Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 4

I am writing this post at 6:30pm. That by itself is an admission that I haven't done much today so far, despite the frenzy my morning started with. I have seen this - frenzied mornings for me do not work - and I eventually don't get anything done through the day. The days when I can take a few minutes to write down what I want to achieve always work better. This is possibly a psychological thing, but then I can't possibly escape that.

I am possibly being a bit harsh with myself saying that I haven't done anything. I spent hours on phone, selling, sorting out issues etc. Had written different emails, answering those which were lying in my inbox for a while. Well, the whole idea of this 100 day project was to practise focus - on things that I must do - and I was supposed to work on the web content and design of the new training business website today. While I did review bits and pieces, and spoken to Partho, who is putting it together, I haven't done much of substance. I can say that the day isn't over yet, and I am only taking a break, but so far, there are no signs that I shall get anything meaningful achieved today.

A friend - well, a long lost one - read the last few days of my blog and sent out an email asking why I am writing the diary in public. I did not respond to that email - as it came during the frenetic morning. But this diary is both what Julia Cameron will call 'Morning Pages' - a meaningless blabber in an attempt to remove the artist's block - and a self-conscious exercise to document a very critical period of transformation in my life. These are fairly crucial 100 days for me. I shall stay home for most of it. I am hoping to give the business I run a new direction, as well as answer a few critical questions for my career. Hopefully, I shall move down the road with my Masters studies too, which will open up interesting possibilities. And, hopefully, I shall rediscover my habit of reading - something I completely lost in the last six months.

But, my friend's letter first. She makes a few interesting points - each one I needed to answer personally anyway. She asks - why I don't want to go back to India? why do I think India does not offer enough options? Why can't I see the change that is happening in the country? I must admit I grapple with these questions everyday. Living this hard life in the quest of a Permanent Residence in a country where I may not live forever appears an absurd proposition. Opportunities in India are enormous, and I feel tempted every day. I can indeed see the change.

However, I came to Britain not to settle, but to learn. I wanted to expand my horizon. I am not the typical tourist or settler, I am a traveller. I wanted to study, work, know people and values. Did I want to make money? Funnily, not really, though I may end up getting some money in the end. With my travellers' eyes, what I saw in Britain was impressive - a rich, matured society - not very unlike what the British travellers to India in the late Mughal years would have seen: Abundant opulence laced with unending arrogance, complacence and a state of denial. I know, like those visitors to India hunderds of years back, world belongs to the hungry, to the curious. I know the future belongs to countries like India. And, my job is, like Abraham Lincoln, 'to study and get ready, as perhaps my time will come'.

So, I shall surely go back to India, when my education is complete. The education about the world, not the degrees, because I am sure I shall continue to be useless with my degrees as I always was. Evey person I meet - in Dubai, London, Dublin, Belfast, Mumbai or Manila - comes with a bit of that education. I shall give myself a number of years of this, and then surely go back.

My friend says, look beyond Calcutta. Well, that may not be - my India starts from that city. Each one has different goals in life. Not everyone will measure their success in the same manner. For me, the measure of my success in life is the number of opportunities I created, not how many I took. By that measure, I should surely go back to Calcutta - because the opportunity to create opportunities is maximum there.

All my life I wanted to be different. This possibly comes from my very homogenous start of life - an affectionate and affluent family, a close circle of friends and relatives, school next door where everyone knew everyone and a life eased with comfort and familiarity. All my life, since then, I courted discomfort and uncertainty, and always took greatest pleasure in talking about how I came through the difficulty. Funnily, once I came through the difficulty, I managed to seek out a new difficult situation. Sometimes, as right now, it feels like an unending game with myself, which has no significance to anyone else, which I always played. I always hope that someday I shall stop playing and get serious. Someday, stability will matter to me, I shall look for comfort. However, for the moment - I am content to be curious, happy to be hungry and humbled by the knowledge that the end-game isn't in my hand.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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