I remember how my dad used to try to be extra cheerful on days when he felt low. He tried not to let us know that he is sad and would tell my mom quietly in the night. Sadly, I have not inherited this trait from him. I would sigh, crib, yelp and sulk to death. On those days, even one hour morale boosting sessions with mom and dad over phone would not help. It’s around eight years that I have moved out of my parents’ house for starting my own life but sometimes, it seems nothing has changed. I still want to go to my parents crying, cuddle them and close my eyes hoping it’s a nightmare and it would be over soon.
It was the last leg of MBA and the most dreaded one too- placement week. Companies came and went and I was left alone like some 80s-90s masala bollywood movies’ hero’s over aged ugly sister who was the biggest burden for the family. Who said physical proximity doesn’t matter. I was home sick and slowly, the depression too set in. There were friends who I could categorize in two sets only – (1) placed and relieved would be seen partying and discussing about their future jobs and (2) yet to be placed and disenchanted with the whole system, would be seen mugging, praying, ranting or thinking of ways to commit suicide. It was a topsy turvy world devoid of any balancing factor. The only thing that could compete with the number of applications being rejected were my weight, my stress and the growing number of make shift housing arrangement in an under construction apartment complex just next to my college.
It was a Saturday night and another week ended without any luck. Exhausted, I let myself fall on the bed. Sitting against the wall, I could see out of the window. It was 2 am but the construction work was at its peak. It was drizzling. Poor men and women were working. Kids unable to sleep without their parents were wide awake and playing. I was wondering- what hopes do these people have? Building fortress when one is living under cardboard structures that stand threatened every time cool evening breeze touches them. It was like a re-run of the story of King Arthur and the spider which gave me solace. That night I slept peacefully and next morning my room was filled with soft light.
When I opened my eyes, I could see my loved ones smiling at me- from the collage of photos I created. It was when I noticed how colorful and blessed my life is. I have memories, stories, support, money and everything I could have asked for. Just a few meters away, there was a slum that seemed to be under deep slumber. Unable to face the scorching sun, exhausted people were trying to touch some moist and cool corner of the floor to compensate for the hot radiating tin roofs. Thank God! I have a nice room with all the comforts. Even if the poor people do not have their own house, they build dream homes for others, hoping for better lives. Why can’t I hope for a better future even though I can’t picture one right now.
That was my moment of tranquility- when I looked up and found God smiling at me. Lady luck did smile too and nice things followed but I am still grateful for that dark and lonely night.