Guest post by Ruta Chitale
Does anyone remember thinking “Why I’m born?”
I mean the earliest I remember thinking about it was when I was perhaps 10 years old. At that time, I secretly but truly thought that I was a princess. I believed I was staying with my parents ‘on loan’ for safekeeping (especially whenever I would have a big row with my mom or some stupid squabble. They were really sweet people and they spent all their spare time in ‘bringing me up’ and ‘disciplining me’.
As the years passed, I have now given up all hopes of some state reclaiming me as their titled long lost princess.
After years of such wishing, I found myself in a college. And not really thought seriously about what all I was going to do since now I am born and been in this world. Somewhere at the back of my mind I still had hopes (you know which!!! Back then I had still not given up) but till then of course, I had to occupy myself. So I went and enrolled myself for the graduate course.
And one day…. I got into a word fight with the most ‘dangerous’ professor who was notorious for handing out punishments as if he is handing out Filmfare awards (i.e. with or without real performance/reasons). He had accused me of not attending his sermons on Maths. However it was an outright allegation, I fear Maths, there is nothing in this world that would keep me away from Maths lectures. So I did not give up on my point.
To aid his accusation, he had some fictitious evidence of ‘attendance sheet’ and I got into an argument sighting circumstantial evidence – as in the colour of his clothes. But soon my evidence got hooted down since all days of the week the professor wore ‘black pant-white shirt’.
Then I showed him my notebook wherein I had scribbled many a things including Maths sums. However by the time I could prove, the professor got restless and he ordered me out of the class. By that time I was so worked up that I casted myself in the role of ‘Satyagrahi” and I told the senior professor I will not leave the class since I was right and that I had indeed attended the class and he was wrong. He said he would not continue the class till I stepped out.
The role of ‘martyr’ was quite challenging so I stuck to the original role and kept demanding that he should hear me out. This went on for quite a while with the entire class of 150 odd children gawping at us and then finally the period bell rang. I was congratulated for giving a fight with the ‘Tiger’ (as the professor was called) even by the graduate and post graduate students. It was that moment I decided that I shall be an activist- ‘satyagrahi’ and will fight for all the right causes.
But alas, my career as a ‘satyagrahi’ was soon over; after my parents and the vice-principal had an urgent meeting and they all concurred that I should be asked to apologize for talking back to my senior professor.
Still it did not answer my basic Q; why was I born? I believe that we have something to do, some task to complete, some people to love and more simply one must exist so that some other people can love you too (no other reason than to have their own life goals completed!!!!).
I have seen many a people who seem confused between ‘existential goals’ and ‘life goals’. Our educational system is essentially based on the need to earn money. The reality shows on TV add all the more to this myth that education shall help you earn money. Yes, it very much does help you earn money but it also adds something dreary to life. The middle class Indian (of which I’m a part too), is perhaps not left with much choice than to get higher education so that ‘life is set’. All these thoughts made me yearn to go educate myself, earn money for myself since I definitely did not want to grow up and just marry. I was pretty much shocked that some of my peers (boys and girls alike) had thought to get themselves a rich spouse so that ‘life is set’. Of course I realized belatedly that they were the real wise google-maps who understood life’s short cuts. Was getting rich and independent the reason I was born?
So what is really in store for me? I believe that the day we reach the goal, we will cease to exist. I hope I can understand that I have managed to reach the life summit less I suddenly find myself looking at you all folks from my spiritual body only.
There are so many things to do and life is so short. Why do all people chant this mantra? I have not come across a funnier sentence!!! We cannot live by a bucket list and spend our life tick-marking the items. What if I did not see the Niagara? Or I did not see the Louvre (nevertheless I do plan to see it!). What I love most is to spend each day doing things that I love to do.
My favourite day would be to go early morning to dear Vetal tekdi and walk for 6 odd kms right up to from where you can see Loyolla school and not meet anyone in between. Come back and binge on a good hearty big breakfast- full of calories and eat up all the weighing machine nightmares. Watch Netflix till the mind had enough of all the rona-dhona and the scheming of dirty minds.
Go to work where one can recreate the Netflix drama sequels in the office and sometimes go all out and recreate the ultimate bête-noirs. Come back to the family and make out some horror stories for kids so that they get scared and go to sleep. After that one can finally get set to work up the spouse. All in a day’s work!!!
Then there is a change in scene when the in-laws come visiting. At times there are some long lost relatives who suddenly make you feel as you are the only living relation these people have in this whole wide earth. It is these times when all the daily soaps come in handy and one has a readymade model of the ultimate bahu to follow.
In between all these, I still hope to find that perfect tailor, a permanent panni-puriwala, a reliable maid and also the darling people who still have not managed to find me, their lost princess!!!