Sunday, February 22, 2015

On My Way

Whoever said it: The maxim of corporate dysfunction is when someone discusses their airmiles on the dinner table. While I scrupulously avoid it, making some of my friends what I really do when I frequently disappear for business trips, I can't avoid another frequent flyer syndrome: Having my moments of existential crisis at Airline lounges!

So, here I am, in the quiet poshness of the Gatwick Lounge, and devoid of any conversations; the assorted Golf and Lifestyle magazines rather useless, staying off food in consideration of my soaring weight, with a touch of Internet fatigue (this post is being done retrospectively, or should I say, posthumously, after the thoughts have died). It was one of those moments when I don't want to start reading the books I am carrying in my bag, because I have to read them anyway for the next 7 hours, as I have seen all the movies that are there on Inflight entertainment (one less spoken about downside of Carrier loyalty) - and therefore, plunged into that déjà vue moment of what-am-I-doing thought.

Apparently, I can't make up my mind. The gorgeous winter morning outside is a reminder how much I have come to love England, all its landscape, ways of living, the libraries, the opportunities to meet people from all over the world, the freedom with which I can speak my mind and the conversations I can join into. On the other, this stale moment of sitting in an airport reminds me that I don't really belong, and my affections and perhaps my future lies elsewhere. Those early adolescent passions of making a better world is still alive, and talking of the idea of India can still bring tears to my eyes. Besides, leaving out the big issue of who I am, even what I do isn't settled yet. When most people of my age are comfortably settled into a life to fade into comfortable retirement, I am still in this search, a sort of intentional and indulgent mid-life crisis, and throwing up these questions rather than settling into at least one of those therapeutic habits of making money of doing good. 

All the things I care about May point to a sort of drift, at least that is what it would be called by all my friends who are practically minded. I tell myself that I am on an one-year recovery phase from the burn-out of my entrepreneurial stint, which didn't go so well, but then recovery to what? The indulgent blog writing that I do - and I do this when I am inspired rather than when I am bored - is less of a serious commercial endeavour, which it could have. Been if I was practical. It is rather a conversation I wish to have with friends who I wish to connect with, those fellow travellers out of reach and only fleetingly persistent on a web-trawl, and often meant to be a journey without a destination. In all, there is no picture of life that I am beginning to paint, except for just enjoying the palette spread out, the experiences and the ideas they stimulate.

But this does not fit into the stage of life I am in. In this age-conscious time, when you are out of date if you were born in the 80s, I am a dying-sixties relic with no claims on 'fun'. It is not for me to do new things or ask why, but rather to fit into the roles assigned as a family man, mortgage and all that, the 'do or die' of our age. I have, in the past, refused to fit into a structure - I left jobs to start businesses, migrated across continents, went back to school, had four different careers and started all new endeavours from scratch - all in an attempt perhaps to avoid being defined by who I was born, without necessarily discarding my roots. But then, I know that you can perhaps never escape - I am still defined as an India expert, still expected to do my roles as a middle class family man, a corporate citizen, a man - and every act of transgression is just that, transgression, frowned at, disapproved, and even worse, ignored. 

And, this ignored bit is the point of this blog, this post. Indeed, no one should care about my existential crisis at this moment, which will even be unfinished as the flight is called, but yet, I would write about it - how pointless could one be - as to defy the sensible things that I am supposed to do, like replying to emails. Not doing what one is supposed to do may not always be foolish, and not thinking what one is supposed to think is definitely the most potent form of resistance known to us. As one comes full circle, it is a choice between a life of consequence and a life lived in free will, but the point is to defy such duality and keep trying to make these lived moments meaningful, at least to myself.

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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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