These days I get off work early. Not because I dont have anything to do but because I have so much to do. I know at the end of the evening when I am well fed, thanks to my roomies, I will have to power on my laptop and start working. And so I get off early from office so as to save a little time here and there not worrying about work.
On one of such days, I was sitting outside the Starbucks on the Preston and Frankford intersection with my friends - Mayura and Abdul. With our favorite Chai Tea Latte, we talked about almost everything under the sun.
A couple of other people sat next to us.. a happy hoard of friends catching up with each other's lives. A cute baby boy threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming to have something he wanted and his parents wouldn’t approve of. A cute dog sat on the lap of a lady and tried licking Abdul’s neck from behind. Abdul ducked just in time. The crying baby got us started on how we were as kids and how disciplinarian our parents were.
As even the life goes, we then moved to our adolescence days. With love and all the other troubles, there is one more thing that captures your fancy those days. Its your career and your calling. I want to keep these separate since not everyone gets to have a career where their calling is. I tried thinking what my favorite field was then. I think I wanted to be a journalist.. not necessarily a war-journalist or something. I was always too scared of death..even in those days. I wanted to search, compile and write. A few years down the line, I did exactly the same but it wasn’t for a newspaper. I was writing pieces of code. Search on Google, compile in local editor and write my name on it. So my first so called calling did not see light of the day.
The next one I suppose was medicine. I have always been fascinated by this branch of science. Everyday the world comes up with new explanation for something that was unknown till yesterday..about the Human body and the mind and still there is so much to explore. I loved the Neuroscience especially. So I spent huge amount of time reading medical journals and whatever that I could find about medicine – surgery in particular. All this reading did me no good except that I learned a new fact about myself that I was and still am a highly hypochondriac person. I see all the symptoms in me the moment I read about a disease. So at one point of time, I was convinced, I had a cancer, at another,I had a brain tumor.
My dad picked up on this quicker than me without any knowledge of medicine and without any reading of those glossy medicine magazines. He made me drop Biology in Junior college. My gates to the medical world were closed even before I could open them and take a peep.
After my chaotic engineering years as I fought hard to have dot 40 in Mech & Maths and scored hugely in Digital Design and VLSI, I saw myself working in a fabrication plant. My only problem - I was the only female working there. Not even in my dreams that the other females would consider working on a Fab Plant. We soon visited one of those on our industrial visit and I understood why. They were more practical. I was idiotically idealistic. So after my major in Electronics, I took up Testing as my career.. There were lot of crinkled noses, boos and OMGs but I knew I would be a very very lousy developer. Lousier than a lot of those I have worked with. All this came rushing to me when Abdul told us about how he had visualized his career path already and was working towards achieving it. He had visualized how his promotions would come by, what certifications he would do, how he can grow further on the path. From what I know, he has a Plan B ready for every point where he thinks he can falter. His path though remains same and steady under his fee.
When I compare ( I can imagine Abdul giving me one of his famous looks. Don’t compare. You should never compare yourself with any other person), I see that I never had a path really. All that I visualized ever was the destination and how I would revel in it when I reach there. I should have thought about the path, the potholes, the sudden speed humps. I just didn’t. Not that I was a lazybum. I had an aim and I also could see a faint trail that would take me there but that was the problem. It was a trail. It had more escape routes than Plan Bs. It wasn’t anywhere like Abdul’s 8 Lane freeway like our IS635. Mine was a little one that you see in Somerset. It goes around this beautiful colony and then just ends back to where it started. Pity. I was able to visualize Harry Potters and Narnias and Lord of the Rings but I could never clearly visualize what I wanted, where did I want to go, what did I want to end up doing. I let the life take decisions for me instead of having any control over them. Sometimes people do that as a last resort, I didn’t wait that long.
The next obsession was The America and the on-site opportunity. I saw that as another Via Point to my destination but again I let it happen to me instead of really fighting for it that very often. Yes. I grumbled. I grumbled a lot to every one and any one that I could find but that’s about it.
It occupied every waking hour of mine and even saw myself boarding a US plane in my dreams. Nothing else, No one else mattered as much as that did. For the first time I thought I knew what I wanted to do. The feeling was more relieving than exhilarating. I wasn’t that crappy after all. This on-site stay was my short term goal and I would take it to its completion. I never thought the obsession would die ever. Even if I manage myself a GC.
But like all of my other obsessions, this died as well. It died quite a painful and slow death. Over an year’s time.It wasn’t the hardship or the disappointment but may be the feeling that I finally got to it, killed it for me. I didn’t know about it as clearly till the point Abdul and Mayura discussed about how they visualized their life to be. It was a rude shock when I tried doing it and didn’t see America anywhere in it. I thought America was calling me. Rather America was The Calling.
What I saw instead like the numerous times before is a small room and a big bed. Don’t get your naughty minds run into an overdrive. This room belongs to a couple. An elderly couple. You can see the temple stand on one side. You see a huge pile of books on the other. Some of them are dog eared so somebody is reading them. Multiple at a time. The bed has a white bed-sheet with pink flowers on it. It isn’t neatly tucked in anymore cause there are four adults lying on it. An elderly couple and a young one. They are playing cards. The gambling cards. Don’t know what the name of the game is but I can see that I am one of them. I am trying hard to think of the next strategy and apparently having hard time with it. It’s a night time and I have put my little daughter to sleep in her nursery (which makes me think I am in US). Half of my attention is tuned towards the nursery to see if she is crying. She is not. The elderly lady sitting next to me pats me hardly. I make a poor face and she laughs loudly. The other two men frown.
