So three months back, one of the biggest schools of Gurgaon – Lotus Valley International School hires me as their Music Teacher, and then calls me 3 days before my joining to tell me that my employment has been indefinitely put on hold. According to the Principal of the school, if an employee can send a mail at the last moment to inform that he can’t join, why can’t the employer? Sounds fair enough! And then a week later I get myself an interview at probably the biggest school chain of NCR – Pathways International School for the post of Sound Engineer. There were three other candidates. One of them, probably the youngest among all of us, had studied Audio Engineering from SAE Singapore and has a studio of his own. The second guy graduated in the same field from SAE Mumbai, and has worked with some really big names in Bollywood (YRF and The Bhatts) for over six years. The third guy had an experience of ten years in music industry, and has worked for many live events of artists like Jagjit Singh for live recording and CD production. I was the fourth guy, who has just made a couple of jingles and songs for some local brands, TV commercials, and corporate companies, and has absolutely no professional education in the concerned area. Don’t look forward to a miracle: it’s not a Marvel movie. The Singapore guy got the job.
It was yesterday, after the interview, that some of my misconceptions faded away. I always thought I didn’t need a degree to prove my aptitude for Music. But apparently no employment, permanent or freelance, has a parameter to judge aptitude. And most of all, a two year course adds a lot of knowledge. I couldn’t even participate in the discussions the other candidates were having about a lot of new software, technology, compressors, etc. I hadn’t even heard the name of most of the plug-ins they were discussing. The interviewers had an expression of “What the fuck do you think is happening here, a kids’ theatre?” When I told my Mom about this, she said: “It’s not your fault that you graduated as an engineer not a musician. You’re 26 now, it’s time you focus on more important things like marriage, home and family. Soch lena kismet me nahi tha!” So luck is to be blamed for my fate, huh! No, this is not acceptable.
Now looking back at my life, I see a one year-old kid who cannot speak a word, but who stops crying the minute he hears the Doordrshan Samachar jingle. No amount of comforting can get him to sleep, except the sound of the tape recorder playing the Rudaali soundtrack. The kid grows up, poor in academics, with an allergy towards Maths, gets a small keyboard from his dad when he passes his high school with distinction (for the first time in his life). He then spends all day and all night playing and composing new tunes on his four octave Yamaha keyboard, in an era when internet was a luxury. Should I blame the parents who ignored the relationship that that young kid had with Music, or the kid who never realized what his soul truly wanted? His school only had classrooms and a volleyball court, no room for any other activity. And for the first time ever, when he participated in a singing competition (organised for the very first time) in his school, he was rejected in the audition because he sang the chorus only twice, while in the actual song, it’s repeated thrice. Should I blame the school for the exposure and development it offered to that kid, or the kid for not knowing what all he was missing out? Commerce was frowned upon, and Arts was looked at with disgust in the small world he lived in. Should I blame the system that never game him a choice, but instead gave him a rule: “Science for 60% and above, Commerce for 45-60 percent and Arts for below 45%”, or the kid for never putting a question mark against the rule? When he entered Intermediate, all his relatives, friends and neighbours started asking him: “Beta 12th hai, IIT kab de rahe ho?” Should I blame all those people for not asking: “Beta kya karna hai aage life me?” or the boy for not realizing that on his own? During college, when that boy actually got some exposure, he became a part of a band and started participating in battle of bands. Should I blame college politics for never giving him a chance to get on stage, or the boy, who should have prioritized learning music professionally over participating in a stupid competition? Towards the end of his college life, he made some songs that did earn him recognition inside college. For the first time, people witnessed his existence. But he ended up taking the government job he was offered during campus placements. Should I blame his job for not offering him a balance, or the boy who was stupid enough to believe he’d be happy doing a desk job from 9 to 5 and then music after? Should I blame God for not sending me to a Metro city for my bringing up so that I could have had the right exposure at the right time? Should I blame people for voting “Chaar botal vodka” the top song for months?
The blame game is the only game that has no end. All that went wrong can possibly be undone, or at least be tried to, in lesser time as compared to blaming and questioning people and events responsible for the wrong. The whole universe plays a role in deciding one man’s fate. Yes, things go wrong, and life takes unwanted turns. But life is not a corporate meeting where all you have to lay focus on is to save yourself from any blame. And so giving up is not an option. Kismet is the series of challenges given to you in your life, which may be different for different people, but their result – Life, as we call it, is always a reflection of our choices, not chances.
Featured image credit: http://www.newindianexpress.com/education/student/Lets-Not-Play-the-Blame-Game/2015/02/18/article2673425.ece