Private Notes : Recalibrating Myself

I was told, by a well-advised friend, that I have a disease. Attention Deficiency Disorder, it is called. I found it very appropriate, and laughed - only to be told that it is indeed a disease and needs medical attention. I found myself in a rather silly position where I mistook a serious statement as a joke [though I much prefer it than doing the other way round] - I did not even know that there is a disease with such a normal sounding name, and was further enlightened that there were many great men and women, including Paris Hilton, whose greatest achievement was to reach the tabloid centrefolds on both sides of the Atlantic, had the privilege of having this disease. I was also told that if someone is already rich and successful, it is indeed delightful to have such a disease [provided one can employ a diligent lawyer without any trace of distraction and keep oneself covered by a permanent pre-nupital agreement and avoid costly divorces], but not so if one's working class, like me.

So, I was advised proper treatment and consultation with a physician, but as first aid, told to meditate, every day. Quite fearful to be sick, and indeed out of that sinking feeling that things are not as rosy as it feels, I started off immediately - taking time out every morning to walk alone for an hour, more for the sake of clearing my mind but also to burn some extra pounds earned through continuous travelling over last couple of years.

I had discovered this park in Croydon not very long ago, despite living in this town for five years now, which surely tells a story about the level of my physical activity as well as social life. This is a lovely green patch right in the middle of Central Croydon, a few minutes walk from the High Street, the Station and my house, but inside, it is unseemingly quiet and lush green during the summer. The only noises you hear there are from the passing train, which add a dimension of movement in the middle of the solid steadiness of the park, and therefore, do not distract. In fact, I am having a lovely time, walking around all by myself and having this time to reflect and recalibrate my life.

As usual, I have an unclear future. In my heart, I would indeed want to go back and live in India. But then, I am not finished with the agenda of seeing the world, which I initially set out to do. Besides, I have just started enjoying the social and intellectual life in London, which is unsurpassable in variety and richness, and I am not sure whether I shall enjoy going back to Kolkata now, where the intellectual vigour is in decline and the environment is tribal and provincial rather than open and dynamic. I am aware that there is a question of responsibility towards one's own homeland - India remains my country and I can not wish it away. No existing template will be good for me actually, as I have already chosen the 'road less travelled by'. That does not exempt me from what I must do, but what I shall need to do will be quite different. I must complete seeing the world and gather knowledge to go back and try to make a difference.

But then, I love this. Those who know me know that I thrive at bad times, at difficult moments, when everything seems bleak and dark and hopeless. In fact, some people told me that I get bored by happiness and consistency. All of this may have been coming out of the same disease, but it is true, I actively burnt my boat so many times and moved on - stability did not seem to have its usual appeals to me. And, indeed, I have been a failure - not achieved any personal wealth, skills or fame one would wish for - and do not see that I can achieve anything of considerable proportion in future as well. The only thing, I suppose, I shall have in abundance is fun, a sort of playful existence and joys of seeing the world, which may not be calibrated as success in any given sense.

The good thing, I suppose, is that I do not feel inadequate with the lack of success that I have. This must be from the people who brought me up, I am quite comfortable with who I am. But then I don't live in a cocoon, in the comfort of benchmarking myself with people less successful than me. I have seen many people living a fairly comfortable and uneventful life just by looking at people who have achieved lesser than themselves, but I instead tried to look at people who made a difference - not just to themselves, but to people around them too - and aspired to live a meaningful life.

In the end, I believe I am at a disconnect with the world as it is. I would have fit into the mould of a nineteenth century liberal, but not a twenty-first century business executive. What I am sure I lacked is courage and imagination, despite my efforts to break the mould, because I did not follow my heart but tried to be ordinary. And, this, through my meditations :) I reach at the end of the week: That I am not so different after all. I have lived a life so far where I aspired to live an usual life, but dreamt of an unusual one. I thought the bold dreams can wait, till I sort out the usual trivial business of living - money, mortgages etc. Of course, the only good thing here is the lack of success so far - if I was successful being someone else, I would have become someone else wholeheartedly - and this presents me an way of escape from my own Alcartez somehow.

My friend indeed hoped that my meditations will help me focus my mind and allow me to become a more consistent person. None of us have actually foreseen that the person that emerges at the end of it would be quite different from the one who started it.


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