Its almost everyday in life that we find ourselves not being able to muster the courage to bridge the chasm between our desires and reality. It is tough to make a decision and you know what’s tougher than that, its resisting the temptation to look at the other alternative and not feel a sense of despair at what we chose.
Here, through these I tell my friend who is going through a similar decision making phase. Most of the defeats happen just before the last hurdle is crossed, so sit tight and carry on, the shore is just round the corner.
In the realms of my hands cuddling as if its world is comprised of just the area within the cup of my hand. I came to me on a one fine morning when I was a kid, starting an unknown journey that I don’t know what would have been if not without it. After all I can’t find one instance when it was not there with me if not physically then in my thoughts. It was not long before the days passed when we were always together no matter what the weather or the place, it always came to me. The window sill where she sat while I crammed for my History exams or the treetop in the prayer grounds where it sat smiling while I collected awards and used to see it from the stage wondering would I have the same smile if it won’t be there clapping or those times when I just used to smile just at the sight of it in the morning while I waited for my school bus
I stroke its weathers gently trying to count them as the time passes softly before she flies away to a strange little bird world. After all life is transient and no matter how much we try we have to let go of the best of things and on the other hand no matter how much we try their memories continue to make us smile halfheartedly, longingly wishing how would it have been if only it had stayed.
The rays of the sun are piercing the body now as if trying to melt the outer core and exposing the innards, the innards that have been covered by multiple layers of happiness sorrow and the toughest of them all resolution. She looks towards me with gleaming eyes, bubbling with energy and raring to go. After all new place, life and people await her. I thought only humans feel elated at the prospects of new but here it was feeling excited about leaving the past and embracing something new. I look back at my past and see that I too have run away from people and situations but the fact was in the hindsight I knew she would be there overlooking me from somewhere behind the clouds above.
It flew spanning its small wings high in the sky circling above me getting ready for a long flight that will take it towards mountains that will be hard to scale, that will offer various hurdles and test its limits. I am skeptical about the future but my concerns wither away when I see its determination and enthusiasm.
So I smile one more time before saying adios to the bird who had been second to none and who I don’t want it to turn back to say final wishes because breaking the chains of past and unleashing the ropes of future is what helps in the journey of life.
This independence I let it fly to somewhere………far.
It is pouring outside. Keshav looks out of the window and sees the cloud that had blanketed the whole city. He remembered the day today “26 September” and is filled with a flood of feelings. His red diary is opened on the table beside his bed . He knew the clouds are here to stay and anyways there was no office today. So he begins turning the yellow pages of the diary looking for an entry from a particular day 8 years back……….
26 September 2014
26th September 2010, I remember it correctly. It was 4 years back this very day when I for the first time ever put my foot down, braced myself up and took a decision. A decision to chase the dream that was a consequence of a failure and a legacy. The legacy of a girl I ever loved. I never knew that decision would change me so much take so much and offer so less in return. But I soon found out the journey that I started with a companion, a journey that I had embarked on for the search of a better life for her, if not for the first few steps I would have to tread the entire journey all alone.
I had no idea if my decision to leave the thing at hand and start preparing for exams once again would bear any ripened fruit or at the least any fruit at all. That night I remember telling my father on phone “Father I want to prepare once again, I want to stand on my feet, shoulder my own burdens, give you back at least a piece of the future that you ever saw for me”. The next day I packed my bags and was out once again in the world where the competition was fierce and for each engineering seat at a coveted institution there were thousands of contenders. My father had warned me “Son, The competition out there is rising exponentially every year. When you couldn’t do it last year do you really think you will make it this year?”. Yes he was true the competition rose dramatically no doubt but so did my determination, when you combine determination with love you have a person who sees everything through a single perspective. That’s when your cognition goes out of the window and nothing can convince you to leave your stand neither father’s advice nor mother’s persuasions. Same happened with me.
Anyhow I did what I wanted, I went ahead on my decision only to find that my inspiration would leave me high and dry in the middle not offering even an explanation but just a “GOODBYE! It’s just not meant to be” card. At that point everything came crashing like a house that a person builds with so much care and affection is turned into rubble within seconds when the tornado strikes. I kept looking at the ceiling, with every deep breath I felt myself give away. But all this never made me regret my decision I collected whatever was left of me and told myself “buck up”. I made a promise not to love anyone but my parents and sister. I decided to be passive to everything from there on. I took a lifetime oath of being my only friend, and be as tough as a mountain not swayed by anything, I decided feelings will be only the last of things that I will base my decisions on and that’s when I embraced CHASTITY.
While coming to Kolkata for counseling, my mother was sitting beside me in the flight, after the flight took off she dozed off, deprived of sleep but not of determination to see her son get a seat in the college. I looked at that freckled face, eyes that drooped under the weight of my failures, a heart that asked me “life has come full circles, when will you hold the arms that had carried you and support us . It’s high time to start giving more and demanding less.” When she woke I told her “mother whatever branch I get I will take it.” I promised myself to be true to the core to myself, to never betray my parents.