I pick my brain hard to see if that’s my mom but she is not. I turn my focus towards the man, he is not my baba either. With a sudden jolt I realize they are my in-laws. There is a man sprawled across me, with spectacles perched on his nose, his hair ruffled a little, scratching his day old stubble. That’s my husband.
I am sitting in a cozy warm room (which has big French window on the wall. A Mogra tree peers inside and sways slightly as the wind blows) with my Husband and my In-Laws playing a game of cards and I am perfectly happy. I can feel i am a little tired cause I came from the office and cooked a dinner that everyone had and since it’s a Saturday the next day and my demanding baby (who is a few months old) is sleeping peacefully, my in laws suggested we had a game going. Men vs Women. So me and my MIL form a group and go on claiming that we would win. Being women that we are, we rattle on and on. My FIL and Husband seem quiet personalities. They smile but do not say much. Later, in the game, my husband (I cant see his face properly. All that I can feel though is that he is very ordinary looking but very intelligent) cheats. Its so blatant. He smiles cheekily at all three of us. I grumble to my In-laws and then I see it happening. They side with me with such a blind faith that I grin ear to ear to my cheater of a husband. They tell him off and say I am right. He makes a face. I fall down laughing on my MIL’s lap. She run her fingers in my hair while telling my husband of what kind of bad player he is. He mutters something about parents taking their son’s side by default. My FIL throws in his cards, demands a rematch and announces that we would do what pleases his DIL i.e. me. I laugh my guts out. My MIL shushes me cause I would wake my daughter up and when she is up, she is the sun, we all revolve around her.
I try to remain silent but the look on my husband’s face is so funny that I burst out laughing. My baby daughter sends out a warning wail. My husband rolls his eyes. My MIL starts getting up to go to the nursery. I pull her down by hand but she fuzzes over the baby and then my FIL gets up too. He wants to see whats up with his granddaughter. He complains that its my MIL’s loud laughing that woke her up while my MIL complains that it’s the Chana Chat that he fed the baby at the dinner table that’s giving her gas trouble. With this fight, they leave the room to coo over our baby.
As i hit my husband with a book i find lying nearby, I see a smile on his face. A smile of understanding that he is no longer the spoilt brat of his parents. He has been replaced by me. A proud smile that his parents have grown so much fond of me that they can sideline their only son for me. An appreciative smile that I could keep my hoity-toity status and aggressive manners locked up in my office cabin (yes. I am a manager of course, with cabin and all that stuff) and be a daughter to them. What I return is a sunny smile even when its dark outside. A smile of gratitude for giving me what I could cherish all my life. People. People who scold me because they think they have every right to. People who do not think I am an outsider anymore.
People who love me. A smile of contentment that at the end of the day, I can sit with my family and spend these light moments with them instead of fighting for the authority over my house and my husband. That I know that I will never have to share my husband with these two people ever because I totally understand that he is theirs. The understanding stems from the fact that they know he is mine just as much.
And so we live happily ever after!
Strange. For one I don’t see my parents or my sister. It almost makes me feel guilty and second I don’t know how to play cards! Most importantly its all too beautiful to ever come true.
I have had this dream for a few years now. Every time I had it, I had a smile on my face. I would hate my mom if she woke me up in the middle of it. Nothing changes in the dream, no matter what.Even the color of the bedsheet!.
Every tiny detail remains etched on me forever. Its as good as my favorite movie that I can see any number of times and not be bored of it. Sometimes I feel that it also acts like Prozac on me. My brain triggers it on the nights when I go to bed utterly frustrated with my work. It gives me an odd motivation to keep it going. Funny. I thought I was always a hardcore career oriented girl. Marriage and family was obviously on the cards but I never consciously thought about it. I never day dreamed about my husband and who in the name of the god dreams about their In-Laws. The few people that I shared this dream with find it oddly funny for a girl like me. Some of them find it regressive that at the end of it all, I want to be a mother, a wife and a daughter in law. A few married ones think its obsolete and not possible real time but one of them, a friend named Maheshwari told me what I didn’t want to hear. That this was my calling.
Something that remained unchanged, unperturbed over all these years. Something that makes me feel good when I think about it. A house full of my people, laughing and rejoicing in the simple pleasures of life such as a game of cards. That no matter how many more promotions I would have or the companies I would switch or the awards I achieve, what would remain at the front of my line, something that I would gladly step back for will be my family.
I know a lot of you would wonder if ‘Family’ can ever be someone’s calling in their life. I am trying to figure out that myself. I have tried to deny it vehemently but its true and I will have to accept it no matter how regressive it may sound.Being happily married to the man i would choose eventually & be there for 'our' family would be something i would love to achieve and all those who have been married know that its not a small feat. Its just that its not feminist or modern or liberating for a large amount of people. My home would be my place. My Family would be my everything and being loved and accepted whole heartedly would be my aim..
i know there are still years before that happens.. but it always feels great to know what i want to do when i grow up (some more ;))