The Back-Up Personality


            This is a theory I have about a certain group of people. They are in their teens, either in school or college. They come from families of a middle class income, so they are not poor enough that they are the sole hope of their family to a better life but not rich enough that they can afford not getting a reasonable job. Oh, and they are mostly Indian. See, because in India the most sureshot way to success is to become either a doctor or an engineer. In the USA if a person decides to just open a tattoo parlor he actually has a realistic chance of achieving that. In India there is a high probability his parents would try to get him exorcised. So anyway, mini rant aside, when these people face a situation of pretty extreme duress the backup personality comes into the picture. Now I am one of these people (just in case wasn’t incredibly obvious).

                 Now see, the backup personality is an ideal personality, hidden somewhere in the primal regions in your conscious. It has been sub consciously created by your parents. Every time they tell you to get a nice job, so you can support them, or complain about finances so you think it’s a good job that can solve it, every time this back up personality grows. Now when does it get activated? A week back, it was the day before my Advanced Power Electronics Exam. (Yes advanced, the semester before we had had just plain old power electronics, the stuff babies do.) So anyway this sixth semester I was feeling pretty disillusioned with the state of education in college. Especially this absolute sham of a subject called Power Electronics. (The teacher sucked, she was frugal both in brain and giving marks, the lethal combination which marks the very worst teachers.) I had almost three units out of five left that night at 12pm. The exam was the next day at 2am. I wouldn’t be able to finish more than one unit the next morning. At that point the utter impracticality of what I was doing struck me. Here I was learning/memorizing stuff about motor drives just to get an A grade. Why was I doing this? I had never understood it properly. I couldn’t properly explain it to someone to save my life. I thought about just half assing it through the test. I knew enough to pass. But then, my back up personality came up. It’s like a number of reasons, sorted out according to priority came up in my mind.

  1. This will go towards improving your Cgpa.
  2. With a better Cgpa you have a chance at a better job.
  3. Your parents paid through their nose to get you into this college.
  4. If not for yourself, you owe it to them to study for this test.

So then, I took a deep breath, and settled down to study till 3. And that is what I call the backup personality. Some people have it. Some people don’t. I believe I had successfully killed mine back in first semester but the stupid dumbass came back to haunt me.


Frustrated individual in a world with lots and lots of other similarly frustrated individuals.

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Posted in humor

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