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Some irritating side effects of Higher Education

Tired and hungry, on my way back from work, I decided to do some grocery shopping which was urgently required due to fast depleting stock. Yes I prided myself in being the modern pseudo independent woman who knows and does her stuff well. While I was awaiting my turn at the cash counter which was quite crowded, I glanced at the women in front of me. Decked up, made up, they were quite a sight. Housewives from the neighbourhood, I realized. Maybe just there to get some groceries and where totally decked up like a bride, I thought contemptuously. They were discussing the latest episode of some daily soap (or was it the latest fashion trends?)  and at that precise moment they seemed to be away from all worries, animatedly chatting away, while I tapped my foot  impatiently with a scowl. Come on for God’s sake can’t they see I am tired after a busy day of housework and office?  Not like them, mindless existence without any worth while purpose in their life, I had scoffed. And then it hit me. What was I thinking? Why this snobbishness? They meant no harm; they were just being themselves- happy and gay, with not a care. Why did I have to resent them? If they chose to stay back and devote their time at home, did they commit a crime? No, I guess. They watched the soaps, lived and loved the life of the characters, wore lovely clothes, so was it worse than being in some office of power and siphoning off public funds?  Or was it worse than picking a gun and going on a shooting spree? I would call mindless giggly gossip to be the most harmless of sport compared to some real nasty stuff, so why this snobbery every where?

I have just mentioned the case of those poor housewives as an example, but don’t we sense a slight intolerance and impatience to so call “care less” attitude everywhere? If the caste system and the class system of rich and poor have dissolved, in its place a new stratification has crept in- of Jobs, qualification, education, information, how articulate or how well informed or aware one is. You see it every where. You just aren’t fulfilling your life if you are not debating about some important issue or cause, be it in the clubs or social media. It is as if the rise of the intellectual bourgeoisie class has taken place. Gone are the days of simplicity, with simple sense of happiness or the simple joys of life, scoffing seems to be the latest game among the intellectuals. Peer pressure is becoming higher, less for materialistic gains, but more for Awareness.  Awareness about the latest technology, current issues, causes etc. In fact I am tempted to say that maybe, it all stems from education. I know that it is a terrible thing to say about this one thing that can change the quality of life among humans and that which is desperately needed in our country for its upliftment, but seriously can you cross your hearts and deny that a kind of arrogance and disdain has crept in the society? Not even when the IITian snubbed you at a party? Or the Surgeon who would just exchange a curt hello and mumble incoherently at your queries? Or maybe that time you did feel a bit put off when the senior Journalist gave you a royal brush off about your concern? Or how about that time when your ex classmate who topped the IAS exams ignored you at a get together just because you both did not have any common topics left to discuss together. In fact let’s go in a reverse way too!  Most of us have our origins and roots in villages, but we still feel at a loss for topics to discuss with some one from there. Why? We are supposed to be one with higher education and yet all those education and information cannot provide us with a single topic to keep our listener engrossed , or is it that we don’t attempt to do so   – Please do not be mistaken that I am against higher education. No, never! I would never suggest that. But like all essential drugs, may be it too has a slightly irritating side effect and I think the effect has started to show now. As for me I plead guilty for the above, but more than ashamed I feel envious, because those females seemed genuinely happy devoid of their trappings of job or educational qualifications while I stood there disgruntled even with my false sense of superiority.

0 18 April, 2011 Wicked Brew April 18, 2011

About the author

She is a Doctor by profession , working in Delhi. Loves traveling, mind games and playing with words… And also the chief-co brewer of GingerChai. She is the chief brewer of some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Follow @manishalsam

View all articles by Mani Padma


  1. Nethra

    Oh yea, those kind of women seem to be lot more happier than the swellheads like us. They laugh, talk more than we do. Even I envy them sometimes.

  2. Phoenixritu

    What a pertinent point to make. Yes, we are patronizing towards whom we perceive being below us – for whatever reason. Arrogant? Envious? Cliquish? I guess we are all that and more

  3. Pallavi

    Absolutely true, Mani!!!! Very very well said.

    I don’t understand what makes us arrogant. There are always people who are better or worse-off than we are, so humility is always important!!

    I once did something similar. Went for a swimming session, and saw a bunch of illiterate women (I say that out of arrogance that I spoke English while they didn’t). I wondered at the ‘state of things’ that I, an MBA, have to swim alongside these folks. Once we got into the pool, I struggled to keep afloat (as I was only just learning to swim), and squirmed and coughed, while my ‘uneducated sisters’ had a merry time at the deep-end!!

    That taught me a good lesson. A very good lesson infact. To never be arrogant!!! Afterall, with all my education, if I were to drown, it would be one of those uneducated folk who would give me the biggest gift of all – life!

  4. Pranjal

    i dunno how relevant this is, but i never leave a chance of speaking Bhojpuri with people- so that i’m not deemed pretentious though i might sometimes be 🙁

    1. Mani

      @Pranjal 🙂 thats exactly the problem with side effects. We don’t really realise it until we have a full fledged manifestation.

      @Harshdip – thanks 🙂

  5. Nona

    I for one never look down upon fellow housewives. They are such a rare breed. I mean putting everything else before them…phew. I think being a career woman is much more easy. Come to think of it I only know one housewife within my age range and the amount of her workload is amazing.

  6. Mani

    Yeah! some amazing women I know are housewives: maybe not highly educated, but the amount of practical knowledge as well as wisdom is unmatchable

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