Obsession

by Awais Leghari

After countless nights of reading, writing, memorising and struggling, you have arrived today at the top college in your country. This college is also one of the world’s best, and simply an association with an institution like this are ten points on your semi-constructed resumé. Your self-esteem has never been higher, and as you enter the gates of the college-bubble, an invitation is swiftly delivered to you, brazened in an artistic envelope, that a party for the freshmen awaits your presence tonight. The word around is, that people who attend these parties have an impeccable academic record, with achievements to pale anyone stacked against them. These people, you hear, are also aesthetically beautiful with an exceptional taste in fashion. So, if you are to attend this party, what questions do you think you’ll encounter from your peers?

Before any questions this fictional-you would face, you would be first scanned from head-to-toe, ready to be judged on gaffes while you haven’t even uttered a single word. Is your shirt matching the tie? Are the shoes  you’re wearing gleaming perfectly? It reminds you of the board with the words “rights of admission reserved” you saw, when you first entered a classic Italian cuisine restaurant in a posh locale. Of course, what you wear matters to what you are. However, you may not have to worry much if your fashion is not quite on point, you have the looks to woo the presence of others. You recheck your Twitter and Facebook profile, and notice that your head is titled slightly to the left, with hair slightly messy enough to appear sexy. In case anyone stalks you, they should know they have come to the right profile; one that people follow on instinct, and not on what they find worthy. No one bothers to investigate more, if the profile-picture game is perfect. A sigh escapes, and you wonder if you hadn’t been fortunate enough to be a good looking male. What if, you had acne and scars which so many young people of your age have? Even worse, what if you had all that, and were a female? No one would have preferred talking to you. There would not have been a flock of smiling faces ready to greet you. Still, you were skeptical.

After all, you do have an academic record to rival any other. You were admitted to this prestigious institution, and they look not at the faces, but what you did when you got in. So what is the first question you encounter? Probably, they would ask your grades and then tell you theirs. A subtle comparison activity ensues and goes on like this, from grades to activities, and then later to ambitions. After all, you have a few things in common already: good grades, the fulfilled ambition to end up at this party, and an ambition to be making more money than anyone else. Now, you are ready to be good friends. You are glad that you have a group of people who can finally feel comfortable around. It took just fifteen minutes to get to that point, and now you’re also ready to share what interests you harbour. Of course, if things go awry, you can always say you love Coldplay and that is the best. You can even update your profile that “Coldplay is your life” or “Nusrat is the god of music”. Of course, you don’t understand music one bit. You don’t understand the inspiration behind the art or the lyrics, but you must be ready to conform to what the majority of cool-looking, cool-talking and over-achieving beautiful people think. You must also profess a love for Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik for their brave outlook and smashing lyrics and also their taboo-breaking soldier crawls under a sea of twerking butts, and must also be able to orgasm at the mention of Harry Potter. You must pass all of this as art. After all, the world of magic did consume your imagination at the time when your mind was still developing, and was only concerned with when to get up for school and when to go to the park to play football. Harry was your hero, Voldemort the biggest evil, and Hermione the prettiest girl. If you don’t mention that you hug the Potter book once in a while and shed a few tears, you may be just the cool person, but not the coolest and biggest fan drone. You are slightly disappointed that your new friends have not embarked on discussing celebrities and their faces, the clothes they wear and how they look in what movie, song or an event. After all, who would in their right mind not praise Ian Somerhalder for an amazing face? Why would you be even bothered about what he does or performs?

You look around and hear, and it seems like everyone has their future absolutely figured out. Financial analyst, Doctor, Engineer, Computer Scientist and all these terms are exchanged around the room. A moment of worry consumes your mind, because you haven’t have it figured out, but you hope that moment of worry did not reflect on the outside. You must not feel anything, because you would become less of a man to express anguish, and even lesser of a respectable person because you are indecisive, and don’t have life under your control. However, you are also glad. You have come to the right place for you haven’t heard anyone talking about how they plan on pursuing a career in philosophy, art, sociology, academia or any discipline that ends with “-studies”. Art is for losers, and philosophy is a sham. Anyone can get around life with a bit of common sense and intelligence, and art and philosophy must not pollute the realms of science and mathematics and technology anymore. You are glad, that you don’t have any of these distractions.

You feel better that you are no more than what you wear, no more than what you look and no more than what your business card says about you. You also happen to be exactly where everyone is on the same frequency as you are. Congratulations, you are truly the blessed and the fortunate, the harbinger of change and a rich, beautiful and a successful individual. The world is already looking forward to reading your books on success, and you are also sure that they will sell.

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