In search of myself!

Life is so rhythmic. We all lead different lives rather lifestyles but the essence of existence is pretty much the same. Funny how I think life is may be like an ice-cube tray. You fill it with new people in each stage of life and once they move on you just have to refill the void. Not all cubes are of the same shape and likewise we come across a variety of people who teach us so much at each stage. These stages also come at critical points. Until college each of these stages are different schools, classes, semesters, apartments, etc. Critical are those once you grow up, once you have some stability, some monotony in life. Cause then you are not emptying the tray or rather there are less or no cubes to replace at times. It’s not just people, its life in general. You are at one place, one job, and one home and the picture looks perfect from a distance, but do you get the question “What’s next??”  I know most people are usually striving for this stability and don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty much happy with my job too. But it’s definitely monotonous; it’s not fun like college! I want to go on to do more in life, it might be another 9-5 job, but where I’m making a difference in this world, giving back to the community in some way or the other. But it’s not like I’m not doing the same right now, what if the “next” will get me back to this question again? Is it just me or is this a quarter-life crisis? I always thought I will never go through these crises, I will be a happy soul and would dodge this bullet. And if I tell you more about my life, you would call me fool to claim to have a crisis.

I always thought I would be that independent, strong 25 something living and travelling around the US and I would be happy! But who knew 25 would also hammer some sense into me, would make me more-than-required ambitious. I know what all I want to do on the professional front, but everything is in future and is going to take time, patience. We millennials lack patience the most. But in the meantime I have to keep doing something, hobby, learning, reading; in short evolving. Now it’s not about going from 25 to 26 and so on. Now it’s about “me at 25” to “me at 26”. When I reflect back I should be a happier, better person with each passing year.

I thought over this for days, read about people who claim to have these crises and made a decision of evolving in my own way. So here are a few things I’m going to do this year: get back to reading. As a kid I was a voracious reader, in fact until recently it was more about what’s famous in the market, read it. Not anymore. Now I’m going to sit, think what interests me, explore books in that genre and read. Read philosophy; learn different ways of life, behavior, history, space, future and you name it. Find a hobby. It could be learning an instrument, singing, dancing or painting. I don’t believe you have to be passionate about your work. Not all are lucky enough have a full time career in their area of passion. But you need to be passionate about something. “Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.” We don’t want to be nothing. So yes I’m going to find my energy, one which lets me forget everything around me. It has to be my kind of meditation. So I’m mostly going to pick up an instrument and find my solace. I strongly feel the word “wanderlust”. I love travelling and have done pretty much of it with friends until now. But now I’m going to travel for myself, for my company, to learn to love my own time. You have to learn to embrace yourself. We all are born alone and end up alone irrespective of how many loving people we are surrounded by. It need not be an exotic destination like Mexico or Bahamas. It can be just exploring a new state park or a creek side one evening or a small town nearby. From there I’ll take it a notch up to other states and other countries eventually!

Essentially I want to learn to love my own company, live for myself, go out in search of my happiness and be truly independent. Until the next job or college degree calls I’ve to learn to make the most of each moment. And I know it seems easy since I have it chalked out. But until I don’t pick up that book to read, until I don’t take that first step towards that class or until I don’t put on my shoes for that solo hike I’m nowhere near to the “me at 26”.

WAR IT OFF FOR A GREEN-CARD!!!

This was while I lived in Atlanta in the state of Georgia for a 2 months internship. So many times I traveled by the public transport, mostly cabs. The best thing about travelling by cab is the interaction, the variety of people you get to meet, the stories you get to hear. Here is one such story of a cab driver Javed. It was almost 5 p.m and I called for a cab. I got all the details of the driver and his car as well as photos for both which can help me recognize my ride. The car stopped at the doorstep and the door opened up for me and I got in to begin the 15  minutes journey home.

I got in to see a really handsome face. He must have been in his early twenties. Tall, fair, dressed in a plain white shirt with a crew cut on his head, he seemed very decent. Javed started small talk, asking about my work, how was I liking it in the city, etc. I told him it had just been an year that I had come to the States. At that he smiled and said with relief,”Oh, so you have been here for as long as I have!” It seemed comforting to him to meet someone who was as new to the culture, the people, the situation in this country as him. We instantly struck a chord. Then it was my turn to speak up and avoid awkward silence. From his looks, his name and his accent I had figured he was an Asian, so I asked him when had he arrived in the States. And there began the story which in a way was impressive but later on put me in two states of mind. Javed said to me “I’m from Afghanistan. I served in the US army in Afghanistan

 and after a period of few years they sent me here with a Green Card and plus all my expenses were taken care of for the first 6 months.”

 And my mind went into a medley of questions and confusion. It was too much to take in and absorb. We all have heard about war and seen the footage on TV. In my entire life I had not met anyone who had fought at the war front. I had so many questions but how do I ask? What if I offend this guy? And Javed read my face and started with his story. “I had the choice of going for war or against it. They tell us all about the USA and the benefits of serving them. For a person who lives in the constant fear of getting home alive, a comfortable life in the Worlds greatest country is very enticing. So I chose sides and I guess since I’m here alive I chose wisely.” I had my plethora of questions ready. I asked him bountiful of questions and he had to reconfirm how he got here exactly. Talking more about himself he told me he has a brother who is currently doing his under-graduation in India. And that was it. I thought to myself “Is this guy fooling around with me? Has he done some background check on me?” For my immediate response was “What the hell!!! I’m from the same city as well. Infact, I just visited home and came to Atlanta directly about 2 weeks back.” He was happy. He told me about how his brother likes the city and the education system out there, he plans on applying to Oxford for further education. Javed has his parents still back in Afghanistan. He came here a year back and was given a job in San Diego along with the most sought after luxury of USA, the Green Card. But California being an expensive place he shifted to Atlanta for an affordable life. He drives the cab for few days of the week and has himself enrolled for economics in a local college of the city. He not only supports himself but also his family. After 2 more years he can apply for an American passport and he plans to get his parents here after getting it done. When asked if he was ever at the war front, he told all about his experiences in the army. That expression of astonishment never left my face.

We think we go at war everyday while living away from our family. It was amazing to see a guy that young to have been through so much in life including extremes like war. Life is not about you, your friends, how much you party, how many likes your photos get or how famous you get. Thoughts of Javed and his life have been trotting my mind for past few days. He has helped me achieve a better perspective on life. Life is about being a hero, in any smallest way possible. Being a true hero to a nation, to a town, to a family and in the least to yourself.

Break Out

It hits me so hard, I look up the sky,
The drops press me down, harder as each day pass by.

The green is growing, streams are running,
The blues are vanishing, but the greys are clustering.

The drops roll down the roof, I see through the bars,
The open is calling, I am ready to fly,
But it is so hard to sail from my eternal abode.

That broken window, the rusted fence,
The bowing trees, the dim street lamp,
The crack in door, the pale walls,
The drip on head, the music on roof,
When shall I see this beauty again.

 
 
 
Dark is spreading out, coldness is creeping in,
Mind wanders away, thoughts dive deep,
But it’s also a world, though a little different from mine !!!