February 5, 2011 § 24 Comments
it’s easy to believe that this room will always hold you back, this view will always close you in, these grills will always be between you and the great beyond.
that your feet will dry and age and fossilise in these very shoes, that the thrum of the faulty airconditioning will seep into your ears and that your eyes will never look at anything but this flat cloudless sky. in the mornings we congregate, we laugh, we know these people, we are collusive in our kindness to their tics and their vanities, their soft white underbellies. in the daytime we tolerate, we are filled with the liquid camaraderie of a shared life, of this one amorphous, unwieldy Inside Joke we have created together. but some evenings, the gloss wears off.
some evenings, these jokes are old, these people stale, their friends shrill, their values ragged, their love jaded, their bottles empty and their cigarettes put out. your tea is cold, what now?
a home somewhere! yes, a flat. a job? maybe even that job? crowded roads, Virar-Churchgate? maybe a car. a bike? could i ride a bike? a suncatcher in the balcony, moneyplant leaves trailing over my walls. i will buy a swing! i will have a sofa, a bright blue three seater sofa, and if i am very lucky, one or the other happily drunk friend fast asleep on it every weekend.
she will get married, that one, and have many bratty children. that other one is sure to have a house infested with dogs. for me i see roads and pictures, trains, oceans, countries! i see hatchbacks on cobbled roads with parisian women crooking elbows out of the driver’s side window, i see fishing villages, i see cliffs, i see myself leaping off those cliffs with a cord tied around my ankle. i see books bought on footpaths in three different continents, i see that keychain i will have made with one pebble from the grounds of the tower of london where they killed anne boleyn. if i stretch a little, i see college, lectures by the greats… the ones whose best work is always one paid-subscription website away from our reach. i see libraries and theses, and that curious, amusing admixture of humility and conceit in academia.
i see a job that i will love-hate with the confusing emotion of a south american soap opera without subtitles. i will love it because it will be clever and nuanced and witty and unpredictable. it will also sometimes be disappointing, but that just makes for contrast, i refuse to believe otherwise.
i see summers in mysore, i vaguely remember the gulmohars flowering in may.. maybe it was april.
i see roads and roads and roads carpeted in fire.
the best part of all, however, may be seeing nothing. seeing nothing, in a rejection of the idea of a predictable future. luxuriating in the intoxicating thoughts of perhaps quitting my job one day on a whim and buying a llama or a restaurant. i want to construct a heisenberg analogy here but my physics is too shitty to trust.
anyway, you can’t dream too much or overreach like a toddler because your insulating pessimism will kick in. so you will make your project, you will write your test, you allow yourself to be read and watched and marked and ranked and sliced along every axis they can slice you, that they may attempt to fit the vast, drunkenly joyous uncertainty of your Future into little boxes labeled things like where do you see yourself in five years?
and so you will see yourself in numbers and qualifications and permanent mailing addresses because you have to.
but picture this!
large metal gates creaking open, a watchman’s wrinkles smiling at you under the sun, waving to you, goodbye, the world is waiting! ten steps away, one last look back, one last rush of uncertain emotions condensing quickly, sickly in your lungs before you turn and start walking.
you, twenty two years old, hoping love and sweating sex, fifty one kilograms of Someone Famous One Day, picture this.
my butt may be in class, but my eyes are on the gates… and i feel lucky to be alive. :)