Today exactly 4 years after I made that decision in Delhi , I have achieved what I promised myself and my parents. It’s not even a tad bit closer to offer anything in return for the times of distress, regret and bereavement that my parents went through for the whole of one year because of my decision that was the legacy of someone who had left me after just a first few steps.
In the College I refined myself constantly. My sole motive was to be good to everyone, to be near everyone but closer to no one. That is why when I write this excerpt from my life I have a glass beside me “celebrating my success to no one but myself and saying cheers once again 🙂 ”.
His lips curved upwards and he closed his eyes for a few minutes, trying to come out of the past memories. He shut the diary and got up. It was still pouring outside and he had a lot to do today.
“Sacrifice, what’s a sacrifice mother” enquired Keshav while trying to completing one last question before he was headed for his daily one hour playtime. Mother engrossed in churning out ghee, smiled at the question which raised a wave of thoughts about the types of sacrifices that all make at some point whether its as big as for a women quitting her job for her family or is it as small as for a father offering the last pie of food to his son and pretending that he is full, so she said to her 7 year old “its an act, the last time your 4 year old sister asked for your share of chocolate and you were so forthcoming, that was a sacrifice“
“Really mother, that’s it, so this was the sacrifice that our English teacher made a big deal out of in todays class while teaching us the topic “Bheeshm“- giving up his accession right over the kingdom for his step brother. Huh!! Anyways i was full that time that’s why sister got my share otherwise the only place that chocolate belonged was the intricacies of my stomach” said Keshav licking his lips.
Mother laughed at the innocence of her child and gave him a light pat ” haa! Do your sum” and she returned to stir the “kadai” lightly, while the child returned to his world of tricky “problems” and simple “solutions”. The aroma of ghee was slowly spilling into each and every corner of their 2 bedroom flat in the suburbs of Mumbai.
Years rolled by and while many suns went down in the marina beach Keshav grew into a teenager of 18 years, 5 ft 10 inched broad shouldered, he was now a student in one of the good b.com colleges. But as they say everyone in life has his fare share of penance and grief, so did Keshav but may be his penance was a tad more , so thought he. He was standing near his mother’s tombstone offering flowers, with father beside him. Its been 6 years since he had lost his mother to the deadly leukemia. Since then he and his father had shifted to Chennai,a city of beaches and south Indian delicacies, here Keshav found solace in roaming at the banks of river cooum or spending those after college hours sitting on the marina beach staring at the huge waves that formed a white foam on the water every time they hit the shore, gently forming white foam in water, 6 years had formed a clot on his wound but still every thing seemed to relate to her in one way or the other but the difference was that earlier these resemblings left a trail of tears but now just a half grin. Same feeling different emotions, “time is a cunning deceiver”,thought Keshav.
“No auntie, one more morsel and I feel my stomach would burst” said Keshav to Madhav’s mom
“Its your exam eat well, someone has said even soldiers did not fight on empty belly” said mrs.Khanna while coaxing him to have one more paratha.
Keshav smiled at the soldier analogy and ate the last “paratha”.
Then as was the custom both he and Madav bowed before god and mrs. Khanna offered them a spoonful of curd as a good omen.
Both Madhav and Keshav left for college with Keshav driving and Madhav sitting pillon.
This had been the custom since the past 5 years. Madhav’s father was a subordinate in Keshav’s father’s firm. They were introduced in one of the office dinners and stuck a chord immediately. Keshav had become Madhav’s best friend and mrs.Khanna’s second son.
Keshav in turn respected mrs. Khanna as his mother and Madhav was a precious asset that life had offered him and he had accepted it with both hands. Thus time gave him a second family. What a cunning deceiver the time is, surely.
3 years of college life passed. Keshav and Madhav’s friendship grew as strong as the binding between stars, invisible yet there. Now it was a time for placements and like everyone else they both were aspiring for one of those big companies. Many companies came to the campus but Madhav wanted to get placed in this particular company named ‘ignite’, both friends had to attend the interview the next day. Keshav faced a certain dilemma, he knew that his yearly scores were better than Madhav’s and if he attended the interview Madhav would stand no chance of making it to the final list. He had to make a small choice, either he could attend and get selected have a good life or he could choose the otherwise and let his friend realise his dream. He looked out of the window. The sweet shop opposite to his apartment was opened for the day and the cook was warming the frying pan, he remembered the day he had asked his mother about the meaning of sacrifice and his mother had replied ‘ its less of an act more to do with the feeling’ , today he realized the depth of her words, the thought brought a wet half smile on his face, the aroma of ghee being fried in the pan was slowly spreading into the air.
College life is surely one hell of a transition. While for me many of them were smooth but the one thing I haven’t yet been able to come to terms is the drinking habit that has come to define “mazza”(fun) in college parties. New kind of occasions are celebrated just to cater the need of beer loving taste buds with some of them being as weird as “dard mitane kii aadat”(the pain of suffering after receiving an F grade). The weirdest part is that it’s not the F grade that matters unless it gives them reasons to have some “spirit”. And hello since when was engineering all about studying and maintaining the friggin thing called “pointers” that everyone knows points nowhere. Here at VIT we find happiness in everything , isn’t it.
