By Aakash Joshi:
There is a nameplate hanging outside my home which has my parents’ name on it. This place is safe, surrounded by love and trust and there is a feeling of contentment. It has an aura that drives away fear. It has a divine power in it. It entrusts me with the confidence that if everything in this world were to go wrong, this place would never let anything happen to me. My family, these are the people who knowingly or unknowingly have shaped who I am. They have totally dedicated their lives to my upbringing and betterment. We might call it ‘responsibility’ that every parent carries but that too comes out of concern, and such concern comes out of love.
As I grew up, I began to connect with others. I moved out, met new people, understood new things and experienced a different world. Once we start thinking for ourselves, things can’t remain the same; they have to change. I too started realizing what is right and useful for me. My family also supported my views and helped me take decisions that would boost my future. With a practical approach in mind, I moved out to climb the ladders of success in life. I left this safe and secure dream world, my world, and entered into a world which I never imagined would be so big and so different from mine. From the safe confines of my private walls, I moved to this labyrinth where it’s easy to get lost. I moved to a different state and a brand new educational experience. This world was filled with new experiences, and I faced new circumstances every day; some even challenging. I made many new connections; a plethora of information blew in my face like a strong wind.
The beginnings are always difficult as I missed everyone back home. It took some getting used to, for me to moved ahead. My best friends called me every day, and I called them back too. My parents called me every evening and would become emotional. They’d ask even the minute details of how I spent the day and I obliged them with it. I’d asked them about life at their end, and they talked about things familiar to me, making me feel at home even in this strange new place. I took to the social media more than before to keep in touch with my kin and friends.
Alas! The constant nature of change is what tends to work against these connections. Change tends to break them, but this is involuntary. When one has taken the effort of coming out of the comfort zone, one tends to focus more on this effort, and this may lead us to disconnect. We get lost in understanding and deciphering this novelty of a world that we’ve entered. The phone calls we made every day are now less in frequency. And this happens from both ends; mine and theirs. We expect that they will contact us while people back home expects me to make the effort, but we both lose it. My father calls and asks “why don’t you call nowadays?” And I don’t have any answer to it. Even my friends and loved ones message saying “Dude! You have changed a lot. You don’t even text or reply on time”, and again I don’t have an answer to it. When this happens, one tends to become an outsider.
But the truth is “I am not an outsider”. It is not that I want to behave the way I behave, it is the environment and the thoughts that separate me from what I was and what I am about to become. It is not always the work or hectic schedule of mine that keeps me away from talking to my family and old friends. In a way, this is a new found freedom and I am busy utilising it. I prioritise indulging into this freedom more than the constant need to keep in touch. The occasional drink, the rare indulgence in smoke, and of course there is the workload. Why shouldn’t I explore this freedom? I do remember them, but by the time I want to call them, it’s too late in the night and then it’s not an appropriate time, and people think I have changed.
But I have not. I have only taken charge of my life. After living in security for so long, I have come out and taken the charge of securing myself. I am dependant on ME. My mother’s not here to ask me what to have for dinner, nor is my father here to ask me what to bring while returning home and nor do I have any siblings here who will help me with my work. I am an individual who has come to create his own identity. I have an agenda here; this keeps me occupied. I may forget about them now and then, but I do miss them.
I am still the same insider. I miss them; I too get frustrated being alone but these feelings rise and die within the confines of my new, temporary accommodation. Nostalgia keeps me from even listening to their voices sometimes. This dependency on my parents who raised me, the friends who were always there, that girl who always spoke to me for hours but it seemed like minutes; this dependency is what I’m trying to end. Of course, I am desperate to see them again, be home for the festivals and during the holidays. Who doesn’t?
But you change. You get used to living alone to the point that you actually prefer it. I prefer the solitude the crown has to offer. No one comes to talk to you if you’re not ‘alone’. I have tried to purge emotions so that it gets easier for me. And then I asked myself a question. Who am I without my parents, friends and that one girl? I got busier trying to find my identity, and it all soon became easy. I found myself. I had to dissociate first to find myself and in this process, I became an outsider. Well, better the real me outside than this shadow of a person I was inside.
The truth is that in this self-discovery. I have realised that I just have different sides to the same person who lived in that place with his parents’ name plates on it.