Monday, February 14, 2005

To Be or Not to Be

I had this teacher in undergraduate college who had a poor eyesight and a poetic mind, on the lines of Homer. We greatly appreciated the former, since it made proxies and naps easier, but the latter inevitably led to poetic torture on unsuspecting souls within the confines of his cabin. The two would manifest together wonderfully well every morning at the bus-stop, as he would wait for his bus to college, along with a few of us. Narrowing his eyes to figure out the approaching bus in a distance, he would ask "2B or not 2B"? 2B was, quite obviously, the bus to college.

Not that this story has anything to do with my blog. But, yes, that oft-quoted and widely misused line of Shakespeare has often made me wonder. If one thinks about it, life is all about chasing dreams and giving up on the chase; for you are not sure "to be or not to be?" While you are panting by the sideway, exhausted by that last chase, you see another dream flitting by; and lo and behold, you are off in pursuit.

My earliest ambition (that I can remember) was to be bus driver, a passionate dream I shared with my cousin brother. A big bed would be our bus, and we would take turns in being the driver, a smallish bucket performing the crucial role of the steering. Our offering was complete with tickets, which the passengers (mostly reluctant elders) had to purchase.

Why I gave up pursuing that dream I cannot remember; but I suspect poor pay and lack of future growth were the prime culprits for that particular dream's untimely death. I did not brood too long over the demise, though; for I was convinced that in me lay hidden a promising murder mystery writer. Endless afternoons spent reading Feluda (a detective created by Satyajit Ray for children), Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes invariably ended with me deep in thought, plotting my next masterpiece. I did write a few short murder mystery stories, with pathetic plots and even more ridiculous reasoning.

As I grew up, I wanted to be, in turn, a singer (a dream thwarted by constant protests from my occasional audience), a cricket commentator (a dream I have given up on after watching the comedy show called "Harsha Ki Khoj") and a film director. The last dream is rekindled every time I watch a Satyajit Ray movie, as I appreciate its subtleties, nuances and simplicity like a wide-eyed kid watching a kaleidoscope show.

Of course, here I am today, having completed my PGDM from IIM Lucknow, working in UTI Bank Bombay, with all my childhood ambitions a distant dream, pursuing something I never wanted to. Coming to think of it, through every single career move in my short, uneventful life my dreams never got realized; but the dreams others dreamt for me, somehow seem to be taking shape.

There are those occasional moments (precipitated often during states of inebriation) when I make solemn promises to myself-"enough of this endless shit which goes by the name of a job, the tryst with destiny has continued for long, the time has now come to redeem my pledge, to realize my dreams." But such promises are inevitably followed by dour mornings (totally sober), as I yet again trudge haplessly to office.

Some day, I might follow my heart and direct a wonderfully obscure movie, understood by five men worldwide. Till then, a life more ordinary continues.......

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