Conditioned to run after…

As kids, or even as adults (who have found new wisdom) we are conditioned to run after things we only think we aspire for. A race that is marked by sheer pressure. A race to win. A race to be the competent one. A race for the righteous and the race to prove one’s stance.

But, I hardly come across anyone who is actually in the race to be content; satisfied and happy.

We’re making the same mistake that we probably promised ourselves we wouldn’t make.
And that is, being governed by someone else’s directions for a journey that is yours, and only yours to tread.

So what if they think you’re not the best. At least you’re trying.
So what if you aren’t the one enlightening the world. At least you’re trying to enlighten yourself.
So what if  your dreams don’t match what they expect of you. At least those dreams are your own to realise.

Easier said than done I know. But this one’s actually for me. Because I’m tired of notifying myself of this exact thought.
I’m weary of wanting to feel free. If only I could give anything in the world to know what it’s like to not care. At all.

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The Alien City

Moving to my birth city was not on my agenda, until I found out, not everything works as per my wishes.
Once a Mumbaikar, always a Mumbaikar? Not really. The person that I am, I found solace in the arms of another city.  A city alien to me, until 2 years ago that is.

Moved here, to Pune, and cursed my fate for leaving me stranded in the midst of strangers. I began strolling unknown streets, observing unknown faces, relishing local chaat and learning to enjoy the evening breeze. But something was definitely missing. The flavour.

The city was yet to drape me in its eventful flavour of people and ambience. And so it did.
The mornings are more than just waking up. The day is dreamy. The evenings let you spend time with yourself. Whether at work or not. The streets never let you walk alone.

Now, after creating, sharpening and painting memories that have attached themselves to me for a lifetime, I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up on them. Mumbai is where I was born and where I learned to smile. Pune is where I moved and where I learnt how to keep smiling. There’s a difference.

Please don’t take offence dear fellow Mumbaikars. Nothing personal. This experience differs from person to person. If not for my 2 year shift, I wouldn’t have known to distinguish between my likes and dislikes. I wouldn’t have learned to be more assertive. I wouldn’t have learned to say no. I wouldn’t have considered shifting gears on work profiles.
I have come to believe that I’m a Mumbaikar, who must explore it, but by periodically staying away from it. The spirit and the enthusiasm are commendable; although I’m only human, and I’m scared I won’t have that spirit clinging onto me for a long time. I need to stop. Somewhere. Breathe and let go.

A few Punekars, in their state of ignorance and diplomacy, have given me an outlook that I want to savour. A few lessons learnt, a few friends by my side, a few incidents that define failure, a sense of doing it right, a mentor I can fall back on and a handful of people to hold on to for as long as we plan to. For now, I’d like to believe it is forever.