my life is like a game of daadu

The last 2 months have been difficult, to say the least. As children all across the country scramble for college admissions, one comes face to face not only with the system but also one’s own values, anxieties and fears. There are times when you wonder whether you can actually stick to the attitude with which you have been living your own life or whether you should do a turn-around when it comes to your child.

I shudder to think that if it is like this in our house, what it is like for the children in more competitive, ambitious, conservative houses. I am still overwhelmed, confused and plain tired with the rigmarole of letting your child find her feet, so for now, I’ll let Dhanno say it in her own words.

What follows is a guest post by Dhanno.

“My life is like a game of daadu”, I cried.
My mother laughed, helplessly. What could she do?
For those who don’t know.
Daadu is a board game. It has two teams fighting against one another. Your own team seems like the hero and his friends. And the opposite one makes the villains.
You feel it will end soon, why not? It is such a small game. But no, it doesn’t. It lasts long. Very long.
It is so unpredictable. You feel you got it; you have the game in your hand. Everything is under control. But it is not like that, sadly.
Turns out all your teammates are back to square one, and you have reached nowhere, gained almost nothing at all, except maybe moments of glory/peace.
Children playing this game are nice; it’s a good way to pass time.
But in this world, children don’t play this game.
Adults do.
Who are adults?
Actually I don’t know.
But I know what they do.
2 years ago I met some of ‘those’ at this party I went to with my parents.
I met several of ‘them’.
They asked me what I was doing. I said, “I have to give my 10th Board exams now.”
They all exclaimed, looked sad and sympathetic. My instinct told me that they had a cheap thrill in hearing of my sufferance and knowing that they had passed it all.
They said, “Now it’s the 10th. Then there will be your 12th… how dreadful.” They looked so animated somehow.
They continued, “You should take a year off after you finish your 12th, when else will you get time for yourself? You should travel and see new places.”
I stared.
So hard.
The concept seemed alien to me.
Believe it or not, more than 80% of the people I met at that party told me to do the same, and believe me I met a lot.
I told them, “Not at all. Is that even allowed? Won’t I be left behind? With whom will I travel?”
The idea seemed dumb to me. Now it does not. Now I have finished my 12th. I am waiting to get out. Explore.
I have no passion in particular. Many interests.
I would love to travel, click photographs, write about places, and all those grown up dreams I do have now.🙂
But I seem to have lost those people who told me to have these dreams.
Today, anyone I ask, they say you should be focused. Don’t think of an interest in particular, or a career in particular.
Just do something! SOMETHING!
They all ask my marks.
“Engineering or Medical?” some ask.
They all have some entrance exams that they suggest I should give.
They mock me if I say I want to take a drop year.
“When will you start your life?”
Is this life?
If you don’t know, you just don’t know.
Is there anything that can be done about it? Yes, you could do many things till you figure out what you like best.
“A few months will leave you behind.”
Where? What is behind and front? How can you tell who is where?
No one can judge who’s behind or in front.
What is this? A GPRS system?
I don’t know whether that party was a dream. Or giving an advice of a year off was the theme of the party for ‘them’.
It is so funny now that I think of it.
Because whatever they say, I don’t think they mean it. They give these dreamy ideas to children, write about exciting films, say such boisterous things, give such monstrously-goose-pimple giving ideas, but they don’t practice what they preach.
Because if it was their own child they want him/her to be secure, rich, ahead in life and ‘happy’.
No matter what it takes to get there.
(There refers to – secure, rich, ahead in life and ‘happy’)

To all those who have not reached where I have reached (my juniors)-
Do what you want means=> do what is safe.

Unfortunately, I am turning into them soon.
30th august.
And I am not celebrating.

P.S- This may be a cynical note. So don’t consider it if you don’t like it.
I don’t want to offend or hurt.
Sorry just in case.

P.P.S- My parents don’t fit into the category of ‘them’. Even today they roam on the periphery, very much like me. Trying to fit in somewhere.
But yet again, if my parents were offended…

I don’t want to offend or hurt.
Sorry just in case.


  1. Dear Dhanno: Nothing you’ve said could offend anyone, and you’ve probably put your finger on what defines an adult – someone who wants you to do as they say and not do as they do.

    Come September, I wish you success and all the rest of it, but as *you* see success (and all the rest of it). I hope you never lose your taste for life on the periphery. Much love. S.

    • losing my taste for life! naah not happening. with my parents around, certainly not. haha. thank you for your wishes.😀

  2. Dear Dhanno:

    Coming from a family where we were left to follow our likes and where our children have been left to follow there dreams, I can only say do so. Because they have wandered more than others, and some have found their niche, others are still finding theirs, but all will have more fulfilled lives, I seem to perceive (though not perhaps such bank balances as Engineering or Medical might bring), unless of course those two happen to be Your Dream – and it is a worthwhile one too-

    As parents we also get this reaction from other parents (and we are parents in India and abroad), regarding this lack of pushing and guiding (shoving) children towards a “practical” career that will lead to a “safe” job, if such a thing exists.

    Young people like you will be the ones that push the limits or create something new beyond them….

  3. Dhanno, come and visit me, and I will tell you how pleasant it actually can be, not knowing what you want to do when you grow up, and just enjoying life as it passes😀

  4. Hi Dhanoo!
    Nice post!
    You can articulate your point of view so well! Was touched!
    I remember my HSC exams! (now this is a typical adult sentence!)
    Like somebody said and can be read on many calendars, but all the same true.
    Life is what happens when you are making plans for the future.
    Or something on these lines.
    And now a story (again very adult! No, not the story, but the sentence)
    A dear friend of mine failed at his 12th exams in Maths, although I was prime suspect for such a case. We visited him that evening and there was an air of mourning in the flat. They hadn’t even turned on the lights. His parents were crying. it was very awkward for us. Eventually he joined a diploma course. He had a younger brother. All the hopes were then heaped upon him. It was so unbearable for him that before his matriculation exams, he jumped from the terrace of the building where they lived.
    Although I never knew him really properly I still feel somewhat guilty for being a part of a society which supports such competition and sells it as zeal and verve!

    Dear Dhanoo, you are doing well in life and you are a gem. From your mom’s post I knew it, after reading your post, I realised it. You will do quite fine in life.
    So where are you setting off to? If you are in my vicinity, you can come and visit me if you like.


    • thank you so… much for complimenting my wiritng. i love to hear that. because my mother is always trying to find faults in what i write. but all the english i speak/write today is because of her.
      thank you for your motivation. and…
      it is really sad about the suicides due to academic pressure. and i can see how you must have felt guilty.

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