One of the first conditions of being creative is being uncompromising: It is about not holding back thoughts, ideas and desires for the sake of breaking norms and offending people. I know this, because I often hold back: My desire always has been, if this could be said, to be noted by becoming invisible. I have spent too much time in my life trying to be a team player, mingling with those who had no desire to be different or make a difference, and trying to sound interested in ideas, though these were not really ideas but words pretending to be ideas. It has mostly been a journey of postponement, a desire to be free by remaining unfree for a while, a surrender, often, to mediocrity and indifference.
Now, at one of the big inflection points in my life, I am seeking the creative turn.
It is not just nostalgia about a life forsaken, but a desire to reach deep inside and touch my own heart: To be me, though that expression is cliched and sound so much like the faux celebrities of Reality TV, but what really is an enterprise so long deferred and only occasionally entertained. It is about dusting my cameras yet again, and write my poetry; it is about falling in love all over again with those pointless and undisciplined things that I gave up as indiscretions of the youth. Indeed, the question flashed in my mind: Or should I retire instead? Just give up all these desires and just try to be a regular guy in the quest of a normal life, defined by the size of the car, mortgages and the usual holidays in the Sun.
But it is like the birth defect that does not want to go away. I got waylaid by the change the world rhetoric for a while: I pretended that I am powerful enough to do so, all that stuff that people talk about when they are really delusional. But, all I wanted to do is to change myself. Change my life, that is. And, indeed, it is an extremely difficult thing to do; more difficult than changing the world, indeed, because no one wants to talk about it.
So, all this then is that unfulfilled desire - to write as I wish, say and live as I wish, to seek as I wish - that I want to go back to. This is like that me as a student, when I mixed all these pointless writing, dreaming, feeling, talking, playing, the mindless loitering, photographing, stealing time watching plays, all those things a Bengali youngster would do at the time in denial of the looming material disaster that they were hurtling towards with the decline of their city and civic life. I was directionless not for the want of directions, but for the rejection of the idea of being directed. I am still the same.
And, indeed, soon I deserted all that and went back to being average. In fact, it was as if I was in a competition of being unremarkable: In a race to beat the other guys in being boring. I bought all the usual trappings of mediocrity, a job that came along, marriage, the usual life, till I really knew I did not want any of that, and in some muted act of defiance, I ran away: First, I ran away from my job, then I ran away from my country, then I ran away from my run-away city, and then I ran away from my profession, and then again I ran away from myself. Finally, I found out there is nowhere to hide.
So, here, to my heart: The point of surrender, this is. No more pretensions - I can't win. I am not to be standardised, moderated into success. My life isn't going to be one of those models that I read about and believed in, but one of those that look different from different angles, at different times. May be, I am already on the next curve.
I am surely on the next curve, from today onwards. I have spent too much time just surviving now, and I must start all over again. This would be the time to re-imagine, to re-live. Indeed, there would be work to do, commitments to fulfill, roles to play and boxes to tick: But this is also the point of departure, a pledge to seek, a commitment to run away, yet again.
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