Monday, June 06, 2011

Rewind and Start

I keep doing this and I am at it again. A new start, that is. I love this sort of game, it gives me the spirit to go on even when things are difficult. So, that is it then - a new day and a new start yet again.

I have made it a habit to live my life in 100 day chunks, and one such run finished yesterday. When I started the last one, indeed, I didn't know where my life was going. My brother's untimely death completely threw me out of gear, and I decided to lie low and not to do anything new: Just survive, was the motto of last three months.

But this was meant to be temporary, and I am at the end of it now. It sort of coincides with my birthday and completion of a year in my new job, sort of milestones by themselves. So, I wake up at 5am this morning and resolve to start my life afresh yet again.

In a way, such renewals keep me going. Often, the pressures of life - the fact that I am parched in England while the life became more difficult for my father in Calcutta, now that he is almost alone - get to me. I have left home ten years now - 16th January 2001 was when it all started and I knew I would never go back again - but always lived with regret for having done so. In a way, it was something I never loved doing - because I loved home and everyone there - but something I had to do, to see the world, that is. In a way, all of it makes me a better individual, all this struggle, regrets and engagement, but that feeling does not make it any easy for me to live on.

One thing for sure: I never wanted to be comfortable. For me, comfort is death, a sort of thing that consumes me with boredom. So, I have always invented things to do when it was becoming too comfortable. I can't say it always paid off - indeed, at times, I wished I did not do it that way; however, with hindsight, it all looks good and I safely gloss over the details, the blood and the sweat bit, and live with the nostalgia.

So, here is a new start, a new 100 days perhaps. Of being unbound, shall I? I keep going back to Robert Frost - Miles to go before I sleep - and I am too painfully aware that I have not made any difference to anyone in life so far. All I have done is traveled around, and what I keep saying to others - life is not a time to pass, but to employ usefully - is not what I have tried with mine. In a way, I lived in a waiting mode: But now, my grey hair and creeping tiredness tell me that it is time for closure, of doing something meaningful.

I must admit that I love what I am doing now, trying to build a Higher Education institution that will make a difference. This is so much better than my mercenary life only a year ago, hawking unsaleable stuff in the name of its British origins, and doing all sorts of cowboy stunts for the sake of my employers. What I do today gives me the feeling of moving towards a greater goal, which is important. It makes me feel like making a difference - which is indeed the point.

Also, two years into my adult education course, I feel confident and knowledgeable about the subject. For this, I have paid a great price: No holidays, even no time off at the weekends, for two years. The only distraction I have permitted myself is writing this blog, that too only by getting up at 5am and stealing some time from myself. I am coming towards the end of it. I have two more coursework to go this year and then a module next October - one on learning environments which is taught mostly in the British Museum - and a Dissertation, which I have more or less started writing. So, by January perhaps, I complete my requirements for the MA, which is part of my journey into the world of HE.

In this hundred days, however, I shall take a different interim goal. Completing the coursework is how this will start, but two more things will remain at the heart of it: One, the start of the new school for which I have now worked for a year, and to which we are quite close - we are looking a a mid-July start. Two, I shall need to ratchet up my knowledge on technology-led learning - I have decided to focus on this as one thing I really want to learn well - not just the technologies themselves but all the perspectives and theories of learning that surround it. In my mind, that's what I shall do in future: Build a great institution online once I am done with my current agenda of building one in the physical form.

Also, there are a number of questions that will come up and I have to answer clearly. Do I go back to India? Not really, because I haven't yet completed my agenda to see the world. I shall go back one day, but not before I have traveled to and lived in North America for a while, which is the next thing I wish to do. Do I continue studying for a Ph D? This is definitely something I wish to do, commencing 2012, after I have taken a few months break and had time to meet friends and family next year. I am hoping that my sister will come to England next year with my newborn niece and I shall surely keep a few months clear for them. But, yes, I am prepared to give it another three to five years, during which period I would continue to stay in England, and I am quite looking forward to do a research on Higher Ed, something I have come to love.

In the meantime, then, I keep writing the blog but start the life all afresh today.

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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

Last Words

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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