Sometimes during those perfectly timed bare all conversations we wonder about the kind of money that the guy at the beer shop makes. These discussions even lead to deductions that whatever be the case IT sector is saturated and the only perfect start up would be a booze shop outside the college gate. With Pondicherry nearby the fantasized estimated profit never hovers below 6 figures in a month. Phew! With That kind of money, we can even start recruiting grads the next year.
In midst of all this, a teetotaler like me is at the receiving end of the stick. One thing that my friends still have to come to terms with is my teetotalitarianism. Whenever they plan on one of those grief stricken drinking sprees there eyes dog me as if to say “till when one day you will fall for it too”. Some even remarking “poor chap how is he to drink when he is plagued with the thought of scoring a 9 pointer everytime, although seldom does that thought reciprocate into him actually scoring the damm thing”.
The regular “no I don’t drink” statement always evokes indignant whispers of “really after 3 years of college the guy hasn’t even had a drink”, “is he under some sort of a disease”, the best one “poor chap he is missing out on all the fun”. How I long to tell them that its none of those things. How I wish to tell them that I have virtually tasted all the variants of the “heavenly drink”- depressant whiskey, throat hurting tequila and stomach churning beer and I know I will be castrated for saying this but fowl smelling beer( it looked like piss to me ; really!!)
The reason to my aversion is deep buried in my past, the thing that was supposed to be medicinal for me. Its an attachment too emotional, something that I tasted during one of the first few days in hostel, that is why when they say come to the party I ask “Black tea, anyone”.
Times when moral science used to be a subject and hadn’t disappeared into the oblivion, it had taught me a few virtues and friendship was one of them, well not really a virtue per se but you take into account the feelings, conducts and rules associated to It, you have a good mixture of virtues that define friendship. When I was a kid I had friends and foes. The foes were those bad ones who had by mistake or luck happened to anger at least one of the friends and so they found themselves at the receiving end of the hatred of the whole group. So this was friendship and foe-ship , either you were in the group or out of the group. Simple isn’t it, well so thought me until came the teenage and suddenly a new kind of relationship emerged, courtesy raging hormones or whatever is the good word for it, you take away a bit of innocence from friendship , a lot of truthfulness towards parents and you have a whole new relation called “GIRLFRIENDSHIP”.
Yeah!! It is a ship that is created by stealing chunks of wood from all the other relations. The real problem starts when the “break up “happens, and suddenly you have a new set of rules governing the game. The girl who was made to be a friend of the whole group up till now, suddenly turns or is turned into an eyesore for everyone, you want it or not but that’s an unsaid and unwritten yet well understood rule that everyone has to adhere to.
So you see previously which was so simple now appears quite complex, isn’t it. First you have a friend, then that friend has a girlfriend which automatically makes her no matter how much irritating or chatty she is, your friend , and when you quite unexpectedly and luckily try to come to terms with the reality another tragedy(read: breakup) strikes. So that’s when you are in the dock. Then comes a new set of regulations under the name of “bro conduct”, which states that “the ex-girlfriend of a friend no matter how good a friend she was, is from now on ousted from the group and any act of maintaining any sort of proximity to the girl physical or verbal shall be deemed as an act of treason and in direct conflict with the friendship”. Really, is that it, is that good enough of a reason to discard, disregard and destroy a friendship with someone just because she was one of the exes of a friend which is quite contrary to the basic virtues that the friendship itself stands for. The friendship that sometime ago stood on the foundation of trust and was supported by the pillars of unity is now castrated. What if that friendship was older than the time when you first understood about this “love” let alone experience it?
Now you see how arduous it is previously you either categorized someone as friend or not a friend, so your mind had to maintain just two lists, but now you have friends then there are their current girlfriends who by default are to be shown respect and treated like a friend, then there is the list of a friend’s exes, who are to be disregarded and ignored. Thus the file system with the time gets quite complex, that ultimately you are confused and give up because it’s everyone except you who takes a call on whom you are to be friends with.
I figured out that may be the CBSE white beards were quite far sighted when they did away with the subject called moral science, when it taught you something very outdated. May be they had already foreseen the future that would ultimately end up corrupting your moral and social values, when the relations such as friendship and love which happen to be at the core of human heart are so very misunderstood and are in some serious conflict with each other. Maybe the time has come to have a new subject that would be defined on the lines of some impulsive “teenage love”, which would teach the students that ultimately it is just some fucked-up relation that ostensibly governs all the other relations or maybe I am thoroughly wrong and need to go back a few grades to have a lesson on the very obsolete “MORAL SCIENCES”.
Friendship is the string that keeps us adrift through the drearies of life, no matter the phase good or bad, nothing seems to affect a good friendship.
This friendship’s day I thought of doing something original to make this day a memorable one albeit in a very small way.
These lines are dedicated to such happening friends that I have.:)