Of late I have become very introspective. Very calm and deep in thoughts, or not thinking at all. I don’t know why this introspection, but I guess this is a kind of a stage in a man’s life. It’s allmost unavoidable as mid-life crisis, I guess.
I have started questioning my existence. Why am I here in the first place. I am 27-28 now and what have I achieved in life? In the sense, what was the need for me to take birth at all? Just to add to the numbers? But it was my firm belief that every little particle in this earth has some kind of purposes. It was my belief…may be a year-ago. When I was a little younger.
I think this age at a man’s life is quite revolutionizing, in the sense, it’s just like teens, when you are coming out of your childhood and is quite undecided of the world in front of you. You see people are responding differently to you. You get excited and astonished hearing your own voice, why blame others?
I guess my age has also some kind of connotation in the growth process. I am approaching thirty. My body has started depositing fat. I could feel the heaviness. I am getting bulkier. Whereas at one point of time, I was wondering why my cheeks should not be fleshy enough, why it should remain like that of a Somalian drought victim? Ah…I hope I get those lithe look. It was much better. My face was not good enough to hook a girl. No, I never expected a girl to get impressed by my appearance. So I concentrated on other tricks. Now that I am putting on weight, I don’t think I have the urge to impress chicks anymore.
Oh, I digressed…sorry. I was talking about this age being a crucial point. Two-and-a-half year and I will be in my thirties. Gosh! Can’t believe it. I still can remember the day I celebrated my twenty. And my twenty-one is still vivid in my eyes for several reasons, feels like yesterday. Twenty-four, I got my first job. I left Calcutta and started for Shillong. I still remember mother was packing my goods when tears rolled my eyes. I realized, for the first time, that the boat is lifting its anchor. It will never return to its original port. No…the safety, security, callousness and happy-go lucky attitude has suddenly vaporized. Now it’s the time to fend myself. From this point, I have to fend myself and possibly a many others.
When I was saying goodbye to Maa and touched her feet, she started crying so heavily, I felt like dropping my baggage and settle for the old life again. But the call from the wide wild world was too tempting to resist. That time I took my mother’s love for granted. Years of undiluted love from my parents and siblings made me thought that love is very cheap and is very tiring.
Oh! How wrong I was. Love is the only factor that keeps a human being running. The commodity that was in abundance at a point of time became so scarce now, that I became shameless in snatching some kind of love from somebody. Love, that doesn’t demand back.
When I was in Shillong, we had Tultul-di in canteen. She was the didi, or elder sister of everybody, including me. But quickly I found a mother in her. May be because, others were all locals and had a family, nobody cared for the deep love and affection her heart stored. I was lonely and was desperately searching for somebody who would shower me with unconditional love. Just like my mother. She quickly became a mother-replacement for me. So much so that, till this date, I feel a duty and responsibility towards her as her son would have felt for her. I don’t know. May be when she is old and frail and not able to look after herself properly, I might bring her back to stay with me, with my family. Though she has a family of her own, but I guess it should not be a problem. She is not married and her family is really her brothers’.
After almost one-and-half year, I left Shillong. Now this time, I learnt the greatest lesson in my life. I learnt, that I am a shitty emotional guy and quite incapable of controlling my emotions and be harsh enough to do a career for myself. I realized I spread my roots too much. It was paining very much to detach myself from my second home Shillong. I was in love with Didi. I was in love with my office, I had a Guru and brother in E.M. Jose, our chief reporter. It had become a habit to feed all the stray dogs in the locality early in the morning. All the dogs used to sit just outside my door waiting for me to wake up.
I used to get only Rs. 1,500, or a little more than U.S. $30 a month. There were many days when I had to go empty stomach, too ashamed to ask Didi to give me something to eat because I didn’t had money to pay her. But I never forgot to buy a full loaf for my dogs in Shillong. I used to save money only for that purpose. And many a times, we used to share the loaf. I used to divide it into six parts. One for me and the rest for the five pets.
At first, I used to loath this poverty. I am from a quite well-off family. I had everything, every comfort possible under the sun at my home in Calcutta. But soon I was in love with my poverty. At last something was my own!
When the call came to leave for Bangalore, I was ecstatic that my new salary would give me all those comforts and many more that I left behind. But when the day of parting came close by, I was at a loss. It was a painful, very very painful experience. I remember I stopped crying only when I reached Guawahati. For the last three- four hours, I was crying. I partied whole night. A very humble party that my Chief Reporter EM Jose had organized for me. Mcdowell whisky with water from the nearby spring and chicken.
Five of us--Jose, me, Om, Naresh and Sumit Kar sat at the room just below the printing press. The giant press was printing the morning edition with a deafening sound that gives you a headache. The entire room was shaking. We were oblivious of what might happen if the ceiling caves in. I was happy my paper was getting published. Page one being subbed by my. I was the one responsible for selecting the news for the page one. It was an honour that no amount of money can give you. Waking up in the morning and seeing a group of people scrambling for and reading the paper in a group done by you…it’s a heavenly experience.
They gave me the first printout. I left Shillong and my heart behind.
From that point of time I have decided not to fall in love with anything that is for momentary and temporary. Nope, I am not in love with Bangalore, because I was too careful to spread my roots here. But still I get weak and fumble when I see somebody extending me love. It’s quite scary! I try to my best to avoid that person and even stop communicating with him/her. Still he/she thinks that it was a wrong person to shower love to.
Actually, after Shillong, I realized that I am a boat. My anchor has been lifted. Now I have to drift along. It’s no good to fall in love with the weeds holding you momentarily. It becomes painful later on.
But I have become introvert and am brooding on the past. Doesn’t make sense to write this long, but these days I am not writing for anybody. I am writing for myself. So I won’t mind if you decide to leave in the mid-way.
Until some time back, I thought I have some purpose in life and that I am not an ordinary man. That I won’t let me become an ordinary man.
But after some incidents and as I mature, it’s quite evident that being a common man is the highest achievement a man can get. To live life unnoticed, unhindered, unlicensed and to die without thinking too much about anything. No, I am serious. A common man with no aspiration is the most clever and practical man possible. Why get fooled nurturing high ambitions? Why not try to be a good ordinary man, who cries at a little injustice and laughs at the slightest silly joke. Why not be an ordinary man?
But then, why these thoughts are crossing my mind? Is that because I am going to touch thirty? Is that because I am getting heavier and don’t have the physical might to challenge the world. So settling down for a much accepted escape route is wise and prudent? Am I compromising with my dreams?
No, I don’t think so. I think everybody has this realization at some point in their life. At some point of time a man is forced to think the purpose of his life. I think I have decided my own fate.
I will live and die a commoner. How dare I challenge and provoke the ancient wisdom of a commoner?
And I think like a commoner, I should settle soon. It’s time to heed mother’s plea. I will get myself a wife very soon. I will have a family of my own. I need rest and some warmth. And if possible, love!