Sunday, October 10, 2010

Diary: Things That Changed

The key reason this blog exists is that this is my scrapbook of ideas. Sometimes, I tend to forget this, trying to mould this into a shape, as if this is a magazine or a newspaper, primarily because I think this will help me get more readers. But, at regular intervals, in the rare lazy Sunday mornings with nothing serious to do, I discover the enjoyment in being chaotic, in chronicling the chaotic and messy tale of my life, with the inconsistencies and all. The blog, after all, records everything in a most recent first structure, which is counter-intuitive, in fact, directly opposed to our obsessively sequential sense of order. That way, this is the right tool for my wandering about: I am what I am right now.

My life is changing quite fast. I am truly out of my depressive frustration which would have showed up in the posts only a few months back. My life now is a lot more predictable, even a touch boring. The variations of my mornings now limited to which train I take and which coach I get in, I am saved by the meaningfulness of my work. This is again a big change in my life: Only in brief periods of my life, I liked what I do for a living, and I am enjoying it now. In sharp contrast to my earlier guilt-ridden ever apologetic self, I am now engaged in bringing about meaningful changes, doing work that I wanted to do, and even finding opportunities to meet interesting people, writing and talking. Some remains of my past life still exist, and bother me periodically: But I am hoping that by the end of October, I shall be able to cut my ties with the past clearly and decisively.

So, this is a sort of a new start, and this particular break is primarily driven by my desire to rebuild my career in education and writing. Life of the mind, that's what I want to pursue, though my earlier notions of necessity of solitary existence have now been abandoned. I know that my journey into the life of the mind will be through the crowded public square rather than collegial common rooms, but I am reconciled with the idea and enjoying the journey.

Indeed, learning new things is the big reward that comes with such an effort. At the outset, all this change looks disruptive, I did have my moments of uncertainty in the classes I started taking, but the redemptive power of new knowledge, particularly in understanding the process of education and personal transformation, cleared away any doubts that I had about the worthiness of the effort.

Besides, the life of the mind, one full of ideas and conversations, needs that circle of friends that I am discovering now. It is different from a group of people coming together based on accidents of jobs or residential proximity, and this is different from the relationships one form within a family which is defined by obligations and limitations. What these new friendships are defined by are the commonality of interests, a common commitment to seek a better education experience or creative pursuit, and these are not delimited by boundaries of obligations or propriety, but rather by possibilities and sheer fun of sharing. Some of these friends I don't even know in person, and some others I have only met briefly: But these people are present in conversations on this blog, elsewhere and intermittently.

One thing that changed deeply is my ideas of return, then. The more this life forms, I know my ability to go back to India become more and more limited. I have started forming a new identity, based on these relationships and possibilities of life, and it will be impossible to uproot this and transpose it back home in near future. While India will always remain paramount in my identity, and all the work I do, it seems that I am destined to stay away for a longer period of time than I originally envisaged.

This is a big change. The other big change is that I have realized that I should abandon the two careers I dreamt of, of being a businessman or a politician, because both of these require a sort of ruthless focus that I do not have. One can't be a part-time businessman or a politician. So, after twenty or so years living under an illusion, I am now reassessing what I should be in light of what I am better off being. Late, indeed, but better late than never: I am quite keen to make this fresh start make up for all those lost years.

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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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