The weight of this word is growing with every passing day, especially on people like me ie., falling in the same age group and doing the same work as i am – studying. You see, we are the ones who are expected to form better citizens and ensure a “lead kindly light” sort of future to the country, right? So the gravity of the matter appears greater. However, i feel that, responsibility is to be held by everyone with relatively equal importance, according to their work. A good student should be responsible for his future, a good parent for his children, a politician for his people, an actor for his fan-following, a cop (or any public servant, for that matter) for the society, a good lover for his loved one(s) and so on. There can be none without this feeling, no matter how small it is.
I was being cornered by my father every time i was into some mischief, saying that i should grow up and be responsible. It didn’t end with that. I had to go through the same lecture many times thereafter, from my mother, teachers, uncles, aunts, older cousins, and at times, in a lighter vein, from my younger brother too! Man, it was too much. In course of time, i began wondering, what is the need of responsibility when people are doing what they have to. My father earns for the family, my mother maintains it superbly, I and my bro study well enough to save ourselves the comparison with first-class-someones (All this apart from having lovable times at dinner together, and at other occasions too!). And coming to the broader picture, everyone in this world is doing some job which will keep their loved ones and well wishers, contented and happy.
But you know something, as it happens with all things, I started growing older, and coming out from the innocence of a child and his ignorance about the actual world. And, the earlier thinking was not mature enough on my part. I realized it. But the point was that i could not really understand what responsibility actually was, even after that small ‘enlightenment’. (i guess, that enlightenment hadn’t lighted up my mind fully! 😉 ) However, my quest for this piece of knowledge wasn’t going to end very soon.
The years of adolescence did make me hard by heart. Whatever little juvenile “tender heartedness” was present, had left me. It made me feel free, and i was going to care a damn about being irresponsible, simply because, i didn’t want to care. However, something else had been cooking up in my fortune. Instead of being a rambo that i wanted to be, i was about to become a romeo. I started to have feelings for a girl. This thing, sort of changed my angle of thinking. The state, in which you wanted to see the girl, changed into a feeling that urged you to be with her, then making you feel that you should ask her out, feel for her, feel like her and so on. Then, when i thought i was serious about this girl becoming my ‘Cupid’s gift’, a different feeling struck me for the first time. Though i felt it very weakly, i wanted to be responsible for this girl, who had come just like a lightening strike in my life. God!. That was a nice feeling. I was thinking about myself as a grown-up, as a man ready to take on the forebodings of life. So, this was responsibility, or was it?
Being taught by my little experience, the lesson of responsibility sinked into me, bit by bit. After all these experiments with myself and the things that happened to me, I found myself in a curious situation. The job placements had started in my college. After cracking the aptitude which was not that hard, I was sitting with an interviewer who was supposed to handle both Technical and HR. I was refreshing my memory regarding the questions that may be popped at me.The technicals were answerable. And LO! An unexpected question! “So Mr.Sriharsha, how would you define responsibility?” I was freaked out at this. I hadn’t prepared for this sudden synopsis of my experiment. I had to think for a while. Why were my father, mother, teacher etc., asking of responsibility from me? Did they want me to do something? Something other than what i had done all those times? And it boiled down to one thing. They were all expecting something from me and i wasn’t doing it. They, being very much elder to me, expected something of their level of maturity from me. And i had to do just that to be labeled Responsible. It seemed to be a logical answer. “Sir, Responsibility is living up to the expectations, people have on you.”
I take pride in saying that the interviewer was interested in considering my answer and finally he accepted it satisfactorily. Right after coming out of the room, i had a weird thought that i was preparing all my life for this moment, just to answer this question. After all, we are always preparing for many unforeseen situations and surprises offered to us by this responsible journey – Life. And in leading your life you should be exceeding your own expectations!