Why giving examples of successful dropouts is wrong

By Madhurie Singh, March 01, 2017

Biryani or Khichdi

It’s like the difference between making khichdi and biryani.

Yesterday my friend called up sounding very upset. She said ” Madhurie my son wants to discontinue his school. He wants to do something that will make him rich and famous. He thinks all famous and rich, quit school or college and that is why they are successful. He is giving examples of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Einstein.”

We had a small informal meeting at a restaurant to make it look like a casual lunch meet where I happen to join my friend and her son.

I was ready to hear dreamy world which all teenagers seem to live in. Then he revealed how inspired he was after reading a recent article of an 8th-grade dropout. He has decided to drop out too! Wow really?

I casually shared this story with him and his mom.

Imagine a class teacher is teaching, “how to make khichdi”, to a batch of  40 students.

One student knows how to make “Khichdi” perfectly well. May be he has seen his mom make “Khichdi” or has made it at home several times.

Now, he has the perfect idea of making “Biryani”! He wants to try making “Biryani” while the rest of the students are still learning what are the ingredients required for making “Khichdi”!

He will be bored in the “Khichdi” class without any doubt. In fact, he will distract others too.

His parents have either no objection or have loads of money to support his dream at this age.

So he quits the “Khichdi” making class to try out his hands on making “Biryani”, the dish, that he imagines will change the world.

In the eyes of the “Khichdi” learning group of students, he is a failure. The world forgets him as well. Who remembers a failure after all?

Finally, after years of experiments with failures, he succeeds in making the perfect the “Biryani” that revolutionises how rice can be eaten in a gourmet style by anyone around the world!

The press starts to write articles about past his failure and the current smashing success. They glamourize his decision of quitting the “Khichdi” class. No one is writing about his previous knowledge of “Khichdi” or the idea of making the perfect “Biryani” which he was very sure of while still in the class. So you tell me what is the moral of the story?”, I asked.

He instantly replied, ” He worked so hard to make his idea of making an unknown dish called “Biryani”. People should know and appreciate the effort he put in for years! Also, why should he waste his time in making “Khichdi” when he already has perfected it? He would have wasted his talent had he stuck to the “Khichdi class and most probably gotten so bored that he would have lost interest in studying too.”

“Absolutely right! Now, what do you think other students should do? Should they quit k”Khichdi” class too?” I asked keeping my fingers crossed.

” No way mam! They don’t know yet anything about the simple “Khichdi”, what is the point of quitting this class now. They need to learn and finish the class. One day they will be ready to make their own “Biryani”, he said with a smile that we were relieved to see.

“Do you think you are ready to quit learning “Khichdi” class yet? If yes then tell me about your Biryani”, I asked him.

” Ok ok, I got it. I will first learn to make the “Khichdi,” he replied and we all started laughing at his quick agreement.

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