My Time in the Sun!!!

I remember all of us sitting in the dining hall at our place in Sambalpur. I wasn’t more than five years old at the time. My grandfather was seated in his usual wooden recliner, with my grandmother by his side in a matching chair, while my father sat at the dining table peeling mangoes for everyone to eat. I was on the floor fiddling with some toy of some kind while my father was entertaining his parents with anecdotes from his time in the armed forces. After a while, the conversation shifted to me and how I was such a big responsibility, especially since my father was raising me alone. My father looked at me with pride and announced that I’d become “a doctor or an engineer” when I grow up. 

My father’s plan was to be hands-on with my upbringing and to a large extent he was. But it was short-lived, as just five years later, he died of kidney failure and I came under my grandparents’ care. They were good people and their style of parenting involved giving me a wider berth to grow creatively as I saw fit. As a result, my aptitude was molded by the quality of education at school where some subjects were more likable than others thanks to the teachers who taught them. Come 2007 and I had decided that I couldn’t pursue the usual fields – engineering and medicine. I thought hotels would be a good fit for me because I liked talking and I was ‘presentable’. I sat for the entrance and scored pretty well. I joined IHM, Goa and in 2011, I was a hotel management graduate.

But in 2010, during the industrial training, I had realized that I didn’t enjoy the work, especially in food production (kitchen) which was actually my favorite subject. So during the placements, I attended interviews for front office management and related services. As luck would have it, I ended up in retail thanks to a series of unfortunate events. But it wasn’t bad. I liked the work and I was pretty good at it. So I kept growing. And now, nearly nine years later, I am a thirty-year-old guy working in middle management. A few months earlier, I was happy with the salary I was drawing, but now thanks to the COVID debacle, they cut our pay. And there’s nothing I can do about it. It could be the pandemic or my current heartbroken state that makes me reflect on this – but I am constantly thinking about what I have achieved in all these years.

A few years earlier, I’d read about actors, models, and Youtubers who were making it big and they all used to be older than me. And it felt like I still had time to break out, to do something I’ll be known for. But now, most of the celebrities I hear about are younger than me. And I find myself stuck in a thankless job where I am treated like shit and have next to zero job security. You see I am not saying I should be earning more because honestly, I wasn’t a great student. But I had always felt like I was destined for something larger than this. This here is ‘mediocrity’ and for some reason, I never thought I’ll find myself here. Taking it back a bit, notice how I mentioned: “actors, models & Youtubers” and not scientists, doctors, and research scholars. That’s because I didn’t have the aptitude or the training for those professions and I am not impractical. 

When I was younger, every time I showed some creativity, be it painting a picture, or writing a poem or an essay with flowery words, my family members used to make a fuss about it. They constantly discussed how I was way more creative than they used to be at my age, and how they felt like I was “bound to be extraordinary”. And what hurts today, finding myself in this mediocrity, is that I didn’t live up to my folks’ dreams. But not everyone in my family egged me on towards an extraordinary future. My grandfather, a very successful man himself, a Ph.D. degree holder, a scholar, had really rooted ideas about success. Maybe it was because nothing came easy to him, but he defined success merely as becoming self-reliant, a very achievable feat. Moreover, he talked about being “purushottam” which means an ideal man, as someone who is dependable apart from being self-reliant. I guess I can call myself that. 

There’s also the fact that there are just so many young successful and famous people out there today. It’s annoying. And there are so many things just making ordinary people like me feel bad about ourselves. Purely in statistical terms, there are more ordinary people than there are extraordinary ones, making me normal. So is feeling discontent with normalcy natural? Do others feel it too? I’d really appreciate it if my readers took the time and answered this question in the comments section.

Moving on, when I started writing this article, I happened to mention the premise to a friend of mine over coffee and she pointed out to me that 1) The thought of celebrating mediocrity sounded dangerously similar to complacency, and 2) I was just thirty years old, so my feeling like I haven’t done anything “great” was just defeatist attitude. So I told her she was a wise one. Maybe she is correct. Maybe my moment in the sun is yet to arrive. I should refrain from writing myself off just yet. And simultaneously, I have to give up the complacent attitude. There’s more to do. There’s always more to do. I have also been toying with the idea that I need to realign my concept of ambition. For the past several years, I have slogged in an industry to get better assignments, to rise through the ranks but that has never brought me happiness. Maybe it’s time to reassess what I want to do. And there could never be a better time for it than now. Because for the next year or so, I am stuck in my current job since the market is going through a recession. I just have to hone my skills in the field I want to continue in, while I earn a living at my job, which I am really good at, by the way. Don’t let my writing convince you otherwise. It’s just that I don’t enjoy retail as much as I enjoy, say writing.

And at the end of it all, whatever I end up doing, I will ask myself a question. Would my father, if he were alive today, be proud of me?  


Popular posts from this blog

Why Fighting Propaganda is an Uphill Battle

Instant Connection. Or Not?

Juice Review: Raw Pressery 100% Valencia Orange

26th February, 2017 5:30 AM

Quick Link to All My Story Series & Selected Articles