So I finally stopped worrying about my ‘paapi peyt’, my lifestyle, my responsibility towards my family, our cushy lifestyle, our foreign trips, our partying…actually, scratch that last one, was never a party animal, have always preferred a lazy recliner to a glitzy dance floor…and decided to reboot my life. The decision was obviously not a very easy one, because in India, you are never an individual, you are always someone whose identity is seen in context of other members of the family, and the society at large. As a result, worrying about financial security is the lesser of your worries, the bigger demon that you have to face is: Log kya kahenge, and more importantly, Mummy kya kahengi!
But as the great Lord Budhha said, “There comes a tide in the affairs of men, which you can surf to freedom…” Or maybe he didn’t, but ki farak painda hai (Did he say that, btw?)Anyways, moving on, I was talking about moving on in life. I have been working in various corporate roles for close to 17 years now (barring a few months of Force Majeure when my channel shut down abruptly), the last 13 of them in the Media industry. But all I seem to have earned for keeps in these long years is stress, monotony, malaise, and a general all-purpose ‘jadedness’. In short, I had forgotten how to smile, how to be happy…how to be ALIVE!
But then, as is customary, something happened. I turned 40 in December last year (thank you, thank you) and started becoming gloomier and moodier than usual. Only one word was playing on my mind: WHY? Why am I doing what I am doing, day in and day out? Why can’t I stop obsessing about work-related issues even when I am in the Himalayas or the Alps? I have spent 40 years living as per the expectations of others, why can’t I live for myself at least now?
Luckily for me, someone came into my life a decade ago, and has stood staunchly by me through thick and thin ever since then- my wife, Medha. She realized what I was going through, and simply said- Quit tomorrow.
I started prevaricating as usual- But, magar, kaise, not now….But she said- If not now, when? Considering our lifestyles, health levels, and the state of planet earth, we anyways don’t have too long to live, so why worry about saving for a future that may never even come, and screw your today in the process?
After a lot of introspection, self-doubt, and consideration, I realized- Baat mein dum toh hai! And promptly went ahead and quit my job.
So with that out of the way, what now? My brief to myself is very clear- I want to do something that makes me happy. And ever since I was a little, roly-poly (Mother-speak for FAT) kid, nothing has made me happier than the written word. In an ideal world, I would love to put my feet up and keep reading the whole day, but unfortunately, don’t think anybody is going to pay me for it. Actually, why not? People get paid for much worse… please let me know if you know of such an opportunity na.
So I have decided to become a full-time writer instead. I don’t have much writing experience professionally, but it is something for which I don’t need validation from anyone, and it gives me a deep sense of contentment and joy. What else does a 40-year old unemployed man want in life!