So this morning, I am sitting at the dining table, sipping chai from my favorite yellow cup, half-asleep, dreading work, when my phone rings. It was Dad. This was the conversation-
Dad: “Shrijee! Did you read the newspaper today?”
Me: “No. I get my news online at work.”
Dad: “You know that Nadella guy… the CEO of Microsoft?”
Dad: “Do you know his salary?”
Me: “Erm. No?”
Dad: “It’s 100 crores.”
Me (almost dropping my cup, eyes wide open): “WHAT?”
Dad (laughing like a mad man): “Nice na?!”
Me: “That’s like the net worth of a small company!”
Me: “Par sala itne paise ka karega kya?“
When Bill Gates announced Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella as the new CEO of Microsoft, all of India felt emotions ranging from joy and pride to jealousy and “Look at him! You also have to be like him!” (the latter being felt by our dear Indian parents, of course). I am pretty sure the 100-crore figure caused at least a few thousand (read: lac) parents to say “You have to work hard and crack the JEE!” or “If only you had worked hard and cracked the JEE!”. My own parents are guilty of the latter.
|Incidentally, I couldn’t believe the salary amount. So I checked, and guess what. It IS a fucking 108 crores a year!|
This is all well and good, but the catch is that Satya Nadella never went to an IIT. Yes, that’s right. He got his BE in Electronics and Telecommunications from the Manipal Insititute of Technology, and later did an MS in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. What’s that? So a person who did NOT have a degree from one of the IITs (and did not even have an undergrad degree in Computer Science, for that matter) became the CEO of the world’s biggest software company? Yup. Suck on that, crazy-competitive Indian education system and overly ambitious, pushy parents.
Dad really pissed me off this morning by saying “If only you had worked a little harder in 11th… blah blah blah”. As if the only way to succeed in life is by getting an admission into the IIT. Granted, it’ll remain one of my biggest regrets- not because an IIT-education guarantees (or almost guarantees) a ticket to ‘the good life’ (a seven-figure starting salary), but because I missed out on the whole “IIT-experience”. Okay, I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I have two very good friends who’ve passed out from there, and from what they’ve told me and/or put up oh-so-modestly on their Facebook timelines, their four years of college seemed pretty damning good to me.
I don’t think my blog is read by any adults (read: people with teenage kids), I think it’s mostly 20-somethings (read: my bored college friends who are nice enough to humour my little blogging habit), but if you’re reading this, and you’re a parent with a kid in 8th/9th/10th std, please, please don’t bully him into studying for the JEE. Let him decide. IITs are not the only way to succeed in life. And how do you even measure success? My mum is 50 years old, works in a bank and earns a modest salary of 45k per month. And she’s happy. Sure, the 100-crore sum made her eyeballs pop out for a second, but she wouldn’t trade her quiet life with one loving husband and one sweet (and a little cranky) mother-in-law for it. So the question is, how do you measure success? Is it by the number of loved ones around you or by the number of crores saved up in your bank account?
Like I said, sala itne paise ka karega kya?