Side stepping from my regular style of blogging, this post is going to be about one albeit usual but magical day in my life.
As I type this out to the world, the gravity of what has just passed hits me with all its force. For a single exhalation I feel everything slip out of my hands and I start losing my nerve. Only to be calmed by the thought that if I am here writing about it, it can’t turn out to be so bad. It just can not.
All I can tell myself at this point is that no good thing ever came without being headstrong and risking everything for the one portion of chance you know you can’t afford but also know is worth all the pain and trouble and uncertainty in the world.
If my memory is not playing tricks on me, roughly one month back I added a Countdown date to my Blog’s widgets. Many people inquired what this landmark day was. Most, out of the pointless curiosity that often paves way to gossip and has become a way of life with people now. A select few, out of genuine concern and interest.
For the latter, I write this today.
With a shameless disregard for modesty, let me say this. I was born with a gift to have my hand in multiple things at one time and do well at all of them. Unlike other people my age who were behind on studies the minute they took up an activity outside the defined syllabus, I could do fairly well both at school exams and at extra-curricular activities. Athletics, Music, Drama, Debate, Dance, Sports, Cooking, Volunteer work. You name it, I’ve done it. Sometimes, all of it packed into one school year. I was not the geek who always topped the class or the person with fingers that could create heaven on a paper or the person people stopped dead in their tracks to hear talking. I’d say I was a bit of all of those people. “Jack of all trades, Master of some” would be me put in a simple compound sentence. My modest self would say a wonderful combination of genes from a genius mother and a go-getter father are to thank. And she would not be wrong entirely.
So When in the December of one year that seems so far away now, I did exceptionally well at something I was a novice at and thought a herculean task before, I credited that achievement to my innate ability of taking on new things with a certain ease as. Even the in-suppressible urge to do nothing but this particular task was shunned away without much thought. Only when I froze in the face of performance at the same task a year later did I realize, this is what I am meant to do. And that nothing but this can give me true contentment in life. Not happiness. Not fame. Not Money. But contentment that none of those things and more often than not very insignificant and banal things can bring.
Today I have put three years of complete dedication and hard-work towards my parents’ dream behind me to give myself entirely to this one thing that has robbed me of sleep many a nights. It has been my own personal (and until now, secret) love interest. Like any good, masala Bollywood flick would guarantee, we have a horde of vamps and villains chasing us around 24×7. They’re planning covert plots to do us apart and we are reciting sweet nothings every second complete to the till-death-d0-us-apart/s.
Like any good heroine would, I have put my trust in him without a speck of doubt. Now it is for all to see and time to tell where he takes me. A battered old house with no supplies? A mansion with all riches and comforts? I know not. And neither do I care to find out. Wherever he takes me, our love will be enough to quench my thirst and our mutual admiration enough to fill my stomach. And could one ask for more? Austere living is the mantra here.
As I left home in a hurry with a less than modest breakfast of 3 Marie biscuits and Green Tea in me, I moved with a certain purpose. My gait was not slow and relaxed. I was not looking at every inanimate object and observing (but never judging) every moving person. I walked like people with important things to look to do. Like a tiger stealthily moves to grab the night’s dinner. Like a business person trots away with another poor man to rob today and another yet tomorrow. Like a person with a purpose
The metro was surprisingly full for a Sunday. I noticed that people will do anything in the name of fashion. A girl sitting on the opposite seat was wearing blue corduroy pants and knee-high suede boots. This is Delhi. Some 35 degrees and very sunny. I was sweating just looking at her.
I took an auto to the destination. The first auto-waalle-bhaiya refused to go by the meter. The second one agreed.
One expects a good crowd on such a day. But I guess when they come, they come in small groups. It is when they leave that big mad rush happens. And it did.
I had to walk a kilometer, maybe more, to get an auto back to the metro station. The ratio of auto to people who wanted to hire them must have been 1:50. So when I saw an old woman expectantly look in the direction of the auto I had just hired and then sighing in disappointment at the site of me sitting in the back seat I asked her where she wanted to go. It turned out she wanted to go the same metro station as me. I suggested we share the auto. And, after much thought(I think she was working out the odds of a 19 year old girl that looks like I do being a terrorist or something) she agreed.
It had been a long day. I was tired, thirsty and very hungry. Remember the scrumptious breakfast I had mentioned earlier? It was 6 o’clock in the evening now. And nothing else had found its way into my mouth since. But I was in a hurry to get back home and could not afford to kill time buying a bottle of water, let alone eating something. Just when the image of ice-cold water from my fridge trickling down my throat and some of it spilling on me was plastered on my mind, the woman sitting next to me dished out a bottle of water from her bag and drank mouthfuls. She did not offer. I guess after all the cases of strangers drugging people and running away with their valuables even decent people dare not offer a drink or a snack to a stranger. And I was a young woman in this infamous city. This reminds me of the time when I was a kid and we would journey very long distances in trains. Other than eating train food that was just about doable and pointless banter with my shy sibling and constant warnings from my mother (Bebo, don’t stick your head of the compartment. Bebo, don’t run around in the gallery. Bebo, don’t drink the tap water when you brush your teeth. Bebo, don’t climb the top berth every 5 minutes. BEBO! STOP HITTING YOUR BROTHER WITH THAT DOLL RIGHT NOW!), the thing I miss the most is meeting new people on trains. I am sure every Indian family has that one friend they met on a train and instantly clicked off with. My Nanaji recently attended one such friend’s daughter’s wedding (they met on a train some 30 years back). It is sad to live with the fact that no such train friends will attend my daughter’s wedding. Because today, trusting someone you meet on a train is nothing if not insane. It really pains me to know that trust does not flow freely even in blood relations now, let alone strangers.
My clock tells me that this has been stretched far too long than was desired. I was telling a friend just today that I never know how and when to end something I write. Endings are just awkward for me.
But I guess here it will suffice to say that today I start my new life as The person I always was but never could be.
Today, I wrote an exam for admission into my dream college for Journalism.
Today, I drowned a perfect career opportunity in medicine.
Today, I paved way for maybe not a perfect but a regret and blame free future.
Today, I gave my dreams a chance.
And I must have you know, I have never felt better. It like being born again. New things to learn. New lives to live. New places to explore. New people to run into. And New dreams to decorate on soft pillows.
Here is one to Dreams, the kind that don’t let you sleep :)