Thursday, April 24, 2008


'When your son grows up, you'll see--he'll put you both in your right places.'

I was about to flare up but on hindsight, I think, it was good I didn't respond. Or maybe I should've said 'Thank you'. What she said was a wonderful compliment!

An obedient child is what most parents would desire. They'd like their sons/daughters to go to a good school/college, get good grades, find a well paying job, get married and settle down, have kids...... Or maybe not, not most of them. Some crazy nuts like me would rather, our children grow up as rebels, as unruly kids who give nothing but trouble to their parents. Not in a strictly negative sense though.

A parent belongs to the old world order. When she gives birth to a child, she's also giving birth to a new possibility, a new world. Every generation is an improvement over the previous one, every son/daughter is one step ahead of his parents in an evolutionary sense. The generation gap is bound to exist between all parents and kids of every age--the parent of every era looks back wistfully and says,'In our days.....', and decades later, when the kid becomes a parent, he too would say the same to his boys. An obedient son who's dutiful, follows his parents words and lives as they want him to could be what most parents wish for, but as a human being, he's just another cog in the wheel, another speck in a mass of ordinary souls who go through the motions of life. For my money, he's a failed ambition.

A rebellious son thinks for himself and decides the course of his life. He respects his parents' wishes but also has the utmost regard for his own dreams. Given a choice between following a path which his parents/society approve or setting out on a individual journey, he'd happily choose the latter. He is not afraid of unpopularity, nor is he worried about the opinions or validations of those around him. Because he knows well that most things of value will be feared and despised by the majority, who'd always want the status quo to continue. For them, a non-confirmist is an immediate thorn in the flesh, though years later, they might applaud and covet the success of the rebel.

I have friends who've followed the beaten path and also a few who've dared to pursue their own calling. A few who initially confirmed to the norms of the society, gathered muster later and took a leap into their destinies. They may not accumulate riches, comforts or a life of ease, but I believe, these are the souls through whom evolution takes a step forward. They may not accomplish great feats; some may do nothing more than reject a long held irrational belief. Some may simply refuse to run the rat race and instead decide to find meaningful work they care for. In the never ending humdrum of life, a few may choose to sit for a while and ponder over the questions, 'Who am I?' 'What is the purpose of my life?' & 'Am I living that purpose?' The seed of rebellion is ingrained in everyone of us; those who choose to recognise it, nurture it and allow it to grow into a mighty tree, irrespective of the murmur of disapproval from the surrounding wasteland---these are the ones who've fulfilled their destinies.

The rest of us are all on this journey---from confirmity to rebellion, from following our heads to listening to our hearts. Whether we choose to stay in the comfort of our self-made prisons or decide to fly out into the open sky, is left to every individual's choice. This choice is not an one-time affair, it needs to be done every moment, at every given opportunity. Each moment decides whether you're a rebel or a conformist.

A rebel discovers abundant joy, even in the absence of the comforts that a conformist craves for. And every conformist is a rebel in the making, whether he knows it or not.


  1. As a father of two 30-something sons, I truly appreciate this post, Vishwa.

  2. Loved this post. I have a teenaged daughter, who has her own ideas of what she should do with her life. It would make life easier for me if she listened to me (!), but I know she will grow in strength if she listens to herself! I have to constantly remind myself to back off and let her be!