Thursday, May 30, 2013

Musings on Graduation day In America

This is Graduation day in New Hampshire, and I guess in most parts of the country. The city of Portsmouth is flooded with parents visiting to witness a momentous day in the lives of their children. There is almost a deep sense of fulfillment and pride in their eyes. That is the beauty of this country. They tend to commemorate every significant milestone in their families.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not very easy for most young boys or girls in America to go through School or college with an intensity and dedication required to complete it. There are a lot of distractions and oppurtunities that could sway them from a formal academic rigor. For middle class parents , working their way through mortgages, loans and the compulsive need to maintain a decent lifestyle; it becomes very difficult to support children's education in a sustained manner, more so, if the kid develops other interests in life. Single parents or dysfunctional families find it even more difficult. In a cocooned society, it is easy for parents to exercise control over their children, but not so in America, where boys and girls develop a sense of intellectual maturity and character rather quickly, and tend to take control of their lives far earlier than usual.

I was sitting in a restaurant yesterday evening; which essentially, I learnt later was student hang-out place ; reading Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" and sipping a glass of raspberry lemonade. All around me were young men and women of different nationalities, confident in the exuberance of youth, dressed with liberal ease, gesticulating to each other and laughing with gay abandon;talking over subjects that range from Boyfriends, to books, to movies, to Obama's stand on the IRS fiasco, to the recently ended war in Afghanistan . They exuded a raw and unadulterated aura of a young human species in the prime of their flowering. The sheer atmosphere was exhilarating. Tocqueville's words still ring true after two hundred odd years that" Life should be entered upon with Courage...";. and courage was evident in the gaiety of these vibrant youngsters.

As i sat there reading and ruminating, I was all of sudden woken from my reverie by a young blonde waitress. She wanted to know if I needed anything else. I ordered a Margarita Pizza with less cheese and looked into her eyes. They were bright, blue and deep and she was looking at the book I was reading. There was a sense of elation in her eyes. I asked her is she had read this wonderful book that defined the American way of life. She nodded her head and said .." Yap, I did a thesis on Tocqueville's vision of America in my last semester in Buffalo. I completed my masters in Political science last year and came down to Portsmouth to be with my Parents. I have a couple of months more, before I could start work on my Doctoral work in the University of New Hampshire. The money that I made here should be good for some time to help me with my studies". She then rushed to the kitchen and came back a little while later with my food. As as she left the table she made a remarkable statement. She said " You know what, Tocqueville was a political exile from France, hence he found America liberating and commented on it, but let me tell you, I believe that no commentaries can do justice to the pristine words of the Declaration of Independence " and she quoted verbatim: ' We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness', we try and live up to this."

I quietly ate my Pizza and walked back to my Hotel thinking how wonderful would it be if every democracy can produce such a breed of such vibrant, thoughtful and alive people.

My best wishes to all the graduates across the country. May your aspirations, dreams and its realization make this universe a better place to inhabit.

God Bless...........

1 comment:

B said...

Hi Bala...just read few posts. Will try to catch up sometime on this. Good to read about this encounter.

As you know...I never had a habit of reading. Somehow I long for it...do not know why...at this age.

Will ask for some recommendations in time to come.....