>Am I where I was meant to be? No, let’s rephrase that question: Am I where others thought I would be? How does it matter what others think, but when they tell you that they never thought you would be doing this now and here, you begin to wonder – where did they think I would be?
Last night, over a long phone conversation with a friend, it came up – this line about ‘I never thought you would be doing this, living like that.’ And I started thinking of how I’ve actually lived my life in defiance of most expectations of me, unintentionally though. I haven’t lived up to the idea of ‘me’ that various people formed in their heads. How funny, no?
I have friends whom I lived with in Delhi and who cannot understand how I can live in Lucknow, live in a joint family, live knowing what I have left behind. They cannot imagine how I live like a party-hopper because they haven’t seen me live like one. I have a former editor who can’t tell me enough what a fool I have been for giving up the opportunities that I did. I have a family that tells me I’m not following my calling in life; members of that family tell me how law should have been my calling in life. I have school friends who think nothing of pointing out how I should give it all up (whatever they think ‘all’ encompasses) to be a mother. I have other friends who think I’m successful, pioneering, talented and quite close to the top doing what I was meant to be doing!
How strange that all those different pictures are of me! How did I morph into so many things at the same time and none of them at all?
When I was young, very foolish and very young, I wanted to be nothing but rich. Actually, I always wanted to be well-educated and rich. Polished and rich. Knowledgeable and rich. Smart and rich. And I never then thought I would work to be rich! Somewhere down the line the idea of financial independence took hold in my head and I wanted to do something. At some point, I wanted to be a lawyer but never wanted it enough. I had no idea what I could do to be rich, but I knew that the one thing I could do reasonably well was write. Things fell into place and I started writing. I was still not rich. I gave up writing after some time to be rich. Now I’m neither rich nor a full time writer! Of course, I’m still trying my luck at both! I always wanted to be my own boss and at least, that I am.
I never wanted to live in Lucknow. I loved this city always but I knew I could do so much better if I were in a place like Delhi. I met The Guy, married him and settled down in Lucknow. I was not meant to be here and yet I am. I did not want to live in a joint family. I live in one with six members now! How come I ended up doing everything I was not meant to? And yet, it never occurs to me till someone points it out to me…
Of course, we rarely live our lives that way we thought we would as kids. What did you want to be when you were a child? What did others think you would be? Are you there?