Just as much as there is a price to pay at some point for being the favourite son or daughter there is also a penalty for those of us who are not. This is how it works. The favoured one gets all the breaks,wins the confidence of his boss,is allowed liberties not extended to the others and has it really good for the time this togetherness lasts. One day like, most for well,things it ends, but till then, the rest have to suffer the indignity of not being given their due. Always the second choice, never getting the music to stop for them in this bizarre game of musical chairs.

And it is not just at the office or in the selection of a sports team or a promotion that this sort of thing happens,if actually starts in school where ambitious parents and their nexus with teachers creates the first rings of favouritism and the fragility of idealism is exposed for what it is…a a non existent mirage.

You don’t want to believe it at first. You are the reserve on the team,the stand in,the understudy,the option not the choice. And the choice is the favourite one and it could be because the parents are rich and powerful,he is  teacher’s pet, the shoo in, for the debate team,the leader of the pack,the captain of the first XI not because he is better but because the ability in the rest of us is diced and muted.

While active favouritism is one, spur  discrimination is another. You can call it the negative pole. A teacher,a department head,someone with decision-making authority over you decides to keep you down, encourages with brakes on, in second gear and you know from the limited traction that your potential is being throttled. Why? There could be many reasons. An absence of chemistry,some parochial bias, even your religion and caste can come into play, anything that makes the exercise of power arbitrary and unfair.

At the school level the prejudice could be a great deal more trivial. Perhaps the teacher had a run in with the student’s parents and now the child  has to suffer the consequences. Sometimes, most commonly, the teacher is upset by a display of brilliance and if that upstages the fragile ego again the student ends up with the thin end of the wedge…oh,so you think you are smart?

I don’t think people realise how much harm they cause the young psyche by being hostile when their duty is to positively exploit potential. In a perfect world that would be the key. Then again it isn’t. So it doesn’t get realized, that choking a talent is as bad as sticking a knife in the ribs.

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