This part of “my diariess” revolves around my take on – conversations of an ambitious urban couple – ‘Sid and Tara’, who are evaluating everything ‘ordinary’ in their life to aim for something “extra” ordinary.
Done with the dinner, with few hours in hand to sleep, Sid and Tara were busy having some “Me” time. Sid as usual was scrolling through the channels on TV, while Tara sat with a diary on her lap wondering deeply about something.
Slowly she looked at Sid, busy with his quest for a good prime time movie and wondered if she should bother him in that ‘not so productive’ yet, his natural way of relaxing ritual of the day – ‘watching TV’. After thinking for a while, calculating in her head the repercussions of this, she concluded that disturbing him might just be worth it. Definitely for her because she wanted to do it. May be for him if he can actually see a point through or by the end of it.
“Sid”, she said. “Let’s make a plan! A ‘Life Plan’.” Confused with his partial attention to her words; he looked at her and asked, “What?” She said, “Let’s make a plan. We are almost 3 years into marriage. I am 28, you are 31. We are doing good. Like, personally; career-wise and everything. But is that all? Don’t you think we must have a ‘plan’? Something that ensures an “extra”-ordinary life.” He continued listening. “Do you think this will be sufficient for us? This pace? Don’t you think we should have milestones and timelines to keep a track?” Reluctant to whether or not he had grasped this sudden throw of serious conversation at him, and whether or not he was processing every word as intensely as she felt it and wanted him to, she asked him – “Do you think you have accomplished everything that you wanted to, by the time you were 30? Was there ever any list that mentioned your goals for by the time you turn 30? How do you know your life was spent well until now? Especially after leaving home, like when you started to live on your own. How do you know you are on the right track to that “extra” ordinary life? A life that you would find ‘well spent’?”
I somehow feel that when we say “what am I doing with my life?” “Am I on the right track?” We are only thinking and critically analyzing the years from when we started living on our own. ‘Independent’ as we call it. We never worry about the quality of life, or our achievements and milestones, until we passed school or even college. Of course, that trophy for first prize in dance competition in fifth grade does matter and that certificate of participation in inter-school debate competition is also very well preserved. But broadly, everything up until then is standard for majority of us.
Growing up in a sweet happy family, mom and dad struggling yet smiling their way through life and providing us with best of ability, beloved siblings yet ultimate rivalry, some fun cousins, regular schooling, making friends, passing a class every year, classrooms and assemblies, favorite teachers, brown book covers, precious bags and bottles, paratha rolls in lunch boxes, fun school-bus rides, afternoon cartoon shows, games in the ‘gali’, dividing teams on ground, comics collections, birthday celebrations, hobby classes, unit tests, quarterly-half yearly exams, average to above average results, pink-yellow-blue report cards, parent teacher meetings, group dance in annual functions, relay race in sports day celebrations, inter house competitions, school trips, family picnics, summer vacations, post school tuitions, higher classes, board preparations, entrance examinations, college admissions, so on and so forth.
Then one day, in between these transitions from chalk to pencil, pencil to ink pen, and ink pen to ball pen, you get a degree and you pass out of college. And it’s like you are born again. Born again in the same life; as the same person (fully loaded with a precious baggage of memories and childhood values and learnings), but completely naive to this segment of the world. The world of opportunities, pursuits and ambitions.
You have a degree and now you are looking for a job. You have a house (back in your city), but you are looking for a room to share in a 2 BHK in the new city. You have that ATM card linked to your Dad’s account, but you are filling a form for a new account in the same bank. You have a whole gang of friends, but you are looking for that one person you can befriend in the new city. You can always go back and have that delicious mom-cooked dinner, but you are hunting for a cook or struggling on the stove with that island shaped roti, burning your fingers every now and then. You can buy a washing machine, but you are washing clothes by hand, waiting for your roommate to contri (contribute/chip-in) so that you can save half the amount. You have a family, but you are looking for a companion. You have a challenging deadline for this week, but you are gazing out of that window wondering and looking hard for a bigger dare – the “extra” ordinary?
And among those late-night conversations and sometimes yummy; sometimes not-so-yummy gravies, we realize that we are ‘someone’. It strikes to us that we are a unique being who has come on this earth with a purpose. That we must find it within us to dream of something, work hard towards it and achieve it. And since dawn of that moment; all we are doing is to look for that ‘purpose’. In the pursuit of the “extra” ordinary!
Same thing was happening with Tara.
Many chapters have gone by since she turned to that page, to that side of the world. (The world of opportunities, pursuits and ambitions…)
She got the degree. She got a job in the new city. She shared a flat. Drew her first salary. Sent gifts home. Paid rent. Paid all the bills. Shopped for grocery. Tried her hand at cooking. Bought her first bike. Made new friends. Went on trips with them (without a signed letter from parents – unlike school). Partied hard. Worked harder. Got promotion. Got a hike. Switched job. Met a guy. Had a crush. Then an affair. Broke up with him. Got over it. Met another guy. Liked the guy. Said ‘yes’. Married the guy. Rented a house. ‘Their’ house. Started a life – A fresh chapter! With new equations to the same problems. And yet, after 3 year-long, exciting phases of that new chapter as well, the question still remained the same – “How to achieve the “extra” ordinary?”
Ah! I don’t think she gets it.
I don’t think most of us do.
‘Life’ that’s passing by, each day every day, is already happening – no stimulus – that’s ‘ordinary’. But everything, little or big, that we aim for, do and achieve while the life is transpiring is – “extra”! The “extra” (of the extra ordinary)!
The implausible goals that we set for ourselves today, define our “extra”.
Becoming a Manager, earning in 7 digits and having his own cabin; for the fresher Sid, was once his “extra”. But today that he has achieved it with ample time in hand, he now has a new “extra” – to be at a more senior position in the industry. And not just this, there’s already a fuzzy picture of the next set of “extras” lined up in his head which seem far-fetched today (like his first dream of becoming a manager) but sooner or later he’ll mostly achieve that too. From fresher to manager, to soon-to-be senior manager, in no time he’ll be aspiring of becoming a CEO, establishing his own firm and then probably investing in one firm, then more and many, and so on and so forth.
The amusing ambiguity to me is – While on this extensive course, at what point exactly will his life qualify as “extra” ordinary?
Fantasies of yesterday, post accomplishment, mostly lose their charm and become ‘ordinary’, as we get captivated by the forthcoming array of dreams – “the extra”. With each passing day, the “extras” keep converting to ‘ordinary’ and ordinary becomes life!
But, little do we realize, that it is within us to identify and appreciate the little and huge “extras” as we go through the ‘ordinary’ – to finally comprehend a life as “extra-ordinary”!
~ suchita@mylifediariez ~
PS – To all the Sid(s) and Tara(s) out there – Take a moment to find and treasure those “extras” in your life, and to know and believe that your life is quite “extra ordinary” already! 🙂