I was greeted by light Mumbai drizzles. I can’t explain you the pleasure of coming come after a gap of 8 months. When my plane landed on Mumbai airport, it was difficult to believe that just 24 hours before I was slogging on the final part of the project. These IT projects I tell you seem to be on track for the first 99% of the part and then just at the last moment something goes wrong. Anyway past is past. I want to thoroughly enjoy these 5 days with my friends and family.
I told my plans of going to Pune next day to meet college friends, while taking out gifts from my bag. Mom complained as usual. Dad showed no emotions (as usual). There was contempt in her eyes. With pride she was announcing my arrival to neighbors. I had become hero of the building for that day; or at least that is what I would like to believe. I have almost become used to hearing some uncle asking me for my help in getting a good job for his son in our company. It was difficult to explain them, so I never did. I used to dryly ask them to email me the resume. This trick worked all the time. I never used to get any email. The bottom of the story is that young guys in our colony wanted to emulate my success and their parents were envious of me. I really never bothered. I was her to meet my family.
I was not surprised to hear the compliments from my friends too. It was an unexpected boom in my career. Compared to last year, my progress chart has taken a vertical take-off. Even I don’t know how. So I realized that I have climbed up one more step in Moslow’s pyramid. My success and me overall was socially validated. From my childhood I wanted to be center of attraction. May be that’s why I was so glad with myself.
It was Saturday afternoon. Everyone had gone to temple. I followed atheism quite religiously right since my childhood. And no one forced me or convinced me to believe in god. So I was alone in my house, in my room, in front of my old PC. I replied to my friends, checked newspaper sites, uploaded pics on facebook, checked a few profiles here and there, and then suddenly for the first time after 8 months I dint know what to do. It was as if I was trying to run away from this hollowness since last 8 months and today it had caught up with me. And today I dint resist it. After all I was the winner today, or was I?
This was the room I used to work on my not-so-clear dream project. Nothing had changed. It was the same old fan which was throwing warm air on my face. Yes it used to be the same time when I used to take break. Youth is cursed with unrealistic expectations from yourself. And one day someone or something shows you the mirror, and you get realistic with life. The story repeats generations after generations.
“Social Cafeteria” caught my eyes. I right clicked it and clicked on properties. It was last modified almost 9 months before, and created almost an year before that. What a crazy idea it was to bring social organizations and good people together on one platform. It was more than a website for me. It was my dream. Things dint quite work out. To tell a long story short, I gave up. I turned my back on my dreams never to return back.
Gosh it seems like ages ago. I remembered those old days. I had resigned from my earlier job along with four of my friends. I dint have much money, dint have much social contacts, rather dint have time to enjoy my life. I dint have time to enjoy the normal life, I never really wanted to be normal. But still I was ME, I was taking on the World single-handedly especially after other 3 made excuses and found safe jobs for themselves. I dint want to see them this time. Even though I was failing everyday, every hour, I still felt proud of being me. It was the only time spent doing what I wanted to do, it was the only time in my life I experienced true Freedom. It was just like old schooldays. Alas! All good things in life have to come to an end. Everyone has to become “Practical” one day; everyone has to fall in line, to conform with the society outside, who is constantly judging you based on your professional success. Today I have everything that I was longing for in those crazy days. It’s just that I am not me anymore. And I doubt I will ever be now. Everything in the room was the same. I was the only thing that had changed.
God(?) had given me one chance to prove myself, to be myself rather. I wish I had shown some more courage, be more optimistic, had not wasted my time on doubting myself. Today I hate to report to the idiot boss I have. I hate to see her going out with some Investment banker guy (who happens to be my bloody boss’s bloody younger son) from some shit US bank. Now she is above me, and I have to call her ma’am.
I remembered writing a blog post( btw I stopped writing a long time back, I do not even remember my password). I wrote about a possible incidence: I have a flight to catch at 8 am. I have to reach Delhi by 2 pm. I have work pending there. It’s going to be a busy day. I came to the corner of the road, I see my cab with an open back door. How would it feel to see a cab ready to take you to the airport, a cab ready with its back door opened. This is what I wrote: “It felt horrible. It felt like a lost opportunity. My life could have been different and much better had I tried little harder . I imagined myself turning back and going back to my home to pursue my dream.”
That was not what happened on Monday morning. I had a strong urge to go back to my home. It was difficult to say good-bye to my family and to my dream. I had failed it once more.
Shit! How could I have not anticipated a delay, especially in the heavy monsoon season? I have a new project waiting for me in the afternoon. I could delay the video conferencing with the client by an hour. But it was not going to be enough. I imagined my boss giving me a firing in front of everyone, including my juniors and including her…. his would be bloody daughter in law.
It was then I saw through corner of my eyes a middle aged man in t-shirt, blue denim jeans looking at me with a smile on his lips. “Your generation is so incapable to accept unexpected delays”. His words caught me off guard.
“Pardon me?”, I said.
“You can call me Rakesh”, he said extending his arm.
Even though I was not in a mood to talk to anyone right now, there was something about him. You know the type of guys whose mere presence make you feel uncomfortable. And the worst part is you do not know why. Not talking to him seemed rude. I am aloof, I am self centered, I am introvert, but I am surely not rude. I said hi to him. We started off with an on and off conversation. It really irritated me when he dint show any excitement after I told him my job position and my employer.
He introduced himself as Technical director of Elexis ( a shorthand form for Electronic systems. Yuk!What a weird name.) He along with three other friends had formed this company in 90’s. They were specialized in making electronic systems for various purposes, like testing for adulterated milk, making a emergency call system for the doctors on the round, etc. I dint understand much. But I could not miss the sparkle in his eyes. And yes I was so surprised to know that he was 57! He looked so healthy, so full of energy. He told that he used to be a marathon runner, thank to his flexible schedule on his company.
I asked, “Don’t you get bored of making the same kind of systems?”. He gave me a pitied look, as if I had missed the whole plot of the story. He told me that when he was a kid, his father had bought him a make at home radio kit. He still remembered his joy while working on the radio set. Ever since then he is making those toys and getting paid handsomely for it! He said in fact he was making something similar. He showed me his presentation on his laptop.
I told him about my site. I told him my sorry story. He said had he given up like me, he would have never got a chance to enjoy this life. And such situations are bound to come if you are in business. He said that I gave up too soon.
“What is the URL?”, he asked.
I typed it. The site opened. I still remembered the admin password! : impossibleisnothin !! How ironic! He said with wide eyes, I must be craziest, the dumbest person on the Earth to abandon something as beautiful as that. The angry face of my boss seemed receding in my view. It was as if he was losing importance in my life.
“The problem with your generation is you fall in love with money too soon in your life. You have patience for nothing. Money is important, but it’s too cheap a currency to chase for your entire lifetime.”
I heard an announcement. He quickly closed his laptop, gave me his card, and wished me good luck for choosing a right path in life. I saw him moving out of the gate. Someone had again shown me a mirror. No someone had slapped me hard and had woken me up from my deep slumber.
I checked on my cab driver. He was still lingering around. He looked surprised to hear from me. He parked his cab outside Gate 1B. I walked towards the cab: the cab with its back door opened.