Monday, May 9, 2011

Evergreen rhetoric

Aqseer Sodhi
B.A. LL.B. IV Year, National Law School of India University, Bangalore

Asawari Sodhi
Freshman, Class of 2015, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA

You both are uniquely placed to speak up girls. Draw a breath, sit back and take a look around you. Your hard work and good fortune has put you where you are, in institutions that can give you unique perspectives, authentic frames of references and a wide horizon to paint on. I know you will treasure this opportunity and treat it with respect.

You are ambassadors where you are. Representatives of your school, your family, your state, your country quite often. I know you will remember and honor that position. Asawari, you have dreamt so often of wearing the tricolor on the world stage. Aqseer, you have always wanted to take up cudgels on behalf of the underdog. Well, you are sitting pretty on the springboards that will make this promise possible for you to realize and fulfill.

Living a successful life in terms of career and family will follow of course.

It is the “over and above” I want to point out to you both. With your education, coming from where you do, the onus will be on you to express yourselves, to speak up, to be heard. Remember the movie “Legally Blonde” for instance. I liked the story Reese Witherspoon narrates in her concluding address to the senate about the bad haircut. Her moral is that unless you get involved, you will end up with a bad trim. Life is like that. Gives back as good as it gets.

Too often, we let things be. There have been times when I should have spoken up but did not. There was an encounter with a colleague I could have patched up with a few words of regret but I let the moment pass. I should have reached out to this friend one time but I remained silent. And there was this ludicrous majority decision once that I did not contest, to my eternal peeve and regret.

It takes courage to speak up but express yourself you must. With time, evolve for yourself the method of self expression that works best for you. One does not have to blow the whistle or take to the revolutionary cobblestone. But education ought to give you the strength and good sense to protest at the wrong happening around you. Be vocal too on the other hand, in your appreciation of the good you come across. Speak up in defense, in praise, in support, in empathy also.

I feel a very strong parental pride in the education you are receiving and hope that it will help you make the right connect with the world around you and by extension of the same premise, help you leave behind a better world. You are preparing for life in a fast changing environment where the one certainty will be obsolescence! Not pure hard core knowledge or technology so much as the ability to communicate via a variety of media that will stand you in good stead on the racing track ahead. Make no mistake that you both live in a world of lifelong learning.

Learn and think and analyze and speak up. It is important to speak up. Silence is the deadliest and the most irresponsible of all sanctions.

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