Something normal happened yesterday.
Was stepping away from a long day at work, coming home to delicious mom-cooked food. Crossing an over-bridge at the railway station, headphones plugged in, walking at a leisurely pace. I saw my train arriving at the platform, and my “Dadar”ly instincts kicked in; (sorry, can’t translate that pun) for a second the unhurried pace turned into a trot. My right step a tad larger than its predecessor, my body bent forward a bit, bracing to make a run for it; My pose, I daresay with blatant vanity, was of a track runner who has just heard the gun go off. Such excitement! On a weekday! But with a mental shrug, my buzzkill head went (in alphabetical order).. “Naah. Too far, too pointless, too slow, too tedious, too tired, … Next one.” and my jog lost its steam.
I wondered, ‘Was the shrug “Instinctive”? or “Acquired”?’ My gut was betting on the latter. I decided to test my theory and gave the wind a run for its money. I ran and I ran; pushed aside a couple of guys, knocked into an older dude, almost (Almost!) crashed into an older lady, all the while profusely apologizing to the people I was leaving behind in the wake of this blitzkrieg. Finally, rushing through peak crowd and amidst a lot of curses-muttered-under-breath, I was in! And lo, the train started to move. I thought myself the destiny child, the star atop The Christmas tree, the very embodiment of the antithesis to Murphy’s law! I was a gambler who has just hit the jackpot; mistaking the win as one affected by me and me alone. The last thought, of course, arrived at the gradual pace of hindsight, occupying a void left by the receding adrenaline. All said and done – damn, that felt good!
I hadn’t done this in a long time. By “this”, I mean following my natural instincts, getting them suppressed by my acquired ones, and then trumping them with “acquired 2.0″s. At least in a big fashion; not that this was a big event by any practical measure, but it somehow felt like one. Why did I do this? This act that pretty much everyone sensible living in Mumbai summarizes with a “doosri mil jaayegi” (We’ll catch the next one)? I did it because I could. That’s the simple one-liner. And why did I think so much about it? Not so one-liner.
Because, I think I have been actively trying to suppress and forget certain things, behaviours, habits and attitudes that I acquired during my ‘growth’ phase through the environs around me, particularly the ones I am not a big fan of. During this un-learning phase that is still a work-in-progress, I believe I have successfully eliminated a few bad traits, but there has been collateral damage. I need to learn back some things now. For instance, I need to re-learn that competition & rank aren’t merely buzzwords on a candidate’s CV. I need to re-learn that happiness isn’t bad because of its ephemeral nature; that it is good precisely because of that. I need to re-learn what it feels to want something & to strive for it, not despite but because, you could fail. I need to re-learn what it feels like to make tiny mistakes, so that I will know better when I am about to make a bigger one. I need to re-learn. I need to learn..
So, yes. That 100m dash was but a step for me. A race against my (as of now) older self.
Something normal had happened yesterday. Just that it wasn’t normal anymore.