YOUNG MINDS 04
Remember the game that little children so thoroughly enjoy where they have to mimic various actions upon instruction? Like Simon says, “Bray like a donkey”, or Simon says, “Jump up and stay there!” In order to win the game the players have to at least attempt the instructed action or else, a clown’s nose is stuck on them and they are sent to watch from the sidelines. As we grow older, the metaphorical Simon is in the form of our older siblings and numerous classmates and friends; and of course our culture of consumerism and media infusion into every aspect of our social life.
A lot of commands that we will have to “perform” so as to fit in and be accepted by everyone may be placed on us by our peers and this contributes to what is known as “peer pressure”. Like all wise people know, being young isn’t easy! Our childhoods and adolescence are a lot more complex than the ones our parents and grandparents may have led. Surely Paati* did not have the headache of scouring the mall the day before Diwali for the perfect bluish-green heels with turquoise overtones, all for watching a Diwali release with her super fashionable friends! We, on the other hand, have to deal with the impossible task of scoring great grades while at the same time making it seem like it was no effort in front of our friends. Surely there is someone in your gang who says “Hey I didn’t study for the test at all man! I am definitely flunking”, and ends up with an ‘A+’.
Then there are some of us who wilfully refuse to have anything to do with our homework assignments and exams, telling anyone who would listen that we are beyond mundane academic pursuits and that we are meant for bigger things. Definitely, nothing wrong there. We are meant for bigger and better things. Now what could that be? It could be a fabulously exciting career that doesn’t require big grades but only a keen and creative mind. Maybe one day you will be paid to test videogames and have fun!
But the truly ‘big’ event that we are waiting to happen to us can be something a lot less tangible. It is your ability to stand up to pressures from others and resist them by having a strong understanding of yourself, the kind of person you truly are and by having a circle of close friends and family who you respect and trust enough to confide in. It is important to always understand that no can make you do things that you do not want, particularly in terms of trying out cigarettes, alcohol or even bullying fellow classmates. You always have the power to decide upon the right choices by saying ‘Enough is enough!” to yourself for trying so hard to please others and not yourself; by being mature and saying “No” to a group of friends incessantly trying to get you to smoke; by building sufficient courage to say “Yes! Why not?” to a bunch of friends who suggest learning something unfamiliar and new; and by exercising your willingness to push your talents to its absolute limit and have fun doing it.
The “big” thing is your ability to be a trend-setter. Imagine being that someone who makes being a “Nerd” a becoming thing to do and non-smoking the hottest, new-age attitude!
SANGEETHA MADHU & JYOTHI RAVICHANDRAN,
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS- SCHOOL EDITION