Having spent the past few years in India, I made a discovery! I’d call it quite a phenomenon, but I’m just a 20 something year old engineering student from Kerala, what do I know? I named it the Indian Black Sheep Phenomenon which goes something like this: Every Indian Family Has a Black Sheep tagged in their family portrait. Sometimes from every generation! Just think about it. We all have that one person in our family we call The Black Sheep! No family misses out on this phenomenon. It’s that one person who speaks/does/acts the unacceptable, sets their own rules for life or rather breaks the one set for them! It’s the person who is the center of attention at family parties, not because they’re the most charismatic, just because their talks always becomes the topic of gossip for the next couple of months!
In “Mallu” families I’ve come to realize that this Black Sheep is usually the one who
Category A being the most popular reason and being a Black Sheep myself, I found out that most of these Sheep were forced into pursuing a path they never wanted to. They were emotionally blackmailed into choosing a route that’s “guaranteed” success! Most families, thus, send off their Sheep to engineering and medical schools against their will. And to what avail? They end up uninterested, slacking and burdened with failure; gasping and chocking, trying to breathe when they feel like drowning most of the time. Is there a support group they could join? Do they tell their parents who throw every cent of their earning into their education? All they can do without proper care and help is spiral down to desperation and depression from failure, and finally succumb to the failure with a ‘don’t care’ attitude as that’s the only thing left to do. And with that they enter into the famous list of Black Sheep in the family. A list that interestingly, consists of their 10th grade or 5th grade cousins. Their stories became the hot subjects at family gatherings, phone conversations and fake sympathy and pity was showered over their parents when in reality they hope not to find a Black Sheep among their own kids.
What the “perfect” portion of our society fails to see is that when these black sheep are put in their own zone, where there is no finger pointing, is that these eccentric people rise above the rest, and become popular, become powerful, and become quite the Mark Zuckerbergs. But our power hungry, hypocritical and selfish community doesn’t give a chance to anything new. As a matter of fact, they humiliate, bully and pinch away anything different from the usual at its root! End result is that these geniuses are discouraged, feels lost and useless and instead of being Zukerbergs ends up as the next Afsal Guru with their future dangling by the noose, or a Bunty Chor trying and failing at being Leonardo Dicaprio in “catch me if you can”, and yet some others try to get rid of their reputation. Needless to say their efforts go unnoticed and they never escape the scrutinizing eyes of their “Kin”!
Somewhere along my search for an escape, I realized that success cannot be taught or provided ready-made. Success is analyzing yourself, finding your innermost passions, pursuing it and persevering at this task no matter who or what pops up as the mountain in your way. Black Sheep are survivors not failures. They make it to the top by defying the rules set and not following the boring old well trodden path to easy success. They find their own way and attain a hard earned success, sometimes after making mistakes that teach them more than a success ever could. All they have to learn is to be deaf to criticisms, disbeliefs, and discouragements. Don’t be ashamed to be weird and unique! That’s the only rule to success!
To my fellow Black Sheep, have fun being the rebel, the different and one-of-a-kind people of this world. Don’t worry about this hypocritical world. What it shuns today it accepts tomorrow with arms wide open and demanding a token of gratitude since “they always knew they’d make it!” Until next time, dare to dream!
From a Great Indian Black Sheep.