The art of being a loser

Did you know that after the Mahabharata war concluded and it was all said and done, Pandavas went to hell and Kauravas went to the heaven? India has always been kind to its losers. We, as a group, have a deep sense of sympathy for the vanquished, the famished and the incapable. It is not kindness, it is something more. We just do not like winners.

You might think that in a country of more than a billion people, there ought to be more losers than winners and that’s why the majority has glorified losing as a propaganda move. But, it is not that. It certainly is not. The ‘propaganda’ has been in our collective psyche even before we were exploding as a population. We have revered Karna and despised Yudhishthir ever since the beginning of time.

Our love stories end up in both or one lover dying, our success stories end after one becomes rich as if that is a tragic end.

It is something so fundamental and yet so subtle. ‘Krishna never married Radha’, we smile as this thought passes our minds. It makes us misty-eyed. We love the irony in these situations. We are a nation of ironies. Ironies are everywhere- a hairdresser has the worst hairstyle, a doctor works for a salary lower than a government school peon, a cow-worshiping nation exports the most beef in the World.

But, it is not the love of ironies that makes us love our losers. Not all losers are loved here. Losing is an art. It is not easy and it certainly comes with a price. Let me just take you through the things that go into the making of a great loser-

First and foremost, you have to be proud of it. There are different ways to approach life in India. If you are a young person, there are a multitude of things that will be expected of you. One way is to keep working at those things until you achieve them and then realize the futility of it. Your neighbour wants you to get a PhD? Get a PhD. Your family wants you to marry someone you barely know? Marry the shit out of them! Your friend is preparing for UPSC exams? Start preparing!!

The second way is to fail at all those things and then proclaim that they are beneath you. Medicine? No one respects doctors these days. PhD? It is more like becoming a professor’s personal assistant for seven years. UPSC? The bureaucracy is corrupt anyway!

Of course the third way of failing and sulking is not mentioned here because, we are talking about how to be a ‘good’ loser.

The next thing you have to keep in mind is- assimilate the opposite traits of the job at hand in your personality and then declare that you cannot change yourself for one stupid examination or challenge. If you are preparing for Chartered Accountancy, become a lazy person and renounce hard work- grow your hair, call yourself creative; if you are to sit for National Institute of Design entrance, forget how to hold a pen and tell people that you are more of a science guy. People will respect you for your ways and how you are set in them.

The third point is- start working on your looks. People hate losers who look miserable. A loser who looks like Enrique Iglesias finds many shoulders.

Another tip that I can share is- start working on a book. Now, you don’t have to actually write a book. This is just to trick people into believing that you are an intelligent, sentient being instead of the dummy that you really are. Whenever you face a failure, say things like- ‘at least it was an experience’ and ‘this is so going in my book’.

Also, pretend to have a calm sense of detachment and a sense of humour about losing. Smile and say, ‘Maybe I am always meant to be in the journey and never at the destination’ even when you actually are screaming curse words from inside. Make jokes about your own shortcomings and when someone else makes a joke about it, become very grim. Always lower your chin and make a face that is half-smiling when someone cracks a funny joke about you. The amount of guilt you make them feel is going to be directly proportional to the respect you get later.

With all the glamour associated with losers these days, one day will come when people will be vying to come last in marathons. Until that day, keep losing and don’t be a sore loser.

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