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.
Swiftly and slowly it comes down from the skies, trying to figure out a way to its destination. Weird it is how we always try to go to the top whereas it is determined to touch the ground. It tries to sway a little as if buying time before reaching the destination It reminds me of something that still eludes me. Something that every now and then approaches me in disguise and before I could hold it, have it and feel it, it vanishes as the early morning purple that precedes the yellow that sets in welcoming the golden sun.
It is frail and short and guided by wind. I see it struggling against the breeze so I put out my hand to hold it with an intention to protect it and care for it just then it glides sways the other way and escape my hold. I close my fist thinking I have caught it. But as always it deceives my anticipation and expectations. I eye it closely this time determined to hold it with an act that is more out of fear of failure than the protective instinct. This time the touch is soft and velvet I smile knowing I have caught it. With a feeling of win I open my fist to see and look at my achievement.
I find it crumpled under the confines of my fist. It now looked fragile and afraid. It is white and gets darker near the core as if hiding things in its heart. Maybe the secret of longing eyes and secretive smiles that it encounters in its journey is held in its core. On viewing it more closely I find it comes from a far off place and from an unknown bird that I did not know of before, the guilt sets in.
The breeze grows stronger with each passing second. It begins to flutter on my palm as if trying to take a flight and making one more of those umpteen attempts to travel far and wide before touching its Ithaca, the ground.
I resent ultimately understanding that it is never mine. Its beauty is coupled with the air it flies in, the terraces it land upon and the million palms that try to hold it. I smile at my fate. I open my palm more and more and more until the fingers straighten, to help it take off. It takes off with the help of the wind and goes far and goes wide as if smiling at deceiving me once again. I eye it as far as I can until it goes beyond my reach. I know one day at some point of life when I am sitting at the terrace brooding over the present and future it will come and sit in my lap reminding of something from the past but this time I will not hold but let it fly, maybe I will help it fly.
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.