As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?
A Filmy Hero!
My grandfather was fond of films. As a very young kid I used to spend a lot of time with him watching films. I used to watch heroes in films who were able to do amazing deeds of courage and valour. They had great characters and capability to help others. They were self-sacrificing and they were rock solid in the face of calamities, helping others tirelessly. They could do incredible things, but they were not merely to show-off, they were the need of the hour. I wanted to become a hero like them. I told this to my grandfather and to my family members.
My grandfather told me that there was an easy way to become a hero like those we used to watch in the films. He told me that there was a small hole behind the TV which was a portal to Bombay Bollywood. He told me that when time was ripe, he would send me there and I would do all those amazing things my heroes were doing! I was thrilled and I used to fantasize doing those things. Jumping to 4th floor of a building from the ground floor, driving race bikes at full speed, fighting many villains with ease, saving poor, weak, children and women and much more while waiting for time to become ripe!
The time never became ripe. I kept tweaking the back of the TV, looking for that magical hole forever. Then someone wise in the family told me that my grandfather had made a fool of me! For a while I was dejected and furiously cursed him, but then I understood why he might have said what he said. A bit later I started understanding that those heroic acts of courage shown in films were merely works of camera. I lost interest in becoming a phony hero!
A Martial Man!
Now another fever took over me. It was patriotism. I was so moved by people in army and their power. I feel it was because there was something martial in me right from birth. I wanted to fight for a cause! I decided that I will die for my country like those military officers.
My family members observed that my conviction was becoming deeper by day. They tried to persuade me for something else–since I was so fond of holding a gun, they suggested that becoming a superintendent or a commissioner of police might be a wonderful idea. That way I need not necessarily go away from family to fight on border of the country and still get to shoot using a gun!
Scientist and Philosopher!
This stayed with me until I started reading some books. When I started reading, I was fascinated by the vast amount of knowledge before me. Then I wanted to become a scientist. I wanted to know nature and life. I can’t say whether I really wanted to become a scientist or a philosopher. By nature I was a mystic and I wanted to become a scientist for earning a living. Then I scored well in some exams and became a local hero for a while–this made my family members very proud and then they wanted me to become an officer in administrative services, because, firstly, they earned a handsome salary; secondly, they have a lot of power.
The IAS officer as a goal stayed for couple of years until my maternal uncle suggested me to prepare for engineering entrance examination. He was the most successful professional in our family and it was obvious for my parents to follow him. Though I had different things in mind, as it happens in the most middle class Indian families, I was forced to do what my parents wanted me to do.
During the preparations of that entrance examination, I had to undergo severe gestation period. The throat-cut competition, unforeseen course material to manage, new city, bad health and sentimental nature–all of them created a nightmarish existence for me. For about 6 months I was as miserable as it gets. I had gastric ulcer, trouble in breathing, insomnia, hypertension and caught malaria too.
Parents were never a solace. I resorted to meditation and breathing. I realized that I had wasted all my life, till then, on some marksheets. I was not living, but rather chasing some illusory goals set by my sleepwalking parents who were actually chasing some other illusory goals set by some other sleepwalking people, under the illusion that they will make them happy, one day, eventually! I realized that all my student life I had worked hard all year-long to wait for those colorful marksheets. They either made me elated or devastated. They had such power on me. I decided to get out of the rat race. I decided to be free from the rut. I decided to move out of the competition, not because I was too weak, but because I wanted to live!
I devoted myself in rhythmic breathing technique I invented. This technique healed me within 2-3 month completely. I had already stopped chasing those academic goals. My parents became my worst nightmare. They showed their darkest colors and existence became both blissful and nightmarish at the same time in following months. I had decided to not to study anymore. My parents persuaded me to study engineering and I accepted it as it gave me a chance to stay away from the nightmare of living near them. I rarely used to go to meet them. This continued and flow of life made me a software professional, though my heart was never into it.
Software Professional Who Wanted To Become A Writer!
The software professional was a scribbler so occasionally dreamed of becoming a writer too. But soon he realized that it’s way-too-much of effort trying to become a writer. Writers were a-dime-a-dozen and why would he walk the same road again? The greatest current of life hit him again and he became a devotee, a renunciate and carefree as a child.
A filmy hero, military man, policeman, martial artist, scientist, philosopher, administrative officer, engineer, software professional, writer to a renunciate it’s something which I never imagined. I think, in a way I am still the same child who wants to do heroic deeds by alleviating suffering of those around him. He wants to heal others. But in a way, I don’t want to accomplish anything whatsoever.
Conclusion or Lack of it!
I feel I am complete. Striving as a desperate person trying to achieve an ambition is not in my mind-stuff anymore. I live day-to-day, moment-to-moment. I don’t worry about meeting any goals. I feel life is a strange mystery and it has a strange current. When it touches you, the outer becomes the inner and the inner becomes the outer and if you managed to read it this far, please don’t ask me what this means!