After a fairly long time, a topic had struck me to be worth writing about and then again after a long period of dilly-dallying I could muster the interest to sit down to write. Please don’t question me about this time of hiatus, as it has mostly to do with my feeling about being some sort of good-for-nothing and of course some minor distractions like work.
Now-a-days whenever I look at any adult face, I try to locate the face of the child within. What would have this man or woman looked like when they were a school going kid, in their pre-teens. Then I correlate their present face, their present behavior, to their child face and thereby deduct their child behavior. It has kind of become a game for me. The genesis of this game has been my own awareness about what I was during my school days. Try it, you will never be bored irrespective of whether you are sitting and waiting for a scheduled appointment or you are in a bus, train or plane journey or just sitting in a park.
I realized two interesting things about myself one fine day. First one is that I am a very different character or person today from the one I was during school. The second one is that though this new person calls all the shots in my life, the initial person, mutilated, disfigured and ignored, still lives inside. I had successfully fooled myself into thinking that I had evolved, had grown up, turned mature and have started behaving in tune with my responsibilities vis-à-vis the expectations of family and society. The truth is that this second person, whom I didn’t know till then, simply jumped into my life and took over the reins. I just morphed from being one person to another. The fact that this new person was acceptable to everyone including my father, helped. Yet sadly this change wasn’t organic. Woes upon me, it was a crime of snuffing of identity which I didn’t even protest but rather tacitly supported. However inspite of all these years, thankfully the first person is not dead but yet alive. It takes a bit of introspection to distinguish and identify these two personalities. The first one still is a child while the second one is the so called worldly wise adult.
At times I am blank, smiling for no reason, sitting and staring without a thought at the horizon, trusting someone to arrive and love and take care for me, wondering with amazement about events around me, without any notion about etiquettes and cunning, engrossed in a song or a comic or story book and satisfied with its most intriguing and rather more interesting world, and remembering the laughter and fun times with friends. This character is the child, the first me. The kid has not grown up; it still lives for the moment, the same as it always was, even though life has changed.
Then again at times I am worried, critical of self and others, temperamental when it comes to mistakes, planning, thinking about the future with expectations, thinking about the past with discontent, rolling from one thought to another without concentration or focus, never satisfied even if something remarkable happens as it dwarfs in comparison to the expectations, living and exercising and generally taking care of self. This character is the second me, the hard working adult. This commercially fretting person is the one who chose my profession albeit the wrong one for me.
The thought did cross my mind that would I be able to pin point the exact time when this usurping took place. I guess, and it’s just a guess, that when I was in the 11th standard, after having secured some low second class marks in the 10th Board exams, when I realized that I am at the threshold of adulthood and was not going anywhere, the child in me gave up and passively withdrew for this new alter-ego to take charge. I was sixteen years of age and pretty much a dumb wit. But from there onwards a sense of responsibility crept in. In the 12th standard I joined a Mathematics coaching class and my world changed thereafter.
Even a blind bat can sense that both these persons are not exactly compatible. The child didn’t grow up while the adult didn’t have any childhood. While one is meek the other is pretentious nonetheless both are cowards. If you ask which one is the true me, I would most certainly be at a loss to answer honestly. The child appears on the surface with some very close people and generally stays in the shadows. The adult takes most of the decisions. I am the union of a divine mix-up; together both these characters have come to represent me. They are both ruled by my life’s bandwidth. They are both the cause and the victims of everything that has happened in my life. Today whatever I am for x, y, and z reasons, it gives me some satisfaction to be able to place events and their aftermath in the right perspective, and to understand the how and why of it, with some amount of humility and gratefulness. I recognise and reclaimed the child inside and am proud of it. I recognise and know the adult too and hope and pray that it can take me to my destination.