"Being reflective” is not a mode that I go into often. I try not to reflect too much on the past, because somewhere in there exists a list. A list that shows me the tasks that I never completed despite numerous promises that I’ve made. And they mock me. For being a procrastinator and pushing these tasks away into the darkest domains of my universe, where they lie gathering dust. But it’s not always doom and gloom. For within the blackness of the cavern, some achievements, tiny as they may seem, push me on guiding me like a shining beacon of light. Over the past year, my life as I know it has changed. Quite drastically might I add. We moved back to India after a long stint in London. The point was to be closer to our roots, family and the rest of the usual logic that most of us “foreign-returns” claim the reason to be. The truth of course is a lot deeper and not one that I can unravel in a single post. So I shall not.
Deep down (no, not that deep down), I knew I needed a change in career. I was good at what I did and success wasn’t too far behind. But I’ve never known the feeling that people who “love” their jobs claim to have. That feeling where you can’t wait to wake up in the morning to start your routine. That feeling that makes “your job” feel like it’s the most natural thing in the world to you. I’ve searched high and low for something that gives me that feeling. But despite my academic journey taking me through the “shadowy realms of engineering” and the “roller coaster of a Master’s degree from a reputed foreign university”, I had still never been closer to discovering what I actually wanted. And that nagging feeling continued till September last year, when I finally hit the number that a lot of people in my age bracket seemed to dread. No, I did not wake up on my 30th birthday, and say “Eureka! I know what I want!”. Rather, for the first time in my life, I did a bit of introspection. And as a result, I started iWroteThose - which is probably what I’m most known for now.
My blog has certainly evolved over time. I've dabbled in almost every category of posts - from reviews and stories to parenting and rants disguised as opinions. And finally, NINETY-NINE posts, TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND views and ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN THOUSAND words later, I'm here - Post#100. All this in a rather short span of SEVEN months. I suppose I can confidently say that “ writing “ is definitely my calling.
For those of you who have been reading me regularly, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude. In a world filled with “back-scratching” politics and often senseless comments, you have been the sole source of inspiration for me to "keep calm and carry on writing", as they say in good ol’ England. So thank you!
Before I wind up, for those of you who may be reading this (seriously, if you still are, you are nothing short of a legend), I'd like to narrate something that happened a couple of days ago.
I am a work-from-home dad and proud of it. Over the past fourteen months, there is only one question that I’ve been repeatedly asked - So, what do you do? (Click to read that post). As I’ve mentioned in the post, I’ve come to realise that my honest answer is capable of evoking the famous Indian “judgemental eye-roll and disappointed nodding of head”. But I suppose over time, I’ve developed the hide of a beast and rather than feel overwhelmed, it merely flows off my toughened exterior, sort of like water of a duck’s back.
The other day, I got stuck in an elevator with an elderly gentleman who was dressed in a white “veshti" (or dhoti) and a crisp khadi shirt. Now, along with being a wee bit claustrophobic, I am not a big fan of getting stuck in an elevator with people who are fond of asking questions. So when BESCOM (our electricity provider) decided to pull the plug, this very anti-social me was stuck in the lift with this rather affable octogenarian. I’ve come to realise that most traditional and elderly “uncles” in our community love to ask that dreaded question. And this one was no different. No sooner than had we flashed each other a polite smile, he asked (might I add, in impeccable accent-free English) - So, what do you do? I suppose the question probably arose from the fact that I had a bag full of grocery shopping and it was about 11am in the morning on a weekday. I mean, he was probably trying to gauge why I wasn’t at work, as every normal Indian man of non retire-able age should be. According to society that is.
Usually when I’m faced with this question, I often retort with the answer, “I work from home as a content writer”. Which to be honest is true. I do a reasonable amount of writing work for a fee. However this time around, I confidently answered “I’m a writer.” I then stared at his face waiting for that polite smile to change into an uncomfortable one, which would then be quickly followed by the eye roll and nodding head. Strangely, the polite smile turned into a beaming one. I’m almost certain that I even saw his eyes twinkle slightly behind the thick-set spectacles that adorned his face. For a moment, I wondered if he’d heard something else. Surely, this wasn’t the reaction that I was supposed to get. The backup power came on and the lift slowly started to chug its way up to the eighth floor where I would disembark. The man was still smiling and it looked like my answer had invoked some nostalgia in him. I hoped that the memories were pleasant. Suddenly he stopped smiling and asked, “What’s your name, young man?” “It’s Sid.” I answered, still wondering when the smile would disappear.
For the rest of the upward journey, the man remained silent. As the lift doors opened my portal to the eighth floor, I quickly flashed a cordial smile at him and started to exit. “Sid,” he called out. I stopped and turned around. “For over 40 years, I have interviewed several generations of youngsters for various roles. They were Engineers, IT professionals, IIM and IIT graduates, MBAs - you name the type, I've seen them." he said, the smile slowly reappearing. He continued, "But none of them have ever answered my question with so much conviction as you have today. I don’t know anything about you or your background, but the confidence and passion that you have in what you do shines through in those words that you spoke. I wish you all the luck.”
As the doors to the lift closed, I stood there shell-shocked by the conversation that had just transpired. It took me a few moments to regain my composure and as I walked into my house, for the first time in ages, I felt I had made the right choice in life. Ironically, the last time I’d felt so, was when I had incessantly pursued my wife, Janaki, to say yes to my proposal. And we know how that turned out. :)