Pride & Prejudice

I decide to take up an MBA course after my under-graduation. Master of Business Administration – Sounds so posh and important. I’m sure all my friends would be impressed. I start dreaming about all the famous colleges I can get into. Strangely enough I do not want to end up far from home. So I decide that an institute within or near Tamilnadu will be best. I start short listing and arrive at three best institutes – two at Chennai and one at Bangalore.
I approach my dad with my choices.
“Dad, I want to go to Chennai or Bangalore to pursue my MBA. I have shortlisted three good colleges. The fee is slightly on the higher side probably but it will be totally worth it.”
My father who is busy skimming his office documents is just blank. “But why Chennai or Bangalore?”
Is this what he has got to ask? He does not even want to know what colleges I have shortlisted. I was a little put off. Nevertheless I answered his question.
“Dad, they are metro cities. They have premier institutes. I will get a good exposure. Besides I have always dreamt of being in Chennai or Bangalore.”
 “I have already selected a premier B-school providing quality education. The institute selects only on merit basis and the placement records are excellent. But the competition is tough.”
He went on to mention some of the prominent personalities who have achieved in different fields and have done the college proud.
“It is in Madurai”
For a full minute I was in shock. Madurai? The place that house temples and is featured in half a dozen Tamil films as a rural backdrop.I can already see my classmates in my mind’s eye. People who can barely speak English let alone know about English movies. I’m sure I will be the odd one out in my class with my convent education and a wealthy family background. I cannot even think of how my professors will be – Aged, bald, bespectacled with a paunch.
“Madurai” I repeat as if hearing the name for the first time. I look at my father furiously.
“Are you serious? How can I go and study in Madurai after all these years here. I want to go to Chennai. I’m not going to Madurai. I’m sorry dad, but I do not think I can survive there for two years let alone make friends.”
“You are not going anywhere fancy to while away your efforts, time and money. Education should have a good quality. MBA is not merely a degree. You should actually understand the business concepts and should be able to apply it. I might want you to support my business in the future. I want you to take the course very seriously.”
My father owns a successful textile business across India. He had started it at Coimbatore as a single small unit which today has grown into a huge network of yarn manufacturing units across India. He is incredibly proud of his business. And with the volume of business coming in, he would surely expect me to help him.
Apparently, the Europe tours, the north India learning programme and the foreign collaboration programmes do not impress my parents.
“But Dad, honestly do you think Madurai will suit me? The lifestyle, the food everything will be different from what I have been dreaming so far.”
“But why are you being judgmental? You do not know anything about the place or the people.”
“Exactly my point. I have not been acquainted with Madurai whereas in Chennai or Bangalore I have friends.”
 “You will make friends there too. Then your friend circle would have covered one more city.”
I rounded on my father. “This is not funny dad. I do not want to go there.”
Then came my father’s punch line which clearly indicates the end of the conversation. “ Fine. Atleast you can attend the interview. I have left the college brochure  on your table. Go through it. We only need to continue this conversation if you pass through their screening test.”
Whether he is trying to insult me or provoke me I’m not sure. But no amount of begging ,threatening, arguing or reasoning yields anything. My parents have made up their mind. My dad leaves me in a tricky situation. I have always been a topper in class. I believe in meticulous preparation and I never do anything half-heartedly.
Two months later..
I have cleared my interviews and end up at Madurai as my parents expected. As time passes, Madurai grows on me. The city is very simple like its people. There is a comforting home-like aura about the city. Surprisingly it is one of those few cities in which people truly care about each other. The local festivities are celebrated with great pomp and splendor. My classes and professors are excellent. It is like a new phase of my life. I note that I can be myself with my friends here. No complications, no hidden games. They make genuine efforts to keep me comfortable. I’m treated like a member of their families. I witness how the other half of the world live happily without the constant fears of judgment.
I could not have asked for a better life. In time I realize that though the metros have the sheen and over-emphasized glory, it is actually places like Madurai that keeps mankind progressing. The values of love, relationships, spirituality, celebrations, sharing and caring are carefully retained. Human bonds are valued than money and materialistic comforts. Loving and being loved gives me a new confidence and a great sense of security. I secretly know my parents made the right decision when they decided on Madurai.


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