet is Karachi.”
You know you are in trouble when your parents put a limit over your career choices. Pakistani moms often have this insecurity that if they send their children too far for education, they will end up getting into drugs and alcohol, or get kidnapped for ransom. Actually, most Pakistani moms can’t help their negative assumptions. Sometimes, they also have superstitions.
“My brother took dentistry and he died shortly after. I won’t let my child get into dentistry too.”
This is what makes me sick about Asian parents. I’m fortunate enough to have parents who don’t take decisions that are mine to make.
Apart from typical Asian parents, another drawback of our society is that we think mullahs are some kind of heavenly creatures who can never be wrong. For us, a mullah is above law and order, and every word he utters becomes a golden word for us. “Because Maulvi Sahab said so” is becoming a widely used answer to all the religious (and sometimes even non-religious) arguments. I don’t mean to spread hate, but these are the same mullahs whom mosques are powered by stolen electricity. Country’s law doesn’t mean anything to them; the only law that they care about is their modified form of Islam. Many of us consult mullahs when we are in trouble, because we think they can give us the right guidance.
Maulvi Sahab told me that viagra is a shortcut to hell, so I rather grew a beard. Sexy, ain't it?
What I want to point out here, is that we should learn to make decisions by ourselves, not base them over others’ wishes. The day you start thinking by yourself instead of asking others to think for you, you realize the real capability of a human brain. And even if you make wrong decisions, you won’t have anyone to blame, and eventually, you’ll learn to focus on your needs, instead of your wants. Take advices from everyone, but don’t let them overcome you. Being dependent on others earns you nothing but regret. You were born to be independent, and you are living this life to make this independence survive, for as long as you can.