There are people who seem to have everything: a great career, a super family life, a rocking social life, ample money, and happiness too. Then there are those who can barely manage the basics. At one point, I belonged to the first category. Now, I am a happy contributor to the second.
Not so long ago, I had great work life, wonderful family life and a fairly decent social life. One fine day, everything changed. There was no work and no work life. No friends and no social life, my phone that had not stopped ringing in five years had no calls or messages. I had no inbox to clear and no deadlines to meet. It felt great in the beginning, I was tired of running non stop for eight years and this was a much needed break, a long overdue holiday.
But reality soon struck. The never ending holiday irked me, it was upsetting to be confined, to be financially dependent, to not have people around. But I managed because my family needed me, and that was more important than my work, my friends and my money. So I stayed home to ensure that my mother was nursed back to life and my daughters were taken care of. I cooked, cleaned, washed, dusted and did everything possible to ensure those around me were happy. All but me.
Initially, I was too overwhelmed and engrossed to even realise the effect it had on me. I was happy being around people who mattered most to me, being totally occupied by the daily drudgery of life, to lead a normal life. But, how long can you tame the fire within?
My independence has always been vital to my existence and I had it in abundance at work, along with that I also had love, respect, satisfaction and recognition. I worked non stop for hours at end, helped people build their careers and in the process, built mine. Life could not be better. In the quest to achieve everything however, I soon started to miss out on simple pleasure of life. I became more mechanical and less human everyday and started to burn out. So, one fine day, I quit.
Giving up my work sometimes seems like the most sensible decision and sometimes the stupidest. I know that whatever I could manage in the last three years would not have been possible had I been tied to a job. A transplant, a birth, two weddings, a relocation and many, many more things that I could facilitate would not have been easy otherwise. I however, also know that I will never get those lost years back, I was at the peak of a career that I had worked very hard for and had I stayed on, I would have had two promotions, a good salary hike and so much more. So, I sulk and sulk some more.
But wallowing in self pity has never helped anyone, it is not going to help me either. I can choose to sit and sulk and cry and whine or I can do something that adds fuel to my fire -- a fire that is almost doused.
But what can I do? I cannot and will not go back to a job that requires me to be at work twelve hours a day and be connected to my Blackberry for the other twelve. I cannot start a business because I neither have the money nor the sense. I cannot paint, draw, sing or dance -- too late in the day to acquire these skills anyway. Thankfully though, there are certain things things that I can do and love doing. I can talk, I can write, I can cook, and sometimes even dream.
One such dream is to travel, all by myself, to places far and wide. From the Himalayas to the oceans of India, from the churches and ruins of Europe to the sky scrapers of America. In our culture, it is rare for a woman to travel alone for pleasure and that is something I want to defy. I absolutely love the power and the confidence travelling alone gives me -- to be on my own, in a world unknown.
So maybe I can travel to beautiful places, explore the art and culture there and write about it. Who knows, someday I might be able to write a feature in a fancy magazine and some pictures taken by me could also accompany the write ups. In my spare time, I could also pen down a few short stories here and there, without the fear of being judged for their subject or content, I could also make some money in the process. Now that is a dream worth living for!
But wait a minute, like every dream, this too has a practical problem -- where will I get the money from? Since I am on a dreaming spree, why not dream of a man, who, allured by my charm, would happily pay for my travel? But such a man is hard to find, even in dreams. As of now, its just the mother-dairy guy, who is charmed enough to offer me a two rupee discount on a packet of buns, in case I have no change!