As I made my way into yet another crowded bus to reach office I chanced to overhear two college students discussing life, work and studies and bikes. I couldn’t help but listen to them as they discussed about joining work after their 12th and about money they’d need to repair their bikes and the road they took to get to wherever they were going. And that was enough to get me started.
I pondered about where had all our childhoods gone. Were they a part of history to be remembered when those dusty photo albums were perused? Or was what we enjoyed growing up still as much a part of us as it was then?
I realised we didn’t let ourselves stay as we are for any time at all. Always the pressure to perform, to excel and to make your mark. For a society that had become as unforgiving and uncompromising as ours, the race was always on.
A city like Mumbai can best be described as a spinning top or a hurricane that never stops. You just get drawn to the high speed with which it moves and before you know it you’re in. While we all live in this world where few things matter, I can’t help but wonder are we there yet? When are we going to reach a point when we decide “Oh yes I’m happy”. Is it feasible to always live with a feeling that you’re dispensable?
I spent the entire day pondering on these lines. Work and the pressure to do well seemed the only thing on my mind. There was a rush to meet deadlines and my mind strayed thinking that whatever I did was never enough. What actually gave us happiness? Was it doing a good job and drawing a good paycheck or was it doing something you actually loved and being critiqued for making the choice early. In this dream-killer society was it safe enough to dream anymore when you knew that the fabric of your fantasy was going to melt away in the face of someone’s acidic critique? Did it matter to stand up for yourself or listen to people who cared for you? These thoughts troubled me.
That evening as I made my way home, I had the urge to go on the terrace and stare at the city. The sun was setting illuminating the sky in verdant red, lush blue and a pensive grey. Cool winter winds enveloped me. There I was staring at the bustling city running to meet some unknown target. Everybody ran in Mumbai, nobody walked or stopped. Thousands of lights illuminated the dark and from up there everything seemed tiny. The feeling of being at a height has always fascinated me. Somehow problems seem tinier when you fly with them in the air. You suddenly realise at some point while you fly, let yourself soar, your troubles leave you behind. Just the altitude you see a bigger picture.
It struck me that although we had enough troubles of our own, it didn’t matter if we knew all the answers. We didn’t need to know all the answers now. They say life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. Yes the world was harsh, uncompromising and deadline obsessed. All of us have our own battles to fight and our own wars to win. Someday I’m sure we’d get to where we always wanted to be. But for now as the city welcomed a night to rest from the pressures of the day, it was just enough to get home. And that’s what I did.
Are we there yet? Someday we’ll know. For now, let’s just go home.