Recently I watched the video ‘You know you are Nepali when’ by MrKC on YouTube. The video delivered self deprecating humour and I was able to identify things we do as Nepali people such as ‘dhokeko’ our books when we step on them and eating dal-bhat on a regular basis . What did strike me though were the questions that we ask each other, such as where is your house in Nepal? How old are you? How many A levels? What grades did you get for your GCSE’s. Although this may not be characteristic of the young but it certainly is a trait of the older generations. You go to a Nepali party and immediately you are assessed from the tip of your straightened hair to the bottom of your toe including all your academic achievements/ misdemeanours, your vocation in life and so on. I wonder at this obsession the older generation have for the need to compare their children’s grades and achievements to another child’s.
I feel it adds unnecessary pressure to children to do well academically. Although this may not be a bad thing as all individuals should strive to achieve their potential, there is so much else out there in this world apart from becoming a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. Agreed professional jobs could appear to be safe financially but following one’s own heart’s desire whether it be in unconventional professions such as music or fashion or travelling the world can be equally rewarding. After all we live only once, let’s live it to the fullest.
But the caveat is that parents usually have made enormous sacrifices to educate their children. Whether it be extra tuition fees, goodies that were bought as incentives to reward us for good results or even providing us with basics like food, shelter and clothing. I feel like most Nepali parents go the extra mile to keep their children happy. So the dilemma for the child could be should I follow and do something that I enjoy? (For me it was fashion designing) or should I follow a profession that my parent’s revere (medicine)? In the end I chose a third way, a profession that I would enjoy but a profession that my parents also approved of. I was lucky there but choosing a career for yourself sometimes feels like choosing a career for your parents too.
No matter how much the modernity of the 21st century touches us with emancipation, independence , cultural diversity or wealth, at heart most of us remain the simple Nepali chora/chori wanting our parents to be happy and proud of us as we are of them.
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