It’s been a little more than three months, and date night is here again. I still remember the first conversation vividly, even though it was years ago. They say time flies. The last time you listened in was 15 weeks ago…105 days ago…2520 hours ago… (You know the numbers are just an attempt at build-up)
(Did I get you, though? :P)
I’m bursting with questions for TOM. The past quarter year has been eventful. I’m nervous, anxious, excited and a hundred things all at once. But putting all these thoughts away, I greet TOM with a radiant smile. You got this right… This smile has been perfected in office… Just about welcoming enough to make you look amiable from afar, but not warm enough to induce conversation beyond “What’s up?”
Me: Hi TOM! How you doing?
TOM: Oh, hello! I’ve been wonderful… busy soaking up the new city, new people, your new stint. It’s all been incredible so far. I’ve thought about thanking you a hundred times for all this but decided against it. I know you’ll take credit for everything even when you had no hand in this.
Me: ** Sheepish ** Well, I did move cities, no?
TOM: Only out of compulsion. And honestly tell me, weren’t you only too happy to leave Mumbai behind? Aren’t you dreading your impending return to the city?
Me: You’re my inner voice dude! Shut up! You’re not supposed to shout this out from the rooftops. What if my colleagues read this? ** turns back to see one of them hastily closing their browser window ** There you go! I’ve had it now. ** sits down dejectedly **
TOM: Well well… at least you are seated now. Tell me child, what’s been troubling you? I know I’m not the cause of that sudden outburst.
Me: Why do you think I’m speaking with you TOM? I wouldn’t come to you if I weren’t confused. Who cares about you when all is hunky-dory?
TOM: That was just the tiniest bit hurtful.
Me: Apologies. That did sound worse than it is. You know how it is. Everything seems to be going fine. Just then a question pops up in your head, “What now?” And you’re sent into a frenzy because you do not have an answer. For the longest time I’ve had one or the other goal in life. I’ve always worked towards something. Be it getting into the college of my choice, securing the first rank, getting the lead in that dance team… there has always been something to look forward to. And what now?
TOM: Go on, I’m listening.
Me: I’m in such a flux. Working a regular job where my career path has already been decided by some man in a business suit just doesn’t seem appealing enough. What do I have to do to get that promotion? Just be a good girl, keep my head down, and work. Nothing more. Where is the excitement in all of this? You will not believe me when I say that in the past two weeks I’ve thought about each one of these:
· Training to be psychologist
· Opening yoga camps
· Being a restaurateur
· Opening a kid’s library
· Developing a technology for payment tracking
· Getting a Masters in English Literature
· Getting a Masters in Psychology
· Sitting for UGC NET
· Opening a YouTube cookery channel
I’m not even talking about me trying my hand at writing. Do you see how conflicted I am?
TOM: I’m still reading that list…
Me: Exactly my point. I wake up wanting to be one thing, and sleep wanting to be another. How do I decide where do I want to go? How do I set a new goal in life? What if all these twenty-five years of hard work are completely irrelevant in that new field?
TOM: For once I’m afraid I’m speechless. You’ve been preparing this script for some time now, no?
Me: It has been on my mind, yes.
TOM: Knowing the person that you are, I don’t see a reason why you can’t be each of those things. You are a determined one. Let me think what’s stopping you then.
** Finally, I’ve got her thinking. Calls for a little victory dance **
** TOM snaps out of her ‘deep’ thought **
It’s simple. You’re uncertain about where you want to be because you’re unsure of how it will be when you get there. Will it be better than your present situation? You don’t know. Honestly, you’ve never had it tough in life. All you did was study. You’re earning good money, but you don’t know what to do with it. Neither do you know how else to earn the comfortable life you have. You’ve always done the one thing you were best at, while dabbling in others for fun. You’re reaping rich returns, but now you want more. You don’t want the first twenty-five years of your life to dictate the coming seventy-nine.
Did I get it right?
Me: Are you sure you didn’t smoke up by mistake?
TOM: ** bursts out laughing ** When you’re me, a mere spectator, it’s not very difficult to figure people out. As you once said, I don’t have to deal with the practicalities of this world. I have ample time to think. I wake up in a silent room, only after you’ve put your laptop and yourself to sleep.
Me: But what do I do now? You haven’t given me any answers.
TOM: Those are for you to find…
That’s when TOM spots a plate of chhole bhature behind me. I hate how these conversations end so abruptly. But God knows we’ve been missing those bhaturas here in Bangalore. Who can stand up to good food? Not me, not TOM…
Until next time folks!