Thursday, July 30, 2009

At Crossroads Yet Again

Being someone else is too much of a waste of a person you are. The Google quote hit home. My life is more or less about playing out role types set for me by others. Parents, family, friends, all others who I thought mattered - it was always about meeting the expectations. And, so I did - lived a spectacularly ordinary life of meeting expectations.

But I fail, as I must. It is never possible to be someone else too well. You can at best achieve mediocrity, and let your senses die, and live somewhat longer. But be conscious and hungry and yet being someone else is a tough ask. Most people - no, no one - can actually do it.

Yes, I am back to square one, where I was. It seemed like a big loop, where at certain times I seemed to be on top, master of own fate, but invariably it must turn and I am down again. This is one of those moments. Over last many years, I have not accepted one clear fact, that I have changed. My expectations have changed, the way I behave has changed. I have become far more intolerant to mediocrity, to the pointless opportunism and provincial narrowness once I was comfortable with. And, yet, I always fail to acknowledge the change and crave for my old life, which, for all its faults, were sweet and full of happy memories.

But then, I am awakened to the rude fact that I can possibly never go back to Kolkata, ever again. I can not find work, I concluded, of any kind which will give me the intellectual opportunity that I seek from my profession. Some recent experiences with a Kolkata businessman was instructive. I have possibly never wasted so much time and felt so frustrated about it. It was all talk and no action, with this terrible elitism that comes in the package whenever one gets to talk to someone who thinks he is someone in India. The point is that I find this behaviour consistently rude, unprofessional and unethical at all times: this is a change, I have grown up tolerating such behaviour.

So, my plans to go back to India anytime soon lie in tatters. I don't see myself setlling in the familiar provincial cosyness anymore than I do see myself going back to my neighbourhood school. England has not been uniformly kind, but I do owe lots of my life education to these expositions to the foreign land. And, I see the value in that more deeply than ever - I have come to appreciate things which I did not see earlier and to feel offended by things which I did not feel around me as I do now.

Like this whole class thing in India. The fact that most people feel they are someone and treat everyone else like dirt. And, the consequent lack of respect, which is infurating, but is institutionalized in the education system. The fact that no one wants to do a thing by hand, they treat physical work beneath dignity, and expect others, less fortunate people, to do this out for them.

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