Day 59: Whatever Happened So Far

I started writing a diary and then got diverted. That's me - can't complain - this is why, my teachers would have told you, I remained an underachiever in school. I am entertaining myself thinking that I have an adolescent streak.

The thought invariably flatters me as I am getting old. But, anyway, as I always found a justification, I wrote about Georgia, Creative Capitalism and everything else as if they are part of my life. In a way, they are, but let's face it - I was bored.

I was bored being out of action. I was bored sitting at home, while my passport sat on a long queue at the Home Office waiting to be stamped for two months. This time was useful - no doubt - I got those few days to pause and think what I am doing. However, I run a business, for someone else, in some other country. Or, countries. My head office is in Northern Ireland, I sit in London, and the business I am supposed to run are in India and other places. Without a passport, it seemed I did not have a job.

I did spend a lot of time thinking about future. Asking the questions which I must ask myself. Wondering where my life is going. Reading books like Po Bronson's What Should I Do with My Life and Richard Templar's I Don't Want Any More Cheese: I Just Want Out of Trap. And, wondering whether I am wasting a big chunk of my life chasing nothing.

One thing I sure know : I haven't been chasing money and that's a mistake. For me, life so far has been like a game - fun, adolescent fun. But this space of time tells me that I am getting old and I better SETTLE DOWN. The problem is I don't even know what settle down means. The word is staring on my face with 'settlement' as in getting Permanent Residence in Britain, but, to be honest, it is less exciting a goal for me than I would have thought it would be. I came to Britain on a settlement visa but with a tourists' heart, and so far it has been an enjoyable journey. But, times like this, when everything pauses, I get to wonder whether I am giving up the best years of my life chasing something which I don't want.

So, what do I want? As people who know me will tell - I am the last person to know that answer. But, I do know that answer. Just that it is a bit fuzzy for everyone else and therefore, I never attempt to explain this. But let me try.

I remember this frozen moment in my mind - sitting inside my school classroom and looking out of the window to the playground, on a rainy day, just after the death of my uncle. I was never particularly close to him. And, he was very sick - bedridden for a number of days - and we, the children in the house, were not allowed to go to close to him [lest we disturb him]. I remember seeing him, the day before his death, coming out of the bathroom, his tall figure almost covering the bathroom door, but frail and stooping. I remembered him smiling and saying something, which I did not hear properly as I stood in a distance and he did not repeat. He walked on to return to his bed, and I moved on to do something else, erasing that moment completely.

But, then, next morning, before I woke up, he was dead. I was woken up, but could not enter the crowded room. So, I was standing outside, exactly at the same place where I was the day before, wondering how to wake up my cousin who just lost his father. And, then I noticed - his clothes, what he was wearing the day before, left in a heap just by the bathroom door, where he was standing the other day. Waiting to be laundered - that's what it was supposed to be.

It is hard to say whether I remember the colours of the clothing, or who else was around. I just remember it was raining. I remember my mouth felt stale as I did not have a chance to brush my teeth, and I remember there were people crying and talking in the background. But, I remember what I felt, clearly as this was yesterday. IT MADE NO SENSE.

The clothing left to be laundered, but no one to fit into it. The same moment - the bathroom door and all - with the person missing. Such meaningless emptiness. And, I remember knowing this emptiness looking out in the school ground on a rainy day, knowing that the passing moment stole another wee bit of my childhood away, and it is so easy to be gone. But I wanted to stay - stay on that school bench, forever, waiting for the class to get over and stepping onto the playground with a football.

That moment stayed with me all my life. That mix of emotion - of fear of losing the moment and of knowing that I shall lose it - reminded me every day of the doorframe, of my uncle, of the clothes left to be laundered and of the words I did not hear and I can't hear anymore. Thereafter, I have always been treasuring every moment that I live, knowing full well the meaningless of this all.

With one desire - to not to end in the emptiness of the clothes to be laundered. To make some kind of difference - to have a play. As all boring classes must give way to the moment of the playground, my life must allow me my moment. Of freedom, of play, of making a difference.

I always envied Neil Armstrong therefore - who would sign off thinking he was out to the moon and made that giant leap for mankind. I wanted to have that one defining moment in my life. And, yes, I know that it will come.

Now, can I blame everyone else if they complain they did not understand what I want? Difference is not something you can want, because you don't know what it is. It is difficult to describe as I can't take them to show that empty doorframe, with the heaps of clothes lying about. I can't tell them what I did not hear.

All they can see - and they see - is a boy looking out to the playground while the class is on.


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