For years, she had been trying to get through to him. She couldn’t help wanting to. She felt deep inside her that they were alike, that their souls were made of the same fabric. When he talked about his trials, she fervently nodded (in her head)..her trials were the same too. After what felt like eras of puzzling over doubts that haunted her, she found another who had wondered too. To know that they had shared those few important thoughts made him seem akin in a way that she couldn’t put into words. She wanted to carry this unexpected friend along as a torch against all the darkness she saw in her mind. Because, she thought, only he knew the nature of that darkness.
As I sit through long bus-rides in Bangalore’s crazy-making traffic, my mind often conjures up visions where I’m far more accomplished than I am in real life..I’m usually a famous pianist, playing an incredibly difficult piece with very becoming nonchalance, in a dreamy evening dress.
Sometimes, to break the monotony of being a imaginary pianist, I try being an imaginary author sitting at a book-launch, kurta and jeans, very successful and very humble. Then again, sometimes in my head, I’ve saved a lot of people from starvation, in a crisp cotton sari ( The attire is usually as vivid in my imagination as the deed). I’ve also occasionally had more modest callings, such as a teacher of English or a Japanese translator, and some very improbable ones such as being a baking/yoga instructor.
Like Lenka says in her anthem..” All I want to be is everything at once!”
Years ago, a career counselor set me a task – to make a list of potential professions I might want to pursue. I took a big white chart and filled every inch of it. I was taken aback myself, and I fancy the counselor would’ve been flabbergasted and sent me away ( which I pre-empted by not going back at all). A decade down the line, my list is definitely way smaller, but there are still too many entries. I’ve never been one of those who knew from an early age ( or a later age ) what they wanted to do. My ambition is of the nature of an out-of-control garden hose, with force, but without direction.
When I was younger, it did not occur to me that a tepid-to-warm interest in too many areas could lead to inaction. I fancied growing up to be a charming polymath. But a tendency to occupy anything but the present moment spoiled my plans. I found myself singing and thinking of work, working while framing a poem in my head, writing and wondering if I should be exercising. Buddha and other famous Zen people would shake their heads in sorrowful but accepting resignation.
There are times when I think that I should pick one amongst the array of options, and Focus. Focus, my nemesis. And I’ve hardly begun to act upon the thought when my mind starts to present tantalizing images of everything else I’m not focusing on. Maybe my psyche could’ve managed in an earlier, simpler age. Perhaps it would have reveled in the modest number of life and career choices available. For I am nothing else, if not a poster girl
for being spoilt for choice.
We met on a crisp summer morn
A great blue sky, of any clouds shorn
We met on a fresh green carpet where
There was magic afoot, I could swear
We met in the dazzling light a moment before
I knew that my heart was mine no more