I think I should write to you about my life, the way I lead it now. It is quite different from what you used to know. You may be even surprised to see how I manage to live here in this place. But when I look around and see so many people living in limited spaces without adequate provisions for water and light, without toilet facilities, I find this place where I stay quite a heaven. Yesterday someone was telling me about my possible voluntary retirement from the present career. He was asking why I thought so and was suggesting that it was the time to ‘enjoy’. I told him that it all depended on what kind of definition one would give to the word enjoy. For some people enjoyment means going out, visiting malls, eating out, hanging out with friends, watching movies, celebrating weekends, shopping and many more things. But for some people it is all about being alone and being with one’s own self. I want to tell you that I belong to this latter category.
That does not mean that I am quite a bore. You have seen me, quite energetic a guy, changing looks quite often, a fitness freak, a regular jogger, someone who loved to drink and watch television, and read and write a lot. You have seen me helping in the kitchen, you have seen me taking you to malls, you have seen me giving you cycle riding lessons, you have seen me waiting outside the swimming pool as you go inside to swim. Today, I do not do all these things. It is not because I do not like you or I want to live a life of absolute freedom. Some may put it as me leading an ‘irresponsible’ life. Yes, when you look at my life from outside, it seems to be completely irresponsible. I could go to my workplace whenever I want, I could eat whatever I want, I could do whatever I feel like and so on. But that is an illusion. Living alone also means a whole lot of responsibility. I live without any support staff, I mean without maids or cooks. I do things own my own and I think people could do things with own their hands.
It will take a lot of years for you to live alone. When you live alone you will understand how responsible you have to be in that situation. If you are a boy, you have to be careful and should be always watchful about your social dealings. You could get into bad company and the noose of law will come around you. When you are alone, whatever money you could afford to spend, you have to be responsible for each paisa that you spend. You have to study, you have to appear for examinations, you have to find a job, you have to lead a life the way you want. And everywhere you will be alone. When you are a girl, you have to be further watchful in a society like ours. It is a very nasty society. Bad elements could physically assault you, verbally harass you, stalk you, demoralize you and make you feel doubtful about yourself. But you have to be responsible. None is going to come with you everywhere, protecting you or giving you lessons. You are alone after a certain stage. Every human being on the face of earth is alone. It is blessing for many and suffocating for too many. People who consider it as blessing try to understand their loneliness and become more and more pure from inside. Those who consider it as suffocating would look out for distractions in television, eating outside and above all putting blame on others. Fundamentally, like me you too are all alone and you have to understand it. And being alone can be done only by a responsible person.
Yesterday, when I was talking to you, you said that the house look half empty and incomplete as I am not there. You were emotional and I understand you are not at that age where you could understand the difference between absence and presence of a person whom you love. What you understand is that that person’s absence becomes too much of a presence in your life and at times when you look at the face of that presence of absence you get worried. It is temporary and I tell you that it should not affect your mind. But I am sure that it will affect your mind and you will have different thinking about human relationships. I do not believe that your own conclusions about human relationships could be that bad. It could be positive also. You could understand, as you grow up, why people behave in certain ways, why people part ways and why people get attached to other people or their surroundings. I am waiting for that day to happen. When I say this, I too face this presence of absence. I see you in every other child I see on the road, in trains and everywhere. My heart races fast in those moments. Soon my mind gets filled in by your images and I feel completely enveloped by your presence and I like it. One need not behave in a particular way to establish relationships or the power that comes along with it.
One day, when you grow up you will understand why I am like this. I have spent my years thinking about becoming something in the field where I work. All my efforts have been towards it. But there used to be hurdles. Each time I faced it I thought it was the last one, but they kept coming. In everyone’s life there is a point where they take a very pivotal decision. At the forked roads you could choose any one direction. You choose one and as Robert Frost, the poet says, that choice makes all the difference. I have taken a decision and I have taken a path which I think right for me and good, bad or ugly whatever be the outcome, and it would make all the difference. In your lives too, there will be a point when you would be expected to make a choice. You may discard your parents for that choice, you may discard all comforts for that choice, you may leave everything behind for that choice and it would make all the difference in your lives. I had made a decision long back. And at some point I realized that was a wrong a decision. Everyone would say that the direction I take is wrong and the choice made is too late. But remember, nothing is too late. One could live a dignified life within one’s means and choices. One could live a life of his/her liking and nothing would stop them from doing so.
One day you will judge me and before that the world will have judged me several times. But I don’t give any importance to the way the world judges me. But your judgement is important because I am one of the reasons why you are here on this earth. Your judgement, whether it is favourable or unfavourable, I will take it with equanimity. But I will wait for that day when you realize that I was not all that wrong in my decision and I did something that I wanted to do always. And from my side I can promise you this much, you will never have to hide your face once my name is uttered in public. You could hear my name with a sense of pride. I know that even enemies revere those adversaries who give them a real fight; that is a sort of magnanimity, which only the real fighters cherish to have. Cowards will blame others for their misfortunes.
I will write to you about things around me the way I see them. You may not read them now. But when you read them, you would definitely say that this guy was different and there was something interesting about him. Yes, your real journey will start with that revelation and I am sure, the rivers will finally flow into the sea, vapours to the sun and snow to the mountain peaks. Wherever you are, me or my memories will remain vast like an ocean, sharp like the sun and tall like the mountain peak. I am sure you will come.