(The concluding part – continuing from ‘Dream or Reality’)
And that’s how ‘the dream’ smiled upon me and I thanked the heavens (and I imagine that He smiled as well and acknowledged my thanks) for letting me witness that pleasant sight from a close distance (unlike school days). And then we talked (the way schoolmates begin their conversation) about the good old school days, reminiscing the notorious acts, blushing on remembering the embarrassing moments and then inquiring each other the whereabouts of other classmates. Interestingly, how often it happens in a conversation that we talk mostly about the “pleasant past” or “promising future”. On second thoughts, it happens perhaps because often the present didn’t turn out to be as pleasant as it promised.
Having almost exhausted our past memories and tracking down all the old classmates, our conversation shifted towards what happened in our personal lives. She told about her experience of studying in United States, her experience of working for an international firm for last 3 years, how she felt alienated staying away from India and that now she has decided to move back to India for good to settle down here. Hearing her rich cultural experiences, I felt that she has already experienced the whole world. On the other hand, I had to struggle around to make a living in this world. I recounted my experiences of how I struggled to get admit into any of the reputed engineering colleges in the city. Then, I decided to pursue language and communication in one of the arts colleges in the city and how I struggled there as well and just managed to scrap through with a Masters degree and after that the struggle of finding a profession to make my living. After spending a few months in frustration of unemployment, one day I decided that I should try out doing freelancing writing works. With the freelancing writing jobs, I finally started earning and how success in one of the freelancing jingle-writing contest turned out to be a career-defining moment for me. From then on, the Destiny has been kind enough to smoothen out the struggles in my life to a great extent. And now, the ‘promising future’ had prospects of a 1-year contract of a jingle-writer in an international firm based in United States.
She appeared very fascinated by my story of struggles in life (like a foreigner appears fascinated by the story of struggles of a poor guy) and I was fascinated by her story of riches in life (like a poor guy fascinated by the wealthy foreigner giving tips liberally). Although, whatever I told about my life so far was true and not dramatized, I did hide a few inner thoughts which were related to her like how she always appeared as a dream to me and that I was looking forward to the job opportunity in US as a chance to finally get rich enough to feel worthy enough of trying to reveal my feelings about her and propose her.
When we realized we have already spent considerable time hunting down the memory lanes instead of hunting down places for rent, we bid each other good-bye and I promised to meet up soon to help her with house-hunt next time (the future did look promising to me that time!). While I met her a few times in this regard of house-hunting, internally I was feeling helpless in making a crucial decision in life in which there was a conflict of interest between career and ‘dream’.
Just when I had thought, that my career path shall lead me towards her and I would have a perfect life, Life tried to test me by pitting my career against my dream and asking me to take a decision (while it was smiling mischievously seeing my indecisiveness). I knew that staying back in India wasn’t conducive to my career growth and I would hardly be able to make my ends meet. And the career of jingle-writing was highly unpredictable and one never knows when one would run out of creative ideas or get lost in the competitive world out there. As this famous jingle suggest, “when on a roll, make the most on a payroll”, the 1-year contract was kind of my first “permanent” job and I wanted to make the most of it. However, when I had first received the offer of this contract, I didn’t have such thoughts then. At that time, I was rather more excited by the prospect of working in United States and hence, the hope of seeing her and proposing her (like the perfectly laid out plans one often has of promising future). But now, when I realize that she has moved back to India, I had to reassess what are the other favorable reasons for accepting this contract.
We often curse Life for putting us in such troublesome spots but we don’t realize that how such times could be a blessing in disguise where we are forced to prioritize the things in our life as it turned out for me. And after giving much thought to logic and emotion, I decided to accept the 1-year contract and fly away from the dream. It wasn’t the case that I didn’t wish to stay back with her in India but I realized that I hated the struggles I had faced so far more than I loved her. I realized that perhaps I didn’t even love her. Maybe, I was just inspired by her because she seemed to have led such an effortless life where she got what she wished for – rosy childhood, quality education, international exposure, well-paid job. And I also wished to lead along such a life (doing it in the comfort of her company was more like an additional bonus). Having confessed to self about priorities in life, I realized how I had been fooling myself with this dream which was merely a way of inspiring self to get over the struggles in life. Hence, I decided to accept that contract and move out of her contact as well by showing reluctance in communication. If we meet again, I shall say that Destiny has been kind to